A young man blocked a doorway with the door partially open. When he saw I wanted by, yet refused to yield, I waited a little longer then made an obviously playful gesture: I pretended I was going to shut the door on him.
“Dude, I’m half your age-”
His first mistake.
Panic spread across my friend Mike the Marine’s face. Let it go, his eyes shouted to me. Just walk away.
“- and I’ve been shot before.” The kid emphasized the word shot, then waited as if the matter between us was now closed, resolved in his favor.
His second mistake.
“Shot?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He lifted his shirt to reveal a scar about the size of a pencil eraser just below his sternum, dead center of the celiac plexus.
“Really.” I said softly.
“I see.” I looked up from his scar and into his eyes. “Well, I’ve been shot, too.”
Without blinking, I slowly began to raise my shirt and revealed an entry scar. I raised my shirt higher and revealed another. Then another. And another, still. All stragglers that had spread from the main cluster.
When the fist-sized main scar was unveiled, the color ran from the kid’s face.
I turned to show the exit wounds, and when I turned back, the kid was gone.