“You have got to get outta the house,” Crystal said.
Seven days after minor surgery, Crystal wanted him to get out of the house. She loved him but his inability to sit still was causing her stress. Additionally, Cree’s frustration at not being able to help around the house made him irritable. Then, his phone began dinging, as he read the incoming texts, his face brightened a little.
After a few minutes of texting back and forth, Cree announced that he was going to hang out with the girls.
“Good, just don’t push yourself,” Crystal warned, knowing full well he probably would.
“I’ll just sit in the lobby and say hi as they come in,” Cree assured her.
“Yeah, sure you will.”
As Cree sat waiting for his friends to arrive, he heard a familiar voice behind him. “LIZ!” he said, excitedly, if tired.
“How’re you feeling?” Liz asked, giving Cree a big hug.
“I’m a little tired and sore,” Cree said, placing his hand on his lower abdomen. “It especially hurts here.” He sat down again.
No sooner had he sat down than Teresa and Tammie walked in together. He didn’t bother standing to greet them, still recovering from saying hi to Liz. However, as they said hello, Tammie handed Cree a silky black shirt. Cree excitedly held it up for inspection, and with a burst of excitement, excused himself to the restroom to change.
“Look at you!” Tammie mouthed as Cree came out wearing the custom embroidered Pistol Packing Ladies instructor shirt.
Teresa was talking to someone new about something that’d happened last week. So, Cree bypassed her and gave Tammy a side hug whispering thank you as he straightened up and immediately sat back down.
“You like it?” Tammie asked rhetorically, smiling at Cree’s yes ma’am response.
As Cree sat there, he realized that the woman Teresa was talking to felt nervous around the sound of gunfire. Since he could vividly remember the sheer panic and anxiety rounds exploding around him had caused, he felt a little twinge of wanting to help. Before he knew it, he’d borrowed a pair of protective glasses from Liz, and a pair of ear-pro from the range owner.
“Hi, I’m Cree.”
“I’m Michelle,” the woman replied politely.
“Would you like a little help relaxing?”
“Yes please,” Michelle said cautiously.
“Okay, well, something I learned when I was in Afghanistan was a little breathing trick,” Cree said, demonstrating as he explained. “Breath in for four counts, hold it, out for four counts, hold it.” He used his fingers to count as they did it together. “Okay, let’s give it a shot!” Cree said shamelessly.
“She’ll take good care of you,” Teresa reassured Michelle as they moved towards the door.
They went through the man-trap, and Cree allowed Michelle to settle down at her target point. Then, he came up behind her and began talking as he helped her load her first magazine, showing her how to use the speed loader.
“What are the fundamentals?” Cree asked, and listened intently as Michelle recited the basics. “Okay, so let’s see what you can do. Slam the magazine in, then rack the slide back and let it go.”
Michelle followed the instructions, seemingly forgetting the loud pops around her for a moment. Then, she moved held the firearm up, and looked at the back of it. “Now, make a castle… the site posts are the towers, and you need to line them all up, making them the same height.” Michelle nodded understanding, as Cree continued talking in a calm voice. “Focus on the middle tower, the front sight post, and allow the target to become a blur behind it.” Michelle adjusted her position slightly and took a few shallow breaths.
“Focus on your breathing and where your middle tower is as you pull the trigger back smooth as silk. The front site, breath, front site, breath.” Cree kept repeating the last two instructions until BANG! “Let the gun go bang.”
“Look at that! You hit the zombie right on the nose! Do it again.”
Cree continued encouraging her until the last three magazines. Then, Michelle got a little ambitious.
“Left ear,” Michelle said, emptying her magazine in a circle around the zombie’s left ear.
BANG, BANG, BANG!
“Skull pin on the collar.”
BANG, BANG, BANG!
Cree brought in the target after the last shot and gave Michelle double high-fives. Granted, he had to point out the tight groups around her target spots.
“Are you sure this is only your second time?”