This was not an ordinary day for a Englishman in Michigan. The day was cold and we arose early - 0730 hours on holiday! This was for a special purpose - Mike, the lead guitar from "Timewarp" you will remember, had drunkenly invited us to a "shoot" the next day. As Nick and me had something else in mind for later that day that required our departure from Williams Lake at around 1100 hours for downtown Detroit, hence the early hours call. Of course Mike was still asleep and eventually, after much prodding via phonbe calls from Cindy,made good on his promise and we drove round to his 86 acre ranch. Not a bad pad and you could see why he was reluctant to leave the place. Of course, I wasn't envious in the slightest that the amount of space and trees and not being disturbed by the neighbours made this little corner of Michigan make my semi-detched in the war zone of Short Heath look like his tool shed. Why do you need a 18ft Christmas tree anyway? I think at this point I understood why people left England in the 1600's to look for somewhere with more space.
So having negociated Mike's rather large canine defence force, and the feline one, we met up with Mike and we headed off in his garden tractor to his "shoot". This was so we could do something that you can't do in the United Kingdom anymore since the Dunblane disaster - shoot a handgun. Or more specifically a .44 Magnum, once the most powerful handgun ever produced.
I'm afraid to report readers that your English representatives reflected the lack of compulsory practise that all Englishmen should be doing with a longbow on a Sunday morning. We started with clay pigeons and a pump-action 12 bore, and it went downhill from there. We were crap. Nick manged to "wing" a couple of clays after about 20 shots, but I did more destruction to the trees than the clays. Indeed, Mike's dog had great relish in retrieving the aforesaid trophies - totally unmarked of course. Up to the plate stepped Mike's 14 year old daughter who showed us how to do it! Five clays - five hits. 'nough said.
And then on to this monster of a gun and what a bang when you fired it! It make the top of my head crease with the pressure when it fired. Nick had flames coming out of his hands when he had a go. It came complete with a telescopic sight but that didn't help any! The target was a tin plate 40 yards away.I could have hit the target if it was closer by 20 yards, however,after missing totally everything after 12 shots, we gave up. That and the fact each shot was about $1 each!I have to say the rush of blood when firing the thing was one of pure exhilaration! The feeling of power a gun gives you is something quite unique and something to be well respectful of. Okay for sport, not good for pointing at other people though.
Having said our goodbyes and farewells to Mike and his family, we headed off to the highlight of my holiday - a day at the baseball and Planet America. Stay tuned!
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