Varsha 2023 Stories - Dennis Piszkiewicz


A Boy and his Gun

By Dennis Piszkiewicz


My first gun was a Daisy air rifle that I got from Santa for Christmas when I was eight years old. Technically it wasn’t a firearm. It was a BB-gun. It used compressed air, not explosive gunpowder, to fire tiny pellets. I shot at paper targets and at crows. They were nothing but noisy pests. They just made a lot of noise as they flew off. I was sure I hit some birds, but I don’t think I killed any.

I got my first real gun when my grandpa died, and he left me his old Army M16 rifle from the Vietnam war. Whether or not he stole it from the U S Army though, doesn’t matter. It was the thought that counted, and the thought was that I had the gun to protect myself, our country, and our values.

“This used to be a great country,” Grandpa always said. He believed in our traditional values, like the second amendment, serving our country when he was drafted, and Jesus; and he didn’t apologize to anybody about it. He said he was an old-fashioned Democrat, like Andrew Jackson who was president in the early 1800s, and whose picture is on every twenty-dollar bill. Jackson believed in protecting the rights of every free man in our country. I once asked Grandpa how many gooks he snuffed in Vietnam, but he wasn’t interested in talking about Vietnam.

When I got older, I bought ton old shotgun and a used deer rifle. I didn’t care much for picking buckshot out of duck meat, but eating venison steak was easy to get used to.

There’s one kind of gun I’d like to get that I saw in an old movie everybody has seen, Dirty Harry. You remember that somewhere near the beginning, Clint Eastwood, playing the cop, Harry Callahan, is having lunch at a burger joint. He sees a bank robbery going down across the street. There are three robbers, all black. Harry pulls his gun and takes out two of them, but one is still alive enough to reach for his rifle. Harry pushes his gun up the nose of the bad guy reaching for the rifle, and he says, “Being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?”

I could watch that movie--or at least that scene --a hundred times and not get bored. One of these days I’ve got to get myself a .44 Magnum just like Harry’s. That’s the kind of gun I’d love to have, the most powerful gun in the world that would blow a bad guy’s head clean off. I’ve been looking for an old gun like that, maybe even one used by a cop like Harry; but I haven’t found it yet.

I love my guns. Guns are power. Guns equal freedom. I just got a new gun but haven’t gotten around to trying it out on a target yet. I got it from a dealer at the weekly flea market the county holds at the fairgrounds. The dealer works out of his old van which has “Bernie’s Plumbing” painted on its sides. Everybody calls him “Bernie,” including the sheriff’s deputies who are there to keep the crowd under control. Bernie, which probably isn’t his real name, operates on cash only, no records, basis.

I told him, “I want a semi-automatic AR-15 handgun with an eight-inch barrel, assembled from a build-kit, without a manufacturer’s serial number anywhere on its parts.”

Bernie said he could get what I wanted, but it would be a special order, and it would take a couple of weeks. He said he could get it with a stock, making it a rifle; but that would cost about two hundred bucks more. Saving that dough was OK with me.

I also wanted half-dozen thirty-round magazines that cost twenty bucks each. Bullets were the killer though, costing twenty dollars for every twenty-cartridge box. Twenty dollars a box for twenty cartridges times thirty rounds per magazine: You can do the math. Collecting that kind of money ain’t easy, especially if you’ve got a bullshit-job that pays minimum wage, like me.

Bernie totaled it up in his head. “Kid,” he told me, “The whole kit and caboodle will cost you four thousand dollars, cash. Being a badass ain’t cheap,” he said. “I’ll give you a break and take care of the sales tax out of my own pocket.”

That was generous of the bastard, I thought. I told him, “Three thousand is my limit.”

We settled on thirty-five hundred.

It’s late, getting dark outside. I think I’ll go for a walk down to Main Street. It’s Saturday night, and people are partying in the street. Some will be drunk enough to get into fights. Of course, I’ll take my new AR-15 with me to protect myself. I’ve got a roomy jacket with enough space inside to cover it. There’s no need to upset anybody by letting them see my gun before I use it.

But, if I’ve got the newest, most powerful handgun in the world, why wouldn’t I use it --to protect myself?


Dennis Piszkiewicz from US had a long career as a teacher and scientist. Along the way he began writing. He started with a textbook and followed it with a few more books on historical topics that grabbed his interest. Recently he has been writing short fiction.


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