Eighteen minutes into the day and the plan had gone to shit! Rather than blissful unawareness of election results I knew The Hairball had prevailed. The news (despite being unwanted knowledge) made me buoyant. The same feeling you get when the Doctor says “that thing is normal, walk it off” instead of “the results came back and you died in 2008”.
I still wanted to avoid politics. The ugly wasn’t over. When the left side loses an election they fling shit until just before Christmas. (You can set a clock by it.) I presumed lawsuits (lawfare?) were in the works… or riots. It depends on whether their hated opponent (who is invariably called racist and compared to Hitler) won beyond the “ratio of cheat”. Useful idiots would get to work soon. Probably beginning with mass pants-shitting hysterics on Facebook and likely riot(s) in a place that votes to the left of Lenin (always riot in a friendly place?). They would continue until it gets cold or some fuckwit kills a cop or two. (Horrific prediction, if I’m wrong about ensuing deaths you may chastise me. Remember this, predicting the future is not the same as endorsing the madness. I don’t like riots!) I also dislike articles about the electoral college written by “journalists” who can’t do fractions. It’s like hearing a goldfish discuss thermodynamics. (If they were smart they’d just call up their bitch sessions from Bush/Gore 2000 and repost them.)
It was damaging my calm. I tried to shrug it off. All I wanted was to sit under a tree and watch chickadees but I couldn’t chill out.
Meanwhile Dr. Mingo was having a crisis. He had seen a nice buck, taken the shot, and…
I hesitate to say the word “missed”. In his mind, it was more like “failed myself and my family and my world and everything I stand for… thus dooming myself to an eternity of dishonor.” Doctor Mingo is a good shot and has high expectations of himself when it comes to shooting. He spent a few years in the Marine Corps. You get the picture.
He was blaming himself for having improperly managed his scope. Overnight his brain had downloaded guilt trips from sixty scolding Jewish grandmothers and mixed it with conditioning planted there by drill instructors. He looked pale. He was muttering to himself; “Where’s the point of aim? What happens if I see a deer?”
Time to resolve this. We abandoned our post and headed towards town.
This is where I have to explain something about living in certain rural areas; civilization has already started collapsing. Forget all about your survivalist, post-EMP, zombieland fiction. It’s a spectrum and my neighborhood is inching down the slope.
Dr. Mingo was confident that we could wander into any one of a dozen stores, choose from an endless variety of scopes, have it professionally installed, sight the rifle in at a clean and orderly shooting range, and get back into the forest. This is entirely doable in an advanced, industrialized, free-market, society. For example, in this very town a generation ago. Now, civilization is delivered via FedEx or not at all. It’s amazing the electricity stays on.
A 50-mile trip got us to the only place we’d have a chance; a store I’ll call Goose Hill.
I’ll say this for Goose Hill… it exists. Which is more than you can say about nearly anything else. There is no competition from megastores like Cable-lass, Sportsman’s Storage Facility, or any other chain. Nor is there much local competition from mom and pop gunshops. My favorite one closed a few years back. When I need something I usually resort to Amazon (and wait for FedEx), organize a road trip, or go without.
Goose Hill is for when you’re desperate. (Which we were.) That’s because the staff encompasses the speed of the DMV with the high end intellectual horsepower of watching a stoner drool. Plus, the selection is sparse enough to make a Soviet Central Planner cackle with glee.
[Editor’s note: Two weeks ago Goose Hill was sold out of 150 grain in my desired caliber. I have plenty of 150 grain but stocked up on 130 grain (might as well buy ammo before the election). I sighted in at the lighter bullet and reasoned that good bullet placement with a 130 was fine. Now they had 150 grain on the shelf. Dammit! Alas, the die was cast. I wasn’t about to re-jigger my scope in mid-season. It was bad enough that Mingo had to do it.]
The store was deserted. Just Mingo and a nice lady who’d already bagged a buck. (We hung our heads in shame hearing that.) She’d ordered a cute pink .22 many weeks ago. She was haranguing the sole gun counter guy to get the scope she’d ordered many weeks ago. Turns out it had arrived many weeks ago but gotten lost somewhere in the back room many weeks ago. He installed the scope at the speed of sloth. Friendly but slow. S.L.O.W.
The .22 was a Christmas gift. She was fretting in November over a rifle ordered in October to make sure it was done by Christmas. That’s all you need to know.
Time stopped. Continents drifted. I could feel them moving… faster than the gun counter dude.
Two fellows came in to look at guns. They looked around, assessed the situation, and bailed. Dr. Mingo was aghast that folks simply accepted terrible service. I shrugged, what are you supposed to do? In three instances I’d seen more or less what I wanted at this very store and got so frustrated that I left without buying. (There’s a store a couple hours’ drive away that’s excellent. I consider a 200 mile drive better than dealing with the sloths here.)
Another customer came in. He wanted an AR15. There were two or three to choose from. Two guys who had been doing God know’s what(!?!) in the back room charged out to make the sale.
Meanwhile slothman was examining Mingo’s scope… slowly. The scope was bent. (No shit!) Mingo suspected. I agreed. A new scope was selected… time slowed further. Apparently finding scope rings is difficult and takes the better part of an hour.
The AR15 customer didn’t like the front sight on the only reasonable AR. Mingo pointed out he could pull a pin and remove it; replace it with a fold down sight. The guy said, and this is a quote:
“Nah, I’ll probably just mill it off.”
Mingo shuddered. Use a mill instead of swap a part?
The shopper wandered off. The salesdrones vanished.
I sidled up. “You know how that guy said ‘mill it off’?”
Mingo nodded, still horrified.
“Look at that guy, you think he actually owns a mill?”
Mingo frowned. There’s more chance a houseplant has a mill than that guy.
“He means,” I paused for effect, “hacksaw.”
Mingo nearly had organ failure. Take a hacksaw to a perfectly good AR? Horror!
“These rings will fit. I can mount it. Free of charge.” Slothman showed signs of life.
Mingo agreed, I shrugged and the guy spent 10 minutes finding his screwdrivers. It took over an hour. Then he disappeared in the back to “boresight” it. To the sloth, boresight means “it’ll hit something in the same latitude… maybe”. Mingo or I expected “on the paper at 50 yards”. How silly of us.
Of course no ranges were open. Mingo couldn’t believe it. We compromised with a targed in my yard. (Probably scaring every deer for miles.) True to his marksmanship, Mingo dialed in quick.
Thankfully before sunset he was on post waiting for that buck.
Mingo was itching to redeem himself. The deer didn’t get the memo.
When the day was over, we celebrated Hillary’s defeat (or Trump’s victory?) by downing half a bottle of whiskey and watching Tucker and Dale versus Evil.
P.S. Video of the gun counter guy is below: