Gun Pointed At My Head

Waimea Canyon
Kauai, Hawaii

While hiking through the thick vegetation, I admired the canyon’s
colorful rock strata as it decorated the canyon walls. When I came to
a solitary picnic table situated in a clearing, I did not hesitate to
take a load off. The sun was setting, so the softening colors made the
spectacle of the canyon walls even more beautiful. Fortunately, I had
remembered to pack in a couple of beers. “No time like the present,” I
thought. While drinking my first beer, I saw three mountain goats
moving up along one of the canyon ridges. While drinking my second
beer, I found out that those goats were not a protected species.

Seven male teenage boys passed by my picnic table about twenty yards
from where I was sitting. I nodded my head at them, but no
acknowledgment was given back. By the expressions on their faces, I
could tell that they were not happy to see me. They kept walking
single file along the path. Three of them were carrying rifles. After
the front of the line had passed by me, and just when I started to
breathe again, the kid second from the rear stopped and stared at me.
When he stopped everybody stopped. He couldn’t have been a day over
twelve years old. He looked at me and said, “What the fuck are you
doing here?” The whole group was looking straight at me when I said,
“I’m here to see the canyon.” “The canyon is ours,” the kid replied,
“and we don’t like your kind in our canyon.” I didn’t know what to
say. I just looked at them and said, “I’m sorry.” The kid put his
rifle to his shoulder and drew a bead on my head. I didn’t say a word,
but I never took my eyes off his face. Nobody moved. After some very,
very, tense moment(s), the kid turned his rifle thirty degrees off
center and fired into the bush. I didn’t flinch. Everybody started
laughing; that is, everybody but me. Giggling and smiling, the seven
mokes disappeared down the path and into the jungle. It was already
getting dark, so I retreated to a safe place to camp.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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4 Responses to Gun Pointed At My Head

  1. You just brought me back to the two Summers I spent in Kauai. A magical place I will return to but, away from the tourist hangouts, I often felt unwelcome. It made me sad and resentful of the mansions and movie shoots and of everyone who goes and forgets to scratch beneath the surface. I realize it’s a much more complex issue but it’s a shame that such beauty has been tainted with regrets and resentment.

  2. Angel says:

    Oh my! That story is frightening.

  3. eof737 says:

    What a harrowing story… This has been a difficult read about a place we all imagine as gorgeous and serene… but that is life.

  4. bwinwnbwi says:

    At the time, I thought it was the end for me, but then again, I never thought I would live past thirty anyway. That was life “back in the day” for people like me. Also, as far as having the experience of beauty tainted with remorse and regret (since I’m still here to indulge myself with these memories) I am jubilant-I have no regrets! I do appreciate the comments, though!

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