The original was posted at my now defunct site (and now reposted at my new site). It's confusing- I know...
This is a short that I wrote in college. It went through a few rounds of editing with various people (some were actually offended with how I wrote this, and I’m pretty sure my wife didn’t like it either). I tried to personify my rifle when on the range qualifying. I think it came out rather well. As a quick warning- don’t read this aloud with your kids present. Some might refer to this as legitimate “gunrotica.” I think of it as a memorable way of remembering what BRASS stands for.
Original title “Brass.”
Author: Mike Uher II
B.R.A.S.S. Breath control. Relaxation. Aim. Sight alignment. Slow steady squeeze. Our mantra. Drilled into us when first we, as recruits, snapped in during our time in boot camp, almost five years prior. Every shot the same, yet every shot unique. To lump them all as one, without allowing for their individuality, even when taken from the same place, same rifle, same target, would be blasphemy.
I make a mark in my data book, putting an “x” above the silhouette’s right shoulder. I fight the page as it attempts to take flight and turn on its own in the gentle breeze. The sounds of rifle fire are continuous and close as the Marines to my left and right fire their own, unique shots toward their targets 500 yards away. I lay my pen on the page and let the book blow shut. I lift the butt of my rifle to my shoulder, the sling tightening like a tourniquet, stopping the blood flow to my arm but steadying the rifle for the shot. She is so tight to my body that She is a part of me, closer than anyone else in that moment, She is my lover today. She is an extension of me, a physical apparition of my country’s will, and my duty as an Infantry Rifleman.
Breathe. I fill my lungs with air as I pull Her to me. She is my rifle, and She and I are one mind, with one purpose. As I wed Her to my shoulder I let out my breath and look through the sights, concentrating on the mound of earth that our target has hid behind to escape us; the most intimate of partners. But in his arrogance, he rises to meet us.
Relax. I begin to slow my breathing, and we focus on our distant target. I can feel my heart begin to slow, my rifle comforting me with Her presence. She moves with me, searching for our foe, our intent clear between us. We are one. Closer than any two can be. She is I and I am She. She sways with my heartbeat, drifting mercilessly around our enemy.
Aim. I bring our front sight into focus as I blur the target in the distance. We dance around our enemy. Slowly, methodically we find his center. We two lovers center ourselves on our foe. At this distance, our front sight can cover him with its width. We cut him in half, placing the top of our sight in the belly of the man we aim at. We know that the glare off the sight will make us hit high, and we cannot miss again.
Sight alignment. As I fight my lovers need to move and do battle, She centers herself on him so distant. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, filling my lungs with air. I can feel Her move with me. Her cool plastic caressing my cheek, my hands wrapped around her ribs in a lovers embrace. I release the air, and relax. I open my eyes. She is still focused on the target, my embrace giving Her the support She needs to enact her deadly purpose.
Squeeze. I gently begin to press Her trigger. Slowly it moves to the rear, the tension mounting as we concentrate on the target downrange. The hammer falls. I am surprised by the sudden jarring of Her release as she screams her vengeance to our distant foe. Our singular purpose, to put a sixty two grain steel core round through the targets chest, is realized. I know in my gut that the round flies true. I smile. Not out of vengeance, but out of pride. We have done this thing that others dare not. We embrace one another as the closest, most intimate of friends.
The tourniquet releases as I take Her butt out of my shoulder, placing Her gently on the ground, and cradling Her gently in the crook of my left arm. I again fight the wind as I open the data book to the correct page. She rests patiently there, while I write. I mark the center of the target in the book. I then place Her back into my shoulder. We look out over the sunlit field for our arrogant foe, to enact our will once more. He rises again, a white circle in his chest. We circle our target, attempting to find the center. I wish for blasphemy as I squeeze Her trigger.