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My friend Trevor has just been shot. It’s a Saturday and he’s on the ground. Mostly we’re looking down at him. We don’t know what to do in a situation like this. Do you rip off your shirt and fashion a makeshift tourniquet? Do you press on the wound? Do you yell ‘man down’?

Jude is saying something about having had CPR training once, but that was five years ago for a lifeguard class that he never finished. Peter went to get someone in charge while Mike grabbed Trevor’s limp form by the shoulders and started to drag him, but then realized he didn’t have anywhere to drag him to. Plus, I said something like, “I don’t think you’re supposed to move him,” only to realize later in the day that’s for people in car wrecks.

So now me and Jude are just standing here, totally useless, while Peter has run off and Mike is kneeling next to Trevor.

Two days ago, Trevor came to Shoot Club with a small silver case. It looked thirty years old and a little too small to hold a typewriter. The clasps snapped back smartly — there’s no other way those things can pop open — and Trevor lifted the top. We peered inside. Molded foam cradled an old black revolver with a barrel like a wicked snout. It was almost obscenely long. We looked at it quietly, equally fascinated and uncertain. Every one of us wanted to reach for it to wield it.

Trevor said it was a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver. It belonged to his father. He found it in the attic at his Mom’s house while he was looking for his old model paints. Trevor was recently laid off from his job and he decided he wanted to start doing plastic models again, which he hadn’t done since junior high. He wanted to do a diorama. After digging around in the attic, he found the box of squat little bottles of model paint, as quaint and colorful as a rack of nail polish. But the paint had all turned to dust. That’s when he came across the silver case.

“Does it still work?”

“Yeah. I mean, I haven’t tried it. But, yeah. These things don’t just wear out. It’s not like a 360 or something.”

“Is it loaded?”

We all held our breath.

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“No way. What kind of idiot do you think I am?”

Mike reached in to touch it. “Don’t you need a license?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe.”

“Can I hold it?”

“Sure.”

Mike lifted it out of the case.

“It’s heavy.”

“Aren’t there laws about these things?” Peter asked.

“No, that’s only if you’re a, I dunno, an escaped convict or something. Otherwise, it’s your Constitutional right to keep an arm.”

Mike handed it around. It was heavy. It was smooth and cool. It smelled like oily wet metal. The handle was made from textured wood.

“Where’s the safety?”

“I think that’s the safety.” I fumbled at a sliding latch on the left side.

“No, no, that opens the round part where the bullets go.”

Sure enough, the round part rolled out and, for a brief moment, I thought I’d broken Trevor’s dad’s gun. I spun it, which is pretty much what you do, and then clicked it back up into the body of the gun. I tried to pull back the hammer with my thumb, but it wouldn’t budge. I had to use both hands to cock it. In the movies, you casually cock the hammer back to show you mean business. That’s when the bad guy talks.

‘All right, all right, I’ll tell you,’ he stammers.

Having to use both hands wouldn’t have the same effect. You’d come across like the rookie who’s not as tough as he thinks he is or the chick who manages to get the bad guy’s gun while he’s scuffling with the good guy. Still, it felt great in my hand. Just aces. The wood against my palm. The heavy steel gleaming hearse black. Like it had a mind of its own, my index finger tucked around the trigger. The relentless thrust of that long barrel, like the finger of God for me to point where it needed pointing. This was how you took out bad guys and enforced justice and sneaked through the villain’s heavily guarded compound.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but thinking back, I probably looked kind of silly holding a laboriously cocked Smith & Wesson Model 10 .38 revolver. It was the gun that would shoot my friend Trevor two days later.

To be continued…

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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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