This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.
He almost missed it.
His mind was somewhere else and he almost missed it, but almost only counts in horseshoes.
As it worked out, it would have been better if he had just kept going.
It was that momentary glint that caught his eye.
In recent years he had become a ‘walker’.
Of course, he had been able to walk since he was quite small but the idea of walking without purpose had not often occurred to him.
Then he got a dog followed by another dog, and dogs need to walk. It’s primal, and it has little to do with exercise; dogs need to travel.
So, these days there is lots of walking. He liked it and the dogs loved it. They got to travel and he got to clear his head.
They traveled this route several times a week and he enjoyed the subtle changes that take place over a period of time.
Trees lose there leaves, flowers bloom, someone parks a car in an unusual place, a plumber parks in a driveway.
It was a plumber’s van that caused the discovery.
‘Tradies’ in general have little regard for road rules in general, and parking restrictions in particular. They are usually quite good about moving the offending vehicle if you ask them nicely but they reason that they can park where they like and it’s OK until someone complains.
The large white plumber’s van was parked across the footpath leaving the walker and the two dogs with a couple of choices; walk out onto the busy road or slightly down the driveway in order to get past.
They chose the driveway.
He was busy describing what he would like to do to the plumber when he saw the bright flash of reflected light.
Whatever was causing the reflection was lying in the grass to the side of the driveway.
He’d never held a revolver before.
He’d seen plenty of them in movies but he was surprised by how heavy it was.
If you stuffed this in your pocket it would ruin the line of your jacket.
This was not a weapon that was designed for concealment.
There was no rust but it was covered in morning dew so it had probably only been there overnight.
The other thing it had on it was his fingerprints and his DNA.
These thoughts occurred to him as he stood in a suburban driveway holding a large handgun while wrangling two fluffy white dogs.
He wondered how this must look to anyone who may be watching.
The revolver had that familiar smell from his childhood; burnt gunpowder. There was one spent shell casing so there was a good chance that a single shot had been fired from this gun in the very recent past; and he was still holding it.
Put it back where he had found it and avoid the hassle or call the police?
A third option presented itself when the very large plumber suggested that he, “Give us me fukin‘ gun mate”.
It seemed like a good idea.
Besides, they were only half way through their walk and it would be a shame to waste a perfectly good day by arguing with a plumber.