of a tennis player, hiker, writer
|Sporting a pony tail and baby doll tee, she fishes around in the second drawer of the bedside table. “Um, so…where’s the Beretta?” Laney asks in a high-pitched almost little girl voice.
We're about to head out to Tattnall at nine-thirty-something PM. I forgot to leave the gate unlocked and the home school group blocked the courts for a before breakfast hitting session, hoping to escape the hot Georgia sun and humidity.
It strikes me as almost comical, her girlish movements, her baby voice, her pony-tailed hair... fingers wrapped around steel metal while her father reminds her about the safety.
“I know, Dad” she whines, dragging out the word ‘know’. After all, everyone’s skilled in Beretta shooting.
I grab my things, trawling through my purse to make sure I have the right keys. Being a facilities coordinator for two Parks and Rec. tennis centers means my key ring weighs almost as much as the custodian’s.
On my way to the door I notice Dakota, one of our Doberman’s, on her leash. She’s sitting in front of the door waiting. I guess Laney’s not taking any chances. A few weeks ago, one Sunday evening, approximately 90 minutes after my friend Sarah and her crew left the place, a carjacking occurred in the middle of Tattnall's parking lot. The poor man was shot in the stomach. He survived, last I heard.
“A gun and a Doberman,” I say while walking out the door. “No one’s messing with us.”
Laney and I make jokes about the consequences of anyone who dares to approach two ladies, a firearm and a canine. We settle Dakota into the back seat of the Toyota Avalon. Still joking, we hop into the front seat. “Wait, times…” Laney says, still using her little girl voice. “Where’s the Beretta?”
“What?” I ask. "What do you mean, ‘where’s the Beretta?'”
“Oh, un-times...here it is,” she says, flashing me a smile. 'Very funny,' I think. She puts the loaded gun in the middle console.
Dakota isn’t used to traveling. Unlike the husky and boxer/mastiff who love loading up and heading to Tennessee, neither of the Dobermans ride often. Dakota looks nervous and won’t lie down.
Arriving at Tattnall we jump out of the car, grab Dakota. Laney has the Beretta by her side, cutting her eyes left and right the entire walk from parking lot to front door.
“Do you want me to grab her leash?”
“Nah, if anyone comes up, I’ll probably just drop it and let her go to town.” Like she’s an experienced attack dog. While protective, Dakota’s never had to actually prove herself. I’m not really afraid, maybe a little uneasy. If anything, the presence of the gun and dog underscore my uncomfortable-ness rather than eliminating it; both blatant reminders of human ugliness. Well, okay, Dakota’s not ugly, but…you know what I mean.
Dakota keeps my pace as I hurry, jamming the key in the instant I reach the door. The SUV in the parking lot pulls out, thank goodness.
All’s well that ends well. Dakota proved model. She wore a proud almost smile on her muzzle when she jumped back into the Avalon. Laney and I pat her while cooing words of approval. I watch as Laney puts the gun back in the console. I learned how to shoot a gun when I was 19. But, by the time I turned 20, I was pregnant with my first child. I never touched one after that. Laney carries pepper spray and key chain knuckle weights for protection. She owns a gun and practices shooting it.
When I was 20, I never even thought about self-defense...I wonder what the world will bring when Aedan, my new grandson, grows up.