to voice over artist Tim George
the part of Hank Peabody
Tim George's website to learn more
about his work
At the Firing Range
from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody
THE AFTER DAY THE HEART was stolen, after the cops had come and written
their report, I went up to the range to shoot the rifle and get away.
August is deer season in California and I had tags for Zone
D-13, two weeks left. I figured that a trip to the range might assist
the sighting in of my scope and afford a bit of Sherlock Holmes-style
Like I knew what I was doing.
Before I left town, I picked up some White Flyer clay pigeons
at the Big 5 just off of Junipero Serra Boulevard.
I liked to put them on the earthen berm set at the one-hundred-yard
mark from the firing line. While the clays, are shaped like disks and
colored bright orangereadymade to be thrown for skeetI put
them on the berm in rows of five to take shots at them through the scop
of my 30.06.
At a hundred yards, the 30-ought is just getting going and completely
accurate if the sight is properly dialed.
At that caliber, the rifle is like a cannon, no doubt designed
to kill large mammals, but theres something comforting about disappearing
into the site of all that power. Its no different than hitting
golf balls or reading sonnets. It allows me to focus hundreds of years
of machination, politics and learning into a single body motionsqueezing
My breathing and heart rate are matched up to the cross
hairs in the scope as they fall upon the orange spot in the dirt. I
hold the wooden butt of the rifle into my shoulder, my elbows are on
each of my knees as I sit in the hunting position, on my ass, legs up
and spread. It seems awkward to the uninitiated, but really this is
one of the best ways to keep aim on a target at a distance.
While the shell is in the chamber, I keep the safety on
and my finger away from the trigger. I always like to say to students:
keep your finger off of the trigger unless you think you want to pull
it within the next few seconds . . . Then the safety is slipped off,
the index finger gingerly set upon the trigger. The orange clay in the
dirt floats in the cross hairs. It jiggers a momentIm not
ready. I steady myself. Breathe in, lightly breathe outwait. The
hairs descend just below the pigeon. I raise them up gently and land
upon the orange target with a squeeze.
Its like a twelve foot rubber balloon exploding in
front of my face. Then, just as quickly, theres nothing.
I look to see if I hit the pigeon, but who knows. One is
blinded by the pop of the shell. Its as if the accomplishment
of hitting the target, at the moment the shell is discharged and the
rifle racked back, is only alluded to. Sometimes it takes a moment to
figure out if you really hit the thing you were aiming for.
More at the rangeHank realizes
why he's really there.