Home on the range


Love and Lust
So, as I appear to be in a reminiscing frame of mind at the moment, I thought I would share a story about a pursuit of lust love.  This pursuit would lead to my joining a uniformed organisation and would ultimately lead to a shooting incident where a number of people could have lost their lives.

Exciting, right?  Absolutely…prepare…..for….well, disappointment I am almost certain.

Hmm, I have sat here for at least 5 minutes, trying desperately to remember the year that this took place.  Not that it is important to the story, but I know how you all like to have complete facts and not just spurious memories.  Let’s see, I was in Gütersloh, which I left in 1990…so this would have been a year (ish) before that.  Ok, ok…I’ll say 1988 for the sake of argument.

So, back in 1988 I was living in Gütersloh, Germany as my dad was in the Royal Air Force (I may have mentioned this before).  It was fast approaching the summer, my Uncle Fester/Panda Hybrid looks were not even a remote possibility.  I played regular football, table tennis, squash and a myriad of other sports..and I was fortunate enough to be in the relatively “in” groups.  Life was good and I felt good about that.

A particular lady, however, had achieved the dubious honour of having me lusting after her and, indeed, being somewhat obsessed with her.  She was in a group of friends that regularly overlapped with my group, so we were chatting quite frequently.  Despite my (moderate) successes with the ladies…and the group that I was with…I was still abnormally shy about making any “moves”..so I hadn’t attempted to get with the object of my desires yet.  During one of our chats, it was revealed to me that she was a member of the Air Training Corps (a sort of youth Royal Air Force if you will) and that they were having a huge summer event in a couple of months.  After discovering that the event was a full weekend camping, with BBQs, party and other activities…I decided that I needed to get to this event.

Unfortunately, this was specifically an ATC event…no friends or external invites.  What was a boy to do?

After signing up to join the ATC and getting my uniform sorted out, I embarked upon, what I describe to be, a low point in my life.  Low because of what I was going through in an attempt to be with the object of my infatuation.  I attended every week, went to the special events…learned how to march, how to strip and clean a gun and also how to fire a gun.  Eventually, I got the all clear…I attended the weekend event and had a very….very good time….you don’t really need to hear more than that.

That is not the story though….oh no.  This story is based around what happened during my (self) enforced time in the ATC.  As I said, I attended everything that they wanted me to religiously, mainly to make sure that they couldn’t exclude me from the summer event.  Everything.  Including many visits to the shooting range, where we learned about firing various guns…how to keep them safe, strip them down and clean them etc…and of course, how to fire them.

I excelled at firing them and rapidly gained a marksman certificate for every weapon that we were allowed to handle.  I was one of, if not the, best shot out of everyone there.  We would visit the range almost every week and so I got plenty of practise.  This particular visit to the range was no different.

I should probably, at this point, explain how the range was setup.  It was a very long range, lots of dirt on the floor leading from where we shot to the targets at the other end.  The targets were set at about 1.8m from the ground and were supported by (and placed in front of) lots of sandbags.  For extra support (I think), the sandbags were themselves placed on the top of some rocks.  It was a pretty good setup.

We were firing SA-80s from the “prone” position, which is basically laying down, and were instructed to stop firing.  The rule was that you had to make the weapon safe before standing, then check the chambers and place the weapon (barrel facing down-range) onto the table next to your firing position.  We had done this many many many times and were all pretty skilled at it.

For some reason, one of the girls…I shall call her Brandine, completely forgot what she was supposed to do…stood up and went to place the gun on the table.  At the moment that she was doing this, the Sergeant who had been watching all of us intently, decided to act.  I am fairly certain, that, had he approached her in a calm manner and explained the issue, it would have been rectified without further incident..unfortunately, he decided to be a cliche and proceeded, at the top of his lungs, to scream “MAKE THAT WEAPON SAFE CADET BRANDINE”.

As you and I might reasonably expect, this did not have the desired effect on Brandine…what it did do was to scare the shit out of her.  Brandine, who at this point was in mid-reach to the table whilst attempting to put the gun down..jumped out of her skin and immediately dropped the weapon on the floor.

Dropped.  The.  Weapon.

As I am sure you can imagine (it wouldn’t be much of a story otherwise), the one in a million chance of a weapon discharge happened.

The bullet, travelling at god knows what speed, left the barrel which was (thankfully) pointing down range..and was, I swear, kicking up a dust trail as it went hurtling towards the targets…at about 2 inches off the ground.

This of course meant that it hit the rocks underneath the target and I got to experience my first ever real ricochet.  The Sergeant decided to scream again…but this time with a little more justification and we all hit the deck.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened to anyone (except Brandine, who was banned from the range)…but it could have done…which makes it exciting.

Surely by association, I am indeed exciting and interesting right?

What do you mean no?

Bastards.

So you see the sort of crap that us guys are willing to go through to get the girl.  Impressive or Sad, you decide…just don’t tell me about it.

Oh, and as for the object of my desires…we did get together at the weekend event…had lots and lots of fun…and 3 weeks later we were both seeing other, more interesting people.

Still, it was fun while it lasted.

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