The Amateur

The next day I tried to figure out if I should go to work or not.

It was well past the time I normally arrive when I thought to call. The woman in Human Resources was a little emotional about the whole thing, and initially wasn't much help.

I asked her what the normal procedure was, and what the normal time off for the death of a spouse was, and she had no idea, but tried to look it up in her manual.

Eventually, she suggested two weeks, but seemed quite uncertain, and seemed to want to leave the decision up to me.

I said two weeks should be fine.

It wasn't much later when the bell rang. At the door were detective Murphy, and a uniformed officer. I ushered them in.

"I have a warrant to search for firearms." was the first thing he said.

The other fellow was standing very erect, looking officious, and looked around the room at everything but me. The detective, on the other hand, never took his eyes off mine.

"I have the collection pieces in the cabinet," I said, "and a few others in the closet. I'll get the key to the case."

I walked into the bedroom. The officer walked close behind me. I got the key from my sock drawer, and handed it to him. He waited for me to leave the room first, and followed.

"Oh, I have a list of all of them, for the insurance company." I said, when we were back in the living room. "It's on the computer, but there's a printout in the safe. Would you like the list?"

The detective said yes, and I hesitated for a moment, trying to figure out which was faster, finding the list on the computer, or finding the combination to the safe. Since the combination was also on the computer, I walked to the den. The officer was on my heels again, and watched as I sat down and searched for the file. I found it after a while, and printed out two copies.

"One for each of you." I said, and handed them to each.

We walked back into the living room, and the officer opened the gun case.

"Did you find the bullet?" I asked the detective. He looked at me for a while before answering. "Yes." he said. I waited for more, and he finally said, "It was a 7.62 mm NATO round."

He studied me as I took in the information. There was another pause. "It was steel-core SVD."

I looked at him, puzzled. He looked back. "Yes?" he said, inquiring about my puzzlement.

"An SVD is not a NATO round." I said. "It's usually used in a Dragunov."

He looked at me, at the display case, then at the list. "Do you own one of those?" he asked.

I explained that I shoot .22 rimfire smallbore in Three Position competitions. Iron sight, no scopes. If I did shoot a centerfire, it would be an L115A .338, like the one Dan Edwards had down at the club, not some Russian or Chinese weapon. Now there's a nice piece of machinery. Much too loud for me though.

We found all the items on the list, but the detective called for more help, and a bunch of them went through the house thoroughly, under the house, in the attic, waving metal detectors over the walls. They had me open the safe. They took all of the ammunition boxes.

A fellow with a clipboard and a list had me sign for the items, and said they'd be returned later "unless...". He didn't explain further, and I didn't ask.