My Mom and my Old Man divorced when I was fairly young, and after a couple years of wrapping her head around it, Mom started dating again. Years go by, and she eventually settles down with the man who will become my stepfather. He’s about 10 years younger than Mom, I figure she just wanted someone easily manageable, rather unlike my Old Man.
My stepfather – I’ll just come right out and call him Jackass for the sake of convenience – well, Jackass wasn’t the smartest of men in some areas, but he was gifted in others. Game strategy and daily math he was an ace at, but other skills just weren’t in his wheelhouse. (Don’t ever play Cribbage with him; play Scrabble instead, he can’t spell worth a damn.) Some other skills that most modern Americans seem to have absorbed through the osmosis of modern pop culture just never managed to seep into his head though.
Anyway, at one point we ended up moving into a mobile home on a quiet street outside of town. My half-brother was just a toddler while I was in my early teens, so we ended up with me having the bedroom way at the back of the trailer and keeping all the dangerous goods in there. Jackass being a native-born Oregonian redneck, that included something like 3 deer rifles, a couple of shotguns and a muzzle-loader stacked in a corner plus various ammunition tucked away at the top of the closet as far from the floor (and the rifles) as I could get it. Jackass had made me study for and take the safety test to get my hunting license a couple years prior, so I knew how to use all the guns and more importantly how to keep them safely. My brother had at about this time figured out how to open drawers in such a way that they could be used like stairs, so I was extra-careful to keep him the hell out of my room.
Sometime late one summer while we lived there (I was 14 or so), Jackass got it in his head that he wanted to add a handgun to the collection. Never did figure out why, you can’t hunt anything worthwhile with a handgun in Oregon, but there you are. Or there I was, anyway, standing with Jackass out in the driveway chatting with this pair of brothers who had brought over a handgun for Jackass to (hopefully) take off their hands. A 9mm Taurus automatic in nickel plate with wood grips.
So Jackass is talking with the Brothers for a minute, and then he of course wants to get his hands on the gun. Brother #1 drops the magazine out of it, pulls the slide and locks it open before he hands both the clip and the gun over to Jackass, who looks at it for a minute or so, twisting it this way and that without much in the way of regard for where the barrel is pointing. I don’t think too much about it (the slide’s locked open and the clip is in his hand, after all), but I still take a step back so I’m a little behind him and less likely to have it pointed at me.
(Yup. Paranoid since birth.)
Anyway, Jackass waves it around for another minute or so, and while he’s talking to the Brothers, he of course slaps the clip into the gun and drops the slide down. And keeps waving this now-loaded pistol about.
The Brothers both tense up, trying to figure out which way they should dive if this idiot holding their pistol starts to point it at them while also trying to tell him to watch it with that loaded gun. Jackass is dumbfounded by their distress and can’t figure out what’s got them so jumpy and just sort of stands there going “Wut?”.
Speaking as calmly as I can, I get his attention and tell him to hand me the gun, which he does. Once I have it in my hands and pointed safely away from everyone I drop the clip back out, tuck it in my pocket, and then yank the slide back hard enough to pop the round out of the chamber and bounce it off his chest. Dawn breaks in his tiny little mind as he finally realizes what he did, and he chuckles his stupid little “oh garsh” chuckle just like Goofy.
I hand the pistol back to Brother #1, then find the ejected round and give it and the clip to Brother #2. The Brothers glance at each other and add a couple hundred to the price they thought they wanted for it, and Jackass declines the offer. They say their goodbyes make a hasty exit while I breathe a sigh of relief…
…then head back to my bedroom to go through all the guns to make sure Jackass hasn’t accidentally loaded one of them while I wasn’t looking.