So, I’m down in San Diego going to yet another firearms instructor’s class. I know that my wife doesn’t like it when I R-U-N-N O-F-T like this, but it is some things that she allows me regardless. Although I will be the first to admit that I don’t much deserve it, nor her endless patience with me.

Fact of business, I like this shit. If you are gonna do something, by god, do it the fuck right. Esp. when it means your student gets to go home and kiss his wife and baby if you have done right by him. Esp. what it means if you don’t.

One thing I have developed, like most cops, is I can’t stand a bullshitter. I just can’t. It’s inimical to what you need to be doing. It’s a evil goddamn cancer. Today we had this guy. He’s supposed to be teaching us how to do diagostics on student targets. The way it goes is, the student shoots at the target a bunch of times and you look at the target, and you can see what he or she is doing wrong. Just mostly by where they’re hitting. Low shots mean they’re anticipating the recoil, jerking the muzzle down at the moment of truth. Hits over there on the left mean they’ve got too much finger on the trigger. Etc.

But my god.

This fat-ass holds up a target and says “See here, this means either this or that…this could be this, or it might be this other thing. You gotta jist figger it out what they mean, see. This target, it’s just for the ADMINISTRATION to feel good about. This target should be some other way. How would you make a target? Maybe you could do it thisaway. Maybe you could go and do it thataway…”

And on and on.

For fifty cents I would have put one right between his running lights.

“Diagnose that one, you fat sack of shit.”

*

But then we had this other guy. He’s about two and a half feet tall. He’s a skinny, dried up little fucker. He’s wearing pressed BDU’s and he’s got a big ole’ Marine Corps belt buckle and shined up black boots and it’s one of two things. He’s either one of those sad-sack volunteer patrol retiree wanna-be’s that fucking LOVES cops and LOVES guns and thinks it is so FUCKING COOL to hang around them and pretend to be one, or he’s the other thing.

So I sneak a look at his hands.

His skin is kinda mocha colored and smooth, but then I catch the knuckles. They’re white and knobby with scars. They look like he just this morning bashed a brick wall about a thousand times and then had a boiled egg for breakfast.

Okay, then.

And I watch how he moves. He looks like a goddamn cross between Baryishnikov and the Terminator. Elegant, but spare. No movement wasted. Nothing that does not need to be there.

No surprise that I lapped up what he had to say like a kitten at a bowl of milk.

The guy was a little monster.

*

And that’s what you do it for. You put up with the pompous fat-asses and the ignorant fucksticks because every once in a while there’s a guy like the little monster who pops up and gives you some shit you can put in your tool-box for a rainy day.

Some shit that’s going to keep you alive.

That’s going to keep one of your brothers or sisters alive.

I wanted to put that itty-bitty killer in my pocket and take him home with me.

*

I don’t know. It’s just that I want to do it right. And that doesn’t really put it the right way at all. It’s not just wanting. It’s that you have to. You HAVE to.

It isn’t like you could call it anything like a choice.

*

But coming home?

That’s better than all of this warrior macho shit could ever, ever be.

*

(Ah, but that’s why you do the warrior macho shit, isn’t it? So you get to come home…)

***

What about you? What drives you to some crazy degree of perfection that any normal person would just laugh at?

Well?

*