Stories

ROCK/PAPER/SCISSORS – Sam Pink

When I got to the 50yd range [had to sight in a scope I’d mounted for someone] there were two guys there already, shooting pistols. Nobody else on the property. So I raised a hand and turned to let them finish but they waved me back, the one guy insisting they were done. And we got to talking. They were Vietnam vets. Had grown up together. Served together. One guy sat smoking a cigarette with his legs crossed, revolver in other hand. The other just stood back, hands clasped in front of him, blinking a lot and doing facial tics. First guy told me his life’s story. From Nam, to being a cop, to being a martial arts instructor/competitor, hunter, everything. Told me all his injuries. He pointed to a huge scar/dent on his forehead and explained it was from a mine in Nam. ‘I got blown up,’ he said with a shrug, brows up and eyes closed. He’d been stabbed, shot, broke his back, caught weird diseases on hunting trips. Said eventually he began experiencing uncontrollable shaking, pain, fatigue, light dementia, and figured it had all caught up with him. But when he went to see the doctor, they determined he had Lyme’s disease, untreated so long it’d damaged his nervous system. ‘They’in’t know about all that shit back then,’ he said. Took a pull off his cigarette, looking down range. The other guy, between smiling and staring off, did a tic where he moved half his mouth to the side while turning his head, almost cranking sort of, a ripcord. Ripcording something. ‘Isn’t that something,’ said the first guy, looking down the irons on the revolver, hand shaking a little. ‘I probably got one good year left. The pain is fuckin unreal sometimes. But hey.’ He shrugged, exhaling smoke. ‘Blown up, stabbed, all typa shit but what got me is a little thing bout that big’ he said, making a tight ok sign. ‘Canya believe it.’ The guy with the facial tic did another crank. It was a good one. Made me want to try. But ‘Shit,’ was all I offered, with a smile. Looking downrange. In awe of the universe’s ongoing game of rock/paper/scissors.