Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Gun

In the early '80s I lived with my friend Tom and his girlfriend Terri in a house only five minutes from Folsom Lake. It was on a dead end street with about 9 other houses. The street ran downhill and each lot was leveled as a "pad", a seemingly California thing. The various homes where I lived in Wisconsin were all on hills which were allowed to slope in their original manner.

The ground was hard pan - impenetrable clay hard as cement - with a thin layer of imported top soil. On the one side of the yard was a rock wall which dropped down to the neighbors on the west, on the other was an embankment about five feet high on top of which our neighbor had a six foot tall wood fence.

The house had a nice large, covered, screened in patio on the back where Tom kept the bed for his dog. This dog had a fascination for the yard of the neighbor with the wood fence and was always going over there. The lower yard to the west had no fence but the dog never went there. Instead he would run across the yard, jump up the embankment then push off the top of the embankment to reach the top rail of the fence and pull himself over.

Tom had a pellet gun, a replica of a Colt 45 revolver, which we would target shoot with in the back yard. It looked fairly real, but on close examination you could see the cover for the CO2 cartridge and the fact that cylinder couldn't revolve. The small bore of the barrel was also a give-away.

One day, shortly after our house had been broken into, I came home to find a revolver laying on the dogs bed. Thinking it was Tom's pellet gun I scolded the dog for taking it and went to pick it up. As I lifted it I turned it such that I got a view of the barrel pointing at me. I freaked! Fuck, this ain't no pellet gun! It had a full size bore and I could see the copper tips of the bullets pointing at me from the cylinder holes!

I took the gun into the house, unloaded it and put the gun in one drawer and the bullets in another.

When Tom and Terri got home that night I showed it to them and neither had any idea where it might have come from. We began to worry that whoever had broke into the house had been packing the gun and dropped it somewhere. Already fearful of confronting a burglar, now we where even more concerned that he might be armed.

One evening about a week later we heard our neighbor behind the fence yelling at his wife from his backyard. He was obviously agitated and kept yelling "Where did you put it?", "Under which bush?"

I went out and asked him: "Are you looking for something?"
"Would it happen to be a gun?"
"Yes how did you know?"
"What kind?"
"A Colt 45 revolver."
"I have it."
"How the hell did you get it?"
"It was on the dog's bed."
"How did it get there?"
"You tell me!"
"Well last weekend my wife and I had a fight and I went out and got really drunk. She took the gun and hid it outside under the bushes."
"I guess the dog jumped the fence again, found the gun and brought it home."

Satisfied with his explanation I returned the gun and bullets to him, although I was concerned of the need for her to hide the gun in the first place.



  1. That there's one valuable dog. It usually takes months of training to teach one to steal the neighbors' firearms.

  2. Yeah, well, I'm really glad the dog didn't pull the trigger.