It was just a shot in the dark

Mar. 16, 2013 @ 11:12 PM

So, one day last week, I took my pearl-handled pistol (which I keep in a little flowered Clinique makeup bag) and headed off to the local gun emporium to buy some ammo and to have the pistol serviced, because the action on the slide was sticking (you notice how, the minute we’re talking guns, I start talking all tough and NRA-ish?). 

            I noted the slide problem the last time I was in Ohio, when my Dad, who is trying to teach me how to be a responsible - yet, deadly - gun owner, took me out to his pond to shoot at floating plastic milk cartons, and almost drowned when he fell in the pond while leaning over to fill up the milk cartons with pond water ... and they say gun ownership isn’t dangerous?  

            (And, just FYI:  I always keep my pistol and shotgun locked away safely, people!) 

            I was about 20 minutes down the road, the loaded makeup bag beside me, when I remembered something someone told me about it’s OK to have a legal gun in the car, as long as you can’t reach it from your seat. So, I picked up the bag and casually tossed it way back to the cargo area of my car.  (The exact second that it landed back there, I thought, “Holy %$#@!  You are freakin’ throwing loaded pistols around, you dumb %$#@!”... uh ... (ahem) ... not that I really did that, Dad ... heh, heh.

            So, I walked into the store with my pouch and headed for the counter, because I have no idea how to find gun things by myself, plus I needed a guy to look at the pistol.  Finally found a nice man who’d taken care of me on previous visits, down at the end of the long gun case talking to another guy on the customer-side of the counter, shootin’ the breeze ... (just one of my plethora of gun-type puns).

            “What can I do for you, little lady?” he asked cheerfully.

            “Hi,” I smiled back, opened my pouch and took out my pistol, careful to check the safety and aim it down. The two men’s eyes widened as they realized this adorable, orange-and-red-flowered makeup case was my ... well ... holster. “The slide on this is really sticky and unpredictable, and my Dad said to bring it to a professional to see what the problem was.”

            The “professional” smiled broadly as he took the gun from me and worked the slide back and forth. “Hey, Earl,” he said to the other man standing next to me, and handed him the gun, “try this and tell me how much oil’s in there.”

            “Be careful,” I cautioned. “It’s loaded.” They nodded solemnly at me ... the non-professional ... rather than rolling their eyes, which I know was difficult.

            The other man worked the slide and shook his head in disgust. “Whoever cleaned this gun, miss, has put way too much, and the wrong kind, of oil in it, and that’s why it’s sticking.”

            “Hmm,” I replied gravely, as if I knew what he was talking about. “So, can you fix it?”

            The counter guy then took it aside and broke the whole thing apart. While he did this, the man standing beside me, who’d accurately - and charmingly - called me “Miss,” leaned on the counter nonchalantly and smiled at me.  “You know, little lady,” he said kindly but seriously, “if you shoot somebody with a gun like that, it’s just going to [tick] him off.”

            “Excuse me?” I replied, somewhat confused.  “If I shoot somebody with that pistol, I want them to be ... uh ... well, a little more than that ... I mean, like with one gigantic oweee, you know?”

            He chuckled.  “Well, if you want an ‘oweee,’ you’re going to need a different kind of ammunition. Here, look at this.” And he pulled a gun out of his pocket, flipped a couple of things, and took out a bullet. “See the difference in your bullet, as opposed to mine?”

            “Yes,” I answered, feeling like the prize student.  “Yours is flat and open at the top, and mine is pointy.”

            “Yes, ma’am,” he said - and I was disappointed to have gone from Miss to Ma’am, but whatever - “Mine will make a mighty big oweee.  Yours will not.”

            “Okeydoke,” I responded jovially, and turned to the counter guy who’d just emerged with my presumably rehabilitated gun.  “I’d like to buy some of these.”

            “Sure thing, little lady,” he said.  “And, how many rounds would you like?”

            “Um,” I said, and then threw caution to the winds.  “Does ‘rounds’ mean bullets?”

            “Yes,” he answered, and the two of them looked at each other, that whole eye roll thing threatening again.

            So, home I came, with a newly oiled pistol and lots of rounds - and it all fit quite nicely in my little make-up bag!

            Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker.  Readers may contact her at, or visit her website,