I didn’t read what was written on the box when first I saw it; the colour was all that had caught my attention. Can’t say I know why, but the first thing I did was give it a nudge with the toe of my right boot. I was feeling a little bit blue and lethargic, so maybe that’s all there was to it. I took another bite from my sausage roll at any rate, leaned back against the side of my car, and gazed half-heartedly over the trees in the valley. From here I can see the river I ran away from home to when I was 15 and camped beside for 12 days before calling home and bribing Mum to not make me go back to school if she wanted to see me again. My stepdad and Mum drove up from Sydney to collect me that evening. To think… just next week I’ll turn 46, I thought to myself, and found my eyes down in the grass at my feet and lazily scanning that box again.
T22 Cartridges, I read to myself. Nothing remarkable dawned on me. Not like any printer cartridge I’ve seen before, but meh. Screwed up my sausage roll paper bag, sipped the last from my coffee, stepped forward to pick up the box to put in the bin with my rubbish. Within the few seconds between reaching down, reading Winchester, and seeing the glint of the brass, I was fully upright and taking a cautious step back.
Seems a bit silly now, really. When I was 14 I used to buy firecrackers from the milk bar, take them deep into the storm water drain near Panania tip, and explode them. Now here I was, rushing adrenaline, concerned that this box of unspent ammo might explode in my hand and take 50 holes out of me.
By the time I was climbing the steps up to the local police station door, hiding the bullets from view with my left hand tucked deep in my jacket pocket, I was fighting the urge to turn back to my car and keep them.