When Judy and I married she had a little chrome-plated .25 automatic pistol that I often carried back in the days before permits. I suppose it gave me some comfort in knowing it was discreetly stuffed down in my right hip pocket with my handkerchief pushed down around it.
The truth is, I rarely thought about it even if a situation got “hairy”. I was always a fair hand at fisticuffs, at least the school yard discipline, and could also talk my way out of most situations. This story is about two of those situations and the nightmares that little weapon caused me.
When Judy and I first married we were both pretty strapped for cash, so we spent the first couple of years working our way out of the debt I created by maxing out a credit card on fuel for my ’78 Trans Am and other bad habits. The little .25 was one of my few luxuries and I spent a lot of time plinking cans and punching cardboard targets in the field next to the house.
I learned right away that the little caliber was not very effective at a distance of more than 10 to 15 yards. I learned to hold high on the target in order to punch the 10-ring! Basically, a .25 automatic is a “belly gun!” In other words, you use the gun as a last resort during a struggle and you stick the gun into the opponent’s gut and squeeze off a couple of rounds.
Even at that, you may just make him very mad!
I once had a friend who played drums in a rock band in local bars. He had gone out with a little gal he met there a time or two, but knew very little about her. One night on a “pause for a cause” for the band, he went out back for a smoke. That’s when the girl’s husband walked up to him and asked his name.
After telling the stranger his name, the man pulled a .25 and shot my friend in the groin area. My friend was 5’ 7” and only weighed 150 pounds soaking wet, but his upper body strength was tremendous for his size. I used to spot him on the bench while he pushed up 350 pounds!
The shock of the gunshot filled him with adrenaline and immediate rage. My friend beat his attacker so badly that even with a gunshot he got out of the hospital first!
It was along about this time that I began having a recurring dream where some “bad guy” was approaching me with a knife and I would start shooting at him, but the rounds kept hitting the ground in front of him. The best I could do was to put a round in the ground between his feet! I would wake up sweating and thinking about the little pea shooter of a gun I had.
I once went to the Tennessee Valley Fair in
The last ride of the day was on the “Bullet” which was a contraption that had two rocket-like cones mounted on the ends of two long arms that went around very fast while the rocket-like tubes rotated in the opposite direction. It was a “sick puppy” of a ride and if you stayed on too long you would soon lose your hotdogs!
Since we were among the few at the fair, the operator closed us in, turned on the rig, popped open his morning paper, and kicked back. It was not long before we wanted off but the guy was not paying us any attention.
I soon began yelling as we would fly by, only reaching him with about two words a pass. “H e y y o u!”
“T u r n t h is …d a m n t hi….h ey!
We were not communicating and I was getting sicker by the revolution! “I…have…a…gun…stop…this thing!” I yelled “gun” a few more revolutions and he finally looked up and stopped us just before I lost everything I had previously enjoyed.
I don’t know if the word “gun” did the trick or not, but I was too drunk and dizzy to have hit the broad side of a barn anyway!
Then there was a time I managed a country-rock band called “Chaparral!” I booked the band at “Rick’s” which was located near the Bayside Boat Dock in
There had also been a “Bass” sponsored fishing tournament that day and as we soon found out, our dates (wives) were the only women coming to Rick’s that night!
Not long into the first set a very large man, probably about the size of Jeff (FHB), approached the table where I sat with the women belonging to the band and asked my sister-in-law Linda, one of the Dragons, to dance. She shook her head no, and I noticed Noel, one of the Knights, look directly at me, still singing “Amanda,” and telling me with his eyes not to let that happen.
The big dude continued to insist Linda or someone dance with him. Obviously he was very drunk, and wanted to “cut a rug!”
I finally stood up and walked up to him and shouted over the band, “These ladies are with the band, and they don’t dance!”
“Well then,” he slurred, “By God, you’ll dance with me,” and immediately palmed my whole head with one hand! I noticed Noel out of the corner of my eye and he was getting very antsy and almost forgot a couple of words, but he stood his ground and waited to see what I would do.
A very calm, purely brilliant, thought came to me from somewhere. “Hey, did’ya catch any fish today?”
“Aw man, you should have seen it,” the man said, dropping his hand down to help the other one illustrate the length of the bass he had caught that day. “It was that long and weighed in at 8.7 pounds!”
“No kiddin’? Wha’ja use to catch it?”
“Aw man, you know, a big ol’ jelly worm, a big red’en!”
“That’s cool man, congratulations,” and we shook hands.
Thank God he forgot all about dancing as he stood and talked a little longer about “bass fishing,” then he just walked away and sat down at his table.
As I sat down, I felt the .25 in my pocket and that was the first time I had even thought about it. However, there is no doubt that as we danced into a struggle, I would have protected myself.
That night I had the .25 caliber nightmare again. The next Saturday I sold the gun at a gun show in