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Hemingway Adventure

Chicago, Illinois (second day)

Chicago, Illinois, USA 
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The targets a little later.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureHe lays them out and folds his arms.

‘Pick your offender,’ he says, without a smile.

I choose the hooded gunman, and he takes me through into a small space at the back of the shop with a stained plaster-board ceiling, a big Coke machine and piles of reading matter ranging from Shooting Times to Handguns Magazine (‘Modernised Hi-Power from Bulgaria’), and the more academic Firearms Journal. This last has an advert for a Hemingway bush jacket, and a picture of bearded Ernest clutching a rifle and smiling contentedly. This seems too good to be true. My reason for being here summed up in one advert.

There is a rending crackle of fire from the range next door. A hail of bullets, a grunt of satisfaction then silence. The owner comes through to tell me the second range is ready, and we move through. I’m on my own but it still feels very claustrophobic. Peter has set up the target and appears in the booth with ear protectors and a selection of weapons.

‘See which suits you best,’ he suggests.

‘What do you recommend?’ I ask, trying to sound like a contract killer, rather than someone buying toothpaste.

The first gun he shows me is a .22 pistol. I step into the booth and take up position. Front foot forward taking the weight, arms straight, left hand on wrist to steady my aim. Just like the movies. He arms the weapon, calls out a warning and tells me to fire in my own time. Nice and relaxed.
Chicago, Illinois, USA 
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Chicago, Illinois (second day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Chicago, Illinois
  • Book page no: 38

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