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As you go through life you seem to learn with each and every year what is more important than what was important the year earlier and so forth and so on. One of the greatest tests of time is friendship, not just knowing someone and considering them your friend, but another type of friend. A friend that you still have a great fondness for, a friend who may have wronged you or someone you love, but can be forgiven due to the deepness of the friendship.

Years ago while moving to another part of the state, I met an individual who was to be my neighbor and at that time thought he would just be an acquaintance that I would see from time to time. I was fortunate to move into the apartment on Saturday and had Sunday to rest and get to know my neighbor, who we’ll call Harold. We became close friends and after about a week I met his brother and the three of us became inseparable. We had so many things in common and just sitting around the kitchen table talking about guns and knives on a Friday night was something to look forward to. We often would take his 4×4 up one of the mountains and set up targets for long range shooting or attach beer bottle tops to a board and watch his brother, who we’ll call Robert (who was a formal Army marksman) pop each one from about 50 yards with iron sights.

As the years quickly passed I took another job a couple hundred miles away and married. Harold also moved out of the apartment and bought a house and married, and then divorced. You would have to know Harold, he had a certain way about him that didn’t include marriage. As the area where we all had been very close friends became less desirable for jobs, Robert decided to head toward Michigan to work in manufacturing. Robert started off well and soon found himself with a nice piece of property in the country with a beautiful lake surrounding his home. Whatever job Robert worked he did very well. He was a hard worker, who never complained, but soon jobs began to end and factory work moved out of the United States. Robert quickly became in debt and had started hanging with the wrong type people.

This is actually where the story begins. Harold and I had begun talking again once I found he was still living in the same place and I had called him to see if he wanted to attend a gun show with me. It didn’t take long before Harold and I were just as close as we ever were. Harold called me one weekend and, knowing him very well, I could tell something was troubling him very bad. He didn’t want to talk about it on the telephone, so I invited him up and once he told me the story that involved Robert, we decided to make a trip to see him. Since it was Friday night we decided to sleep until about 3:00 AM and then leave, arriving about 8:00 AM catching Robert sleeping.

When we arrived Robert had left the night before and was not answering his cellphone. Our plan was to hang out at his house until he came back. Robert had become caught up with methamphetamine and was not only smoking it, but was also involved in the manufacture. We knew if we could talk to him and explain that a job was waiting for him back home making a good living he would come home with us and sell his property that had become just a liability.

Before we began our trip I asked Harold if he was taking anything for protection and he had checked Michigan gun laws and said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea. Although Harold had said that, I pulled my North American Arms .22 Mag Pug out of the safe and quickly put it in my right hand pocket. Normally I carry a Kimber Pro .45ACP and an extra magazine, but this would be too hard to conceal from Harold, who I know would make me put it back.

We had been there for about four hours when a car with two long-haired guys pulled up into the driveway. Harold looks a lot like Robert and one of the guys yelled for Harold (thinking he was Robert) to come over to his car. Harold yelled out my side window that he wasn’t Robert, that he was his brother Harold. The guys appeared drunk and high. The other guy said that Robert owed him some money and he was there to collect and since Robert wasn’t home, maybe he could pay him and get the money back from Robert. Harold told him that he was expecting Robert back too and needed to talk to him as well, and that if Robert owed him the money then Robert would be the one to pay him. The guys grumbled something and said they would be back in a little while and would expect their money.

As the temperature began to rise, we decided to get out of the car and sit in two folding chairs in front of a garage that was not attached to the house. This way we could see someone coming down the driveway before they could see us. A few minutes later we noticed the same car getting ready to make the turn into the driveway and come down towards Robert’s house. By the sound of the car revving their engine once they had put it in park, we knew something wasn’t quite right. The guy who had called Harold Robert began to get out of his car with a metal baseball bat. We didn’t have time to get to the car, and he started to rant and rave over this money that he said was owed him. I pulled the Pug from its inside-the-pocket holster and cocked it. I told him that Harold was not Robert and he wasn’t getting any money from either of us. After he saw the gun and looked at the baseball bat, he began to say things like sorry dudes, been a bad night, lost a ton of money playing cards and need some sleep. About that time he backed toward his car and slowly backed out of the driveway.

We waited on Robert to return home and at 8:00 PM decided that he was going to be a “no-show.” On the way back I asked Harold if he was mad because I brought my NAA Pug with me and he had one thing to say, “Where can I get one of those?” As far as Robert goes, we are planning another trip and hope this one is much more favorable.

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