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There’s a strange sound, like SPANG!, and the paper target shakes wildly at the far end of the range.

“Hey!”

Trevor jerks back and sits down hard on the floor.

“What was that?”

There’s a splotch of metal on his sleeve.

“What the hell?”

He frantically brushes it off, as if it was a spider.

“Whoa, that was a bullet,” Jude says.

“I’ve been shot.”

“You should keep that. You got shot with it.” Jude starts looking around on the floor for it.

Trevor pushes up his sleeve and we can see a round mark underneath. It’s deep blue, like it’s been drawn on with a magic marker. Is there a little blood welling up as well? Is that an actual gunshot wound? Is it a bruise? Trevor keels over to one side. Peter dashes off to get help, Mike tries to move him, and Jude frets about whether he can remember CPR.

And now we’re standing around wondering what to do, waiting for Peter to come back with someone in charge. The three other guys at their booths come running over.

“What happened?”

“Give him some air,” I say. “He fainted.”

“Put a pencil under his tongue,” one of the shooters says.

“He doesn’t need a pencil under his tongue,” Mike says, putting a jacket under Trevor’s head.

“What are you doing?” Trevor says groggily to Mike, opening his eyes. We’re looking down at him, along with the other gun guys. He rolls to the side and tries to get his legs under him.

“What happened?” he says, listing dangerously with his legs not quite under him yet.

“Maybe you should sit down for a minute. I think you fainted.”

“No, I think, I think the bullet, it gave me a concussion. I might have a concussion.”

“It hit you in the arm.”

He lurches a bit to one side from trying to get up too fast, losing his two-front war against indignity and gravity. Various hands shoot out to steady him.

“I’m going to sit down for just a minute,” he concedes.

He looks up at us standing around him. The color is returning to his face. “How long was I out?” he asks.

“I don’t know. About, maybe fifteen seconds.”

“Did you think I was dead?”

“No, you were still breathing.”

“It didn’t feel like fifteen seconds. It felt like no seconds.”

Ricky comes in and says the ambulance is on the way.

“Ambulance?” Trevor says. “I don’t think I need an ambulance.”

“We have to call anyway,” Ricky says. “Insurance.”

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We lead Trevor out to the front room, not bothering with the sound airlock since no one’s shooting at this point. Trevor sits in a chair and we sort of hover around him.

“Do you want a beer?” Ricky asks.

They have beer at a firing range?

“Sure, I guess. Do you have Dr. Pepper?”

Trevor doesn’t like beer, so he’s just sitting there, holding it, pretending he’s going to take a sip at any moment. After a while, he sets it on the table, where it will remain until we leave. The other gun guys are telling stories now about ricochets. One of them says a ricochet knocked his cap clean off his head this one time.

“Can we watch the scene in the diner?” Trevor asks. “With Pacino and DeNiro?”

“Sure,” Ricky agrees, fumbling around the chapter select, trying to look for it.

“Here, let me.” He hands Trevor the remote. “Actually, I know something better. Check this out.” He goes to the part where Pacino almost messes up his line and says to Hank Azaria that Ashley Judd has a “big ass.” Pacino catches himself mid-syllable and changes the line from “big ass” to “great ass”.

“She’s got a bi– Great ass!” Pacino’s eyes bug out and his hands balloon wildly, tracing in the air the circumference of Ashley Judd’s big great ass.

We watch the scene over and over. Even one of the gun guys is doubled over laughing. He calls his friends who have gone back to shoot to come over and watch this. By the time the paramedics arrive, everyone loves Trevor. He even shows the paramedics the scene. They think it’s great. You’d like it, too. Go to the 1:18:26 mark in Heat. Notice the fleck of snot or spit or something that flies onto Pacino’s suit.

“No dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath?” the paramedic asks, taking Trevor’s blood pressure.

“Nope, I’m cool. Have you seen that part in Star Wars when the Stormtrooper hits his head? You can probably find it on YouTube.”

Before we leave, the gun guys give Trevor a free T-shirt. One of the shooters has taken down our paper targets and hands them to us as we leave. He’s polite enough not to notice how few times we hit them, and how far from the center our shots were.

“It was not a serious bullet,” Trevor will later say, affecting some sort of accent. It’ll be a while before someone asks him what that’s from and he tells us: Werner Herzog was shot with an air rifle while giving an interview in Hollywood. He shrugged it off at the time and continued answering questions. When the interviewer later sees the slightly bloody wound, he’s incredulous that Herzog is unfazed. “It was not a serious bullet,” Herzog tells him. And now that’s Trevor’s tag line. The rest of us run around accusing each other of “limp wristing it”. Which means you’re gay, of course.

Trevor put the gun back up in the attic, especially after how pissed his mom was that he took it out of the house. His Ready, Aim, Fire T-shirt is in heavy rotation right now. We don’t really have any desire to go back there, even though Douglas keeps trying to organize trips. I think most of us are content using our trigger fingers on a left mouse button, or a 360 controller. But one thing has changed at Shoot Club. We always take the Raging Bull in Rainbow Six: Vegas.

***

Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club appears in this space every Thursday.

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