Teresa Ovalle

Welcome to Me

Empowerment Through Practice – Peata Riley

on December 14, 2015

“Load five rounds into your magazine, Peata,” says Q.

I’m nervous, but I’m confident. Q taught me everything I need to know, so now is the time to put it all together. I load five rounds and wait for Q’s next command.

“Load, “ says Q.

I pick up my gun with my strong hand (right) and settle the v of my hand high into the back strap. My fingers wrap firmly around the pistol grip and I point my finger up and off from the trigger. I load the magazine into the magazine well.


“Make ready,” says Q.

I yank the slide back quickly with my weak hand and let the full weight of the spring seat the round firmly in the barrel. My gun is loaded.

“Wholly crap! I have a loaded gun in my hand!” I say to myself. “Don’t let Q see you nervous. And remember to breathe. Breathe.”

“Fire when ready,” says Q.

My feet are shoulder width apart. My weak leg is slightly forward, which gives me a slight tilt forward from the waist. My back is straight. I feel good.

I put my weak-side palm on the gun, nestling my thumbs as I wrap my fingers around the front of the gun over the top of my strong-side fingers already in place. I hold firm, but not too tight. If I hold it too tight, I will shake. I don’t want that. I want an even, firm grip.

My arms are straight, and out in front of me; my gun is at eye level, pointed at my target down range. I focus on the front site. I breath in and exhale out. At the end of my breath, I pause and begin to slowly pull the trigger to the rear.

“Steady, Peata. Steady. Steady. Steady,” I say to myself through the full length of the trigger pull until BANG!

I keep a firm grip on the pistol as my body moves with the recoil of the gun. I follow through by setting up my next shot to be as well placed as the first. I focus on the sites, trigger and breathing. I can take the shot. Or not. I chose not to. I want to see how I did.

I hit the X in the center of the target.

I look over my shoulder at Q for encouragement. He nods at me to keep firing.

Four shots later, I hit the magazine release and let the magazine fall to the ground. I tip my gun forward to check the barrel; I tilt it back to check the magazine well. All clear. I put the gun down, pointed in a safe direction.

“Wow, Peata. You can hit the broad side of a hay bale,” remarks Q in his sarcastic tone. “Not bad for a poetaster.”

“A what?” I ask.

“A bad poet,” says Q. “Telling you, you shoot like a girl is a cliche. I thought I would be clever.”

“There is a fine line between clever and stupid, Q,” I say.

“Load five more rounds, Peata,” Q says, ignoring my comment. “Let’s get as much practice in before the sun goes down. We’re far from the hamlet and I want to ensure we’re back before dark.”

I load five more rounds and begin to feel empowerment sneak in around me. I’m holding a powerful tool that I am learning to handle and shoot well. With every well-placed round, the feeling grows. Not every shot is well placed, mind you, but most of them are. I feel good. I feel dang good.

Peata Riley is a fictional character who lives in the future. Peata is the vehicle the author uses to spin a tale of common threads separated by temporal dimensions.  Enjoy.