I learned that the fella sitting behind me was named Bobby Joe Odum. The name meant nothing to me; I had no idea as to whom he was connected, but somehow suspected it was to someone of importance. That information would come to me later on, I knew.
We all headed outside and lined up as instructed. The Captain had sheathed the revolver again until we reached the outdoor range. It was a huge area, backed by a high fence to prevent anyone behind the shooting area from getting accidentally hit. It was amazing to find such a place inside a city limits; but then this was the way it was.
After we were lined up, the Captain once again removed his revolver and held it out in front of him, demonstrating the way to hold it with two hands to steady it, at eye level. Then he turned and fired at one of the targets, hitting it in dead center of the man's head on the target, then in the area of the chest where the heart would be.
As he replaced the bullets, he said, "That, men, would be overkill. One bullet should be all that is necessary. However, only use a bullet to kill if there is no other way out. We're not in the business to kill criminals, just bring them to justice."
I heard one of the men snigger at his comment. What did he know that I didn't? I knew for one thing that Captain Wintermeyer was a dead-eye marksman, and wouldn't be a person to get on the wrong side of. He looked as though he would brook no fools. I determined to listen carefully to everything he said and watch all he did. I figured whoever selected him to train men knew what they were doing.
Wintermeyer called one of the men up near him and showed him how to hold the gun, how to turn and stand, finally how to bring the gun up to shoulder level and fire. The fellow almost hit the target. Good thing that fence was behind the target. He got two more tries; then it was the next fellow's turn. He had been practicing while watching the first one; so he did a little bit better.
"Okay, O'Hanlon, get over here, let's see how you do." The Captain had reloaded the revolver.
My hands were a bit sweaty; it had been several months since I had fired a gun, but it was a rifle. I had excellent eyesight, however, and had been shooting since I was thirteen, when my Grandda took me hunting.
I went through all the steps demonstrated earlier, then fired once at the head, once at the heart, and stopped; I had hit both and didn't need to fire again.
Handing the .38 Special back to the Captain, I stepped back into line.
He looked at me with new respect, as did the other men.
"O'Hanlon...where did you learn to shoot like that? Were you in the military?"
"Yes, sir, four years. I served in Vietnam. My Grandda taught me nearly ten years ago how to hunt rabbits with an old .22."
Bobby Joe came up and clapped me on the back, "I'm with you, buddy. You're gonna be my partner."
I turned and looked at him with something akin to amazement.
(To be continued)