Jill’s haircut hadn’t been a mistake. Myrah was surprised at how good it had turned out. Silently, she watched the woman from across the store. It made the girl look like some kind of sci-fi android that had been unleashed on society from a top secret government laboratory with the sole directive of seducing and killing anything that got in her way. The spiked tips hung around her face like black daggers as she bent looking over the lighted countertops at the guns.
With a heavy sigh, Myrah turned her attention back to the jackets. She’d found one that had a leather patch for a rifle’s stock on the shoulder and one with pockets and clips all over it. She looked at them both, holding them up and trying to decide which coat that she’d like the most if she were her husband.
Eventually she tossed the one with the patch back onto the rack and dumped the mega pocket and clip model into her basket. To Myrah it seemed like the uglier of the two but men loved having places to put all of their crap. It would probably take her five whole minutes to clean the stupid thing out before taking it to the laundry after Jack had used it in the field. He’d be thrilled.
Myrah stepped out of the clothing and looked around to try and get her bearings. Decoys and Deer sold a great assortment of sporting goods but the main thing that they stocked was hunting gear. The entire place was awash in greens and browns. A mountain of fake rocks with stuffed wildlife that were posed on top of them took up one whole corner of the store while a fully stocked river was carved in a snaking pattern around the perimeter. There were so many camouflage things for sale that the items themselves seemed to give the place forest like qualities.
Walking past a floor to ceiling tank where fish with monstrous bodies swam, she ducked down the row bearing the stores soccer gear. The kids always needed something for soccer. Jack’s daughter was a star on the middle-school team and her son played for the city league. She grabbed four pairs of shorts, two packages of shin guards, a pair of cleats and some tape that she’d seen her step-daughter use once but could not remember what for.
Myrah had too many bags already. She felt embarrassed. They were piled into the bottom of her cart underneath these new purchases, their mass looking like an oversized clump of brilliant confetti. She decided to go to the grocery store as soon as they were finished. She’d had too much of the mall for one day.
“How’s it going?” She asked her friend as she approached the long row guns.
Jill gave her a half hearted smile. “Okay I guess.”
“Are you really going to buy one?”
“I don’t know.”
An Indian man stood before her pointing down at each of the rifles that were locked away beneath the lights. “I don’t hunt.” He said timidly. “This one here sells very well.”
“What can you kill with it?”
The man shrugged. “Anything I suppose. I’m actually just filling in over here today. This is not my specialty.”
Myrah smiled reading his name tag. “I think that makes three of us Sanjay.” She said as stepped around Jill to get a better look at the weapons. “I wouldn’t even know what kind of bullets to buy for these damned things.”
Sanjay shook his head seriously. “They take a vast assortment of different types of ammunition. There are a multitude of specially made shells for each one that can be chosen based on the animal that you are hunting and the manner in which you wish to kill it. I do not know these things myself but I have been informed by watching others.”
“What type kills deer?” Jill asked.
“They all kill deer.” He answered spreading his arms over the case.
Myrah interrupted. “I think what she’s asking is, what type do people who want to kill deer favor.” She pointed down at a long barreled rifle. “That one looks like it would work.”
Sanjay nodded. “That one would kill a deer.” He agreed.
Jill bent forward looking at it.
Myrah took out her phone and began pressing keys. “You know what?” She said as she typed. “I’m gong to take care of this right now.”
“What are you doing?” The woman asked stepping back from the case.
“I’m texting Jack. He’ll know.”
As they waited for his reply, Sanjay unlocked the case and extracted the rifle. “It is heavier than you might expect.” He warned as he handed it to Jill.
She held it in her hands as if it were a barbell, weighty and cross-ways at her chest. “Why is it painted green?” She asked. “Shouldn’t it look more wooden?”
“One would think.” The Indian said raising a finger. “To me it makes more sense because it is my estimation that deer season only runs in the fall when there is less green outdoors and more browns.”
“So why green?”
“I believe that it sells more. It looks more military.”
Myrah laughed. “Men are going to war on the deer lease.” She said mockingly. “If all our wars were fought with beer in the cooler and uncooked cans of beans then everyone one of them would join the army.”
“In my country, this is not an option.”
The phone chimed. Myrah looked down at the screen. “Jack says go with a Weatherby Mark V Deluxe.” She said.
“Which one is that?” Jill asked.
The Indian moved along the case towards a row of highly polished guns. “I’m afraid that this one will not be green.” He warned as he bent to gaze down at them. “It appears to be more brown.”
Jill looked from the display, back to the rifle that she held in her hands. “I think I like the green one better.”
Sanjay nodded again. “Everyone does.” He said without much emotion. “That one is our best selling green models.”
“Does it come with one of those scopes?” The woman asked. She turned the rifle over and clumsily put it to her arm.
“That is separate.” He said pointing to point at a row of them hanging on felt lining in a glass cabinet behind him. “As you can see, many of them are green as well.”
“I want the biggest green one that you have.” Jill smiled.
Myrah shook her head. “I still think that buying Thom a weapon is not the thing that you should do if you want to cheer him up. Dirty underwear from Scantily Lace upstairs maybe, but a gun? No.”
“I have lots of dirty underwear.” Jill said. “Thom doesn’t care about dirty underwear anymore. This has gone beyond that.”
They watched as the man pulled a large scope down from the wall.
“Do you think that he’ll even use it?” Myrah asked. “Having a dad that climbs up onto a tower and picks off twenty-five people when you’re seven years old might mess you up for life. Heck, people still bring that thing up when they start talking about banning guns.”
“I don’t care about that.” Jill argued. “That was before I was even born.”
“Well, it wasn’t before Thom was born.”
“It’s ancient history.”
“He’s still on death row.”
“He’s probably going to live forever.”
“That was an event of horrible proportions.” Sanjay said coming back to the spot where they stood.
Myrah cocked her head. “Even in your country?”
“Yes.” He answered motioning to Jill for the gun. “I have seen the old films and they are truly sickening. The people huddled into corners, hiding behind cars. You can hardly make out their faces in the grainy black and white.”
“You’re not one of those anti second amendment types are you?” Myrah asked. “Not that I really care but you’re working in the wrong place if you are.”
Timidly, Jill handed the weapon back to him so that he could mount the scope.
“I do not understand these things.” The Indian muttered as he slid the device into the top of the stock. “I get the basic principle of them and I understand that they have to be calibrated before they can be used to any notable effect.”
“How?” Jill asked.
“That would be something of which I would hope is included in the instructions.” He answered handing the weapon back over to her. “I believe that it is actually achieved by attempting to target beer cans and making incremental adjustments to the knobs.”
Jill raised the barrel, pointing it down the length of the store. “I think I’m going to go ahead and get this.” She said winking down the scope.
“You will have to fill out forms. There is waiting period.”
“That’s fine.” She smiled as she handed the rifle back. “I want it.”
Myrah sighed. “Bad choice girl.”
“I don’t care. I want it.” Jill said happily. She took her checkbook from her purse and slapped it down onto the counter.