Because I don't want to violate the Truth in Blogging Law, let the record show that Hick's doppelganger may or may not have looked like him. I was sitting in the shotgun seat of A-Cad, and didn't turn around. From everything else I heard and saw, Doppelganger Hick was a carbon copy of him. We'll get to that in a moment...
Also for disclosure, wheeling, in this case, means we were on the road to elsewhere, and stopped by this house as Hick's afterthought (that he had pre-planned but hadn't told me). And dealing means that Hick's purpose was to make a profit for his Storage Unit Store merchandise.
Okay, now that legalities are out of the way, we can proceed. On the way home from the casino on Thursday, Hick stopped by a stranger's house to show him a gun.
If I retained enough information after my eyes glazed over, this was a Savage .22 /.410. I asked Hick to be sure.
"Wait a minute! How can it be both? It's either a .22, or a .410."
"No..." Hick said, as if I was simple. "It has two barrels. The top one shoots a .22 bullet, and the bottom one shoots a .410 shotgun shell. Sometimes it's called an over-and-under. They have two triggers, but this one has one trigger, and a switch."
"I don't think you should stop by some guy's house with a gun."
"Val. He's an old man. His kids saw my gun up at my Store, and called their dad. He was out brush hogging the field. They sent him a bunch of pictures. He's been looking for one of these guns forever, to replace one that he had with a bent barrel. He couldn't find one anywhere. He said he'd like to look at it, and maybe buy it."
Hick called Doppelganger Hick from the parking lot of a Love's Truckstop. The directions were: go past the church on the right. It's the next driveway after the log cabin on the left.
When we pulled in, I felt like I was in an opposite Bizarro World. Meaning that I was in a world JUST LIKE I LIVE IN WITH HICK!
There was a house with several outbuildings. One of them had the side covered in yokes. Like Hick collects cast-iron skillets and hangs them, this guy had wooden yokes. By another building, an old wringer washing machine sat, with flowers growing out the top. A homemade roller made from pouring concrete in a pipe was sitting behind a truck.
Doppelganger Hick came out and met Hick at A-Cad's rear. Hick brandished the weapon, and Doppelganger Hick said it was a beauty. He looked for a 24 D on the side, saying that's what the model of his damaged gun was. This one had the 24, but not the letter D with it.
"I'd like to shoot it if you don't mind. I put two bullets in my pocket."
"Okay. You go right ahead."
"Oh. It's a .22 magnum. Not a regular .22. Them's too small."
"I'm just going to shoot up in the air..."
BOOM! [Doppelganger Hick used his shotgun shell in the .410 barrel.]
"That's a nice solid gun."
"Yeah. It's a nice one. It's only the second one I've found in the past three years."
"How much do you want for it?"
"Would you take $550 cash right now?"
"I can't do that, because of what I've got in it."
"Well. It's a nice gun. I wish I could get mine fixed. There used to be a guy around here who did that. Really good work. But he's dead now. I don't know anyone who can fix it."
"Yeah, that's hard to find these days, somebody who can fix a barrel the right way."
"Well. I'll go in the house and get some money. I'll leave this with you right here."
"All right. Take your time."
Doppelganger Hick's wife was mowing the front yard on a riding mower. I imagine she was out there to be a witness in case Hick tried anything fishy.
Out came Doppelganger Hick with the money. The deal was made. Hick said he could stay and talk all day, but "...the wife and my son want to get home in time to see their TV show." Which we DID! The Big Brother live eviction.
As we got back on the curvy two-lane blacktop for Hick to sweave us home, I said,
"You know he's sitting on the couch with that gun across his knees, stroking it."
"I knew he'd try to screw me on the price."
"You don't even KNOW him! All he did was try to barter. You'd do the same thing."
"I made $145 on it."
"You'd do a deal for a $10 profit! I don't know why you couldn't come off your price a little. Make him feel like he worked a deal."
"When I know how hard one is to find, I don't feel bad about getting a good price for it. Like our dog-grooming neighbor came up to my Store looking at a gun, and said her husband said they could get it $50 cheaper for a new one. I said, 'Okay. Go ahead.' I knew I could sell it to someone else. I don't back down when people tell me that. Not even people I like, like them neighbors. Let them pay the tax and do the paperwork, IF they can even find one in stock. All the ones I'd looked up were OUT OF STOCK. They can't keep 'em, so many people are wanting them."
"How did that guy's gun get bent?"
"There was a guy breaking into his barn. He ran outside, and realized he didn't have any bullets. So he hit the burglar over the head with his gun."
I cut eyes to The Pony in the back seat, who had the same expression as I did.
"Did it know him out? The burglar?"
"Nah. He ran off."
"It didn't crack his head open?"
"I guess not. The guy's kids showed me pictures of the bent gun. It takes a LOT to bend steel like that. I'm not so sure he hit the guy in the head. That should have knocked him out. Maybe he came down on the shoulder. That could bend a gun, and let the robber run away."
Just another day with Hick. I wonder if Doppelganger Hick's wife got a good blog story out of our visit...