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Hemingway Adventure

Chicago, Illinois (second day)

Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureFollowing the advice of my friend in Indian River I check the Chicago Yellow Pages for a gun range. This being the city of Al Capone, there’s quite a choice.

With the help of a latter-day James Bond by the name of Peter Thomas (futures trader, weapon trainer to the stars, deep-sea diver, etc.) we select a place up by the airport.

It’s a gun shop and shooting range combined. The shop appears to be run by two Labrador dogs, one cream, one chocolate, who tumble over each other in vaguely amorous fashion beside a display of holsters and magazine extensions.

There are two people ahead of us, waiting to be served. He is big, and sports Ray-Bans, a pony-tail and a sweat-stained bandanna. She is very big and dressed in black.
Attached to the wall behind the counter are newspaper clippings, with gung-ho headlines like ‘Gun Control Wrecked’, ‘Gun Control Dealt A Blow’, ‘More Women Packing Pistols’. Some of them look very old.

The wall suddenly reveals itself to be a door from which another very large person waddles out. I feel like Gandhi in here. He appears to be the owner, and approaches the waiting couple.

‘Yep?’

‘We need ammo and targets. We need four number 9 and four number 2.’

I try to sound equally nonchalant when it’s our turn to order but when it comes to targets I’m a bit nonplussed. The owner shows me three black silhouette shapes to choose from. One is that of a hooded gunman, another a thick-set bad guy with oddly creased trousers and the third, unbelievably, is a fat lady.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Chicago, Illinois (second day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Chicago, Illinois
  • Book page no: 37

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