THE JIG'S UP. No longer can I shoot to kill. Somewhere back there (out beyond the back seat of Granddaddy's Studebaker, through the back windshield, past the back yard, over the back fence, in a back lot with a brick wall and a barrel, a pyramid of tin cans) I learned how to line up the perforation in my iris with the crosshair on the muzzle so the target cannot break my distant grip. I learned how to squeeze, not pull the trigger so my own movement can barely affect the tenuous air. I learned the hand-eye-mind talent of following flight of bird, man, or a flailing tin can moments earlier released from Granddaddy's frail hand. It's a primal genius, before language but matching the ingenuity of modern physics: an object, inanimate or not, reaches some moment at the top of its arc, the fury of escape--in any case mid-trajectory--when it pauses in utter, unsuspecting stillness.
Precede this moment with a clean shot and you have your kill.
If I can eschew that accuracy for another forty-eight days I'll have ended my service on honorable terms.