James’s Note: I have always been fascinated with the stories behind important objects. That’s what inspired this series. The stories of each gun are inspired by real events.
In the last building of an otherwise empty strip mall, there is a gun shop. Its location isn’t important. You’ll find it, if you need to. Every gun there has a history . The guns will even tell them to you, if you listen.
If you approach the first gun on display, you will see a placard.
Model: Mosberg 500, pump action shotgun
Caliber: 12 gauge
If you lean close, it will whisper to you. It will tell you its story.
“A young father bought me brand new from a sporting goods store. I was his first gun. His daughter had just been born, and he wanted to be able to protect her.
He took me to the shooting range, and to the field behind his uncle’s house. He learned how to shoot me, clean me, and handle me safely. We even tried breaking clays a few times, but neither of us were made well for that.
For years I stood guard by his bed. Other guns came and went, but I was the one he reached for when there was a bump in the night.
And then his little girl was older, and he took us into the field to teach her how to shoot. She shot the .22s and handguns and learned how to be safe. She wanted to shoot me too, since I was Daddy’s gun.
He told her I would kick too hard for her. She insisted she wasn’t afraid and that she wanted to shoot just like him. He finally relented.
I left bruises on her shoulder, but she said she loved me anyway. She said I was her favorite.
As time went on, the little girl fell in love with shooting. Her great uncle took us into the field and taught her how to break clays. He taught her to take aim, stay calm and breath. It wasn’t long before she was better than me. She rarely missed.
For Christmas she got a beautiful 20 gauge. It was sleek and pretty and made just for her. After that, she didn’t take me out shooting much any more. That was ok. I knew what my job was.
As she grew up, she won trophies, championships and hearts were ever she went. She loved her shotgun, and he got all the applause. I wasn’t jealous. Her father wanted her to be safe and happy. That’s what I wanted too.
One night the girl was alone, her parents out late on a date. She was watching a movie on the coach when the front door cracked as it was kicked in.
She had seconds before the three men were in the house. She didn’t waste them. She flew up the stairs to her parent’s room. Her gun was locked up in the safe, but I was loaded by the bed. She grabbed me. I was ready.
When she looked out the bedroom door, they were coming up the stairs. The one in back saw me and raised a pistol.
Take aim. Stay calm. Breath.
She squeezed the trigger.
She didn’t miss.
I know it hurt her ears in the small hallway, but she didn’t flinch.
The one in back was still falling as she racked my slide and fired again. She was smooth and fast. The buckshot took the middle one in the chest and he went tumbling down the stairs.
The front man was the last. He was on her when I went off again. The shot almost took his head off and sprayed her with blood.
When it was over, she called the police, then her father. The police almost beat him home. He held her and they both cried.
He told her he was proud of her. She asked if she could keep me by her bed from now on. She said I was her favorite.
I am the gun that protects that which is most precious.”
The last line of the placard reads,