Friday, December 7, 2012
Childhood Memory, Current Malady: The Shotgun Wad
One day when I was about twelve years old I was walking my paper route in the suburban/rural outskirts of Buffalo, New York, when I came to the house of a schoolmate I'll call J.B. (Haven't heard a thing about him in decades.) We'd known each other since kindergarten. I remember him being a nice enough guy, but we weren't close friends.
J.B. was standing at the front door of his house as I walked up. I think we exchanged a few words, maybe I handed him his family's newspaper. I walked on, paper bag over my shoulder.
When I was maybe fifteen, maybe twenty feet away, I was suddenly hit in the center of my back by...something. At the same time a huge sound (or maybe just a "bang") exploded. I was thrown several feet forward, face first to the ground, with a feeling like I'd been kicked in the back by a moose.
I got to my knees and turned around. J.B. was standing at his front door, shotgun (20-gauge, pretty sure) in his hand.
I don't remember how the information was conveyed (I think he just told me; I don't think I was saying much) but I somehow found out that he'd taken the shot out a shotgun shell and shot me with the shell's plastic wad. Like he figured that might be a fun thing to do.
I left. Feeling hurt, feeling scared, feeling dumb. I don't think I ever told my parents. Hurt like hell.
I've got a back problem now, 13 years and counting - unfortunately worsening these days - surrounding a spot in the center of my back. Related? Who knows? One wonders, though. Or at least I do.
I also wonder if J.B. became a serial killer.
The pic up top (from here) shows the parts of a shotgun shell. J.B. took the shot (the BBs) out of the shell he used to shoot me. That plastic thing you see, which they call a "shot cup" (we always called it a "wad"), was what hit me. May not seem like much; maybe you can try it yourself if you think so.