by Hal Swift
Jim Landis and me were takin' a ride
in his just-bought pickup truck.
"I bought an antique rifle, too." he says.
"I can hardly believe my luck.
"It's an eighteen-sixty-six Winchester model,
the one with engraving," he said.
"That must've cost you a dollar or two,"
I says, as I shake my head.
"Well," he says, "It cost more'n this pickup,
but it's worth ever' doggone cent.
I borrowed on the truck to pay for the rifle,
so my bank account ain't that bent.
"The rifle," he says, "has never been fired,
which is why it's such a great buy.
It's just like the day it came outta the factory.
That's why its value's so high.
"You bought you a rifle, and won't ever shoot it?"
I says, as my voice nearly fails.
"If I shot it," says Jim, "I might as well use it
as a hammer for poundin' in nails."
"If I were you," I said, "I'd make sure that rifle
gets only the greatest of care."
"It's on the wall," Jim says, "above the fireplace.
Nobody will bother it there."
At Jim's ranch, we go inside through the kitchen
where Cookie is busy cookin'.
We go into the parlor, and Jim stands there,
just scratchin' his head and lookin'.
There's a look of puzzlement on his face
as he stares at the fireplace wall.
The Winchester's gone, and there ain't nothin'
over the fireplace at all.
"If that rifle is stolen," Jim declares,
"I'll see that the thief gets caught!"
Then he hollers out loud, "Has anyone seen
the rifle that I just bought?"
Cookie comes in and says, "Yeah, I seen 'er,
but she shot to the left a bit.
So I cleaned 'er up, and zeroed 'er in,
an' what y'aim at now, you hit!"
From my friend