A few years ago I expressed (for the second time) a laconic interest in buying a gun and learning to shoot. My brother, who had done firearms training for a good portion of his career in law enforcement, was not letting me off the hook this time. He bought me the gun, ammunition, and countless other accoutrements, gave me two hours of personal instruction using his standard gun-safety course, and then took me to the range and taught me to shoot the darned thing with reasonable accuracy.
I took the gun safety training to heart and immediately purchased a fingerprint touch gun safe to store the weapon securely beside my bed. And later that year I had good reason to put all my training to use as someone attempted to break in my front door in the small hours of the morning. Standing in my entryway in approved stance, phone beside me where I had called for help, I rehearsed every minute of my instruction in my head as I pointed the weapon and shouted, “I’ve called 911! I have a gun! I will shoot you!”. As determined by the police who arrived a few minutes later, my intruder turned out to be nothing more than my drunken sot of a neighbor, yanking and pulling at my security door, as he tried to gain entry into what he believed was his own home. Nevertheless, rattled as I was, I knew I was very glad I had the gun to handle the situation.
The gun has come out of the safe on a few other occasions, as well, most notably the light of early morning when a squirrel, having discovered the cache of pine cones for my fireplace stored in a copper tub on my porch, again rattled the front security door. When I crept up, gun at ready, and flung the main door open, the startled little fellow scampered off to the tree in the front yard, leaving behind the cache of acorns he’d been burying in the tub. I’m sure we were both equally upset.
But nothing will ever equal the Great Battle of the Shower Curtain.
I was roused from a (rare) sound sleep, startled awake by an inexplicable noise. As I thought to myself, “Did I really hear that?” I realized that the three cats who were sharing the bed with me were all poised in approved “Cat At Alert” stance, one of them even perched like a meerkat sentry. I quickly removed my gun from the safe and crept carefully to the balcony rail outside my bedroom door, where the landing overlooked the cathedral ceiling.
From that space, with faint exterior light spilling from the stairwell clerestory window, I could look down on the French doors at the back of my lower floor. They were undisturbed, the glass unbroken, the curtains in place.
Swiftly I slapped on the light from the switch at the head of the stairwell and rushed down, gun still at ready, to the spot in the entryway where I could see both my front door and the door to the garage. Both were closed, locked, undisturbed; the “screamer” alarm on the garage door certainly had not been activated.
Still stealthy, I crept further down the stairwell and swung rapidly around the corner to the kitchen. No one was there; nor was anyone in the half-bath. I flung open the coat closet, in case someone had darted within. Nope. No burglars hiding in the closet.
Ah ha! I thought. They’ve gotten the door up and they’re out there in my garage. With a dramatic flourish, I threw open the door to the garage, pointing the gun. No dice. The main garage door was down, the car undisturbed. Bewildered, I closed the door and switched off the screamer before it could begin its klaxon.
Defeated and confused, I was slowly wending my way back upstairs when I remembered that the attic space of our three conjoined condo units was accessible to every unit. I dashed into the spare bedroom and flung open the closet door where the attic entrance reposed. But the attic door was still encased in the unbroken bubble wrap that I’d taped in place to prevent drafts.
Now completely bewildered, I tottered slowly out of the room, finger now carefully removed from the trigger, gun dangling loosely from my fingertips. What the hell was the noise that I—and the cats—had heard?
By this time, considering the past moments of stress, I needed the bathroom rather badly. Sighing, with dragging steps, I faltered my way into my main bathroom and switched on the lights.
And it was there I discovered that the springform curtain rod which held the shower curtain in place had unsprung itself and crashed from the wall, loudly hitting the side of the tub in the process.
I am happy to report that I did not shoot the shower curtain.