Guns and Elephants

Back in the early 00s my godson Fast Eddie Silver came out to Thailand with his mother. I was looking forward to seeing the 12 year-old. His late father was one of my best friends.

I took them to Koh Samet and Bangkok, but my best photo of Eddie was taken at the Elephant Camp south of Jomtien. We rode the pachyderms through the coconut trees and fed them bananas before entering the gun range to shoot at paper targets. My choice was a 44 Magnum. Eddie liked the Glock.

We shot two clips each.

“You’re crazy.”

His mother disapproved of guns, but she was particularly angered by the location of the shooting range next to the elephants’ kraal.

“Guns and elephants. What do you think the elephants think about hearing those shots?”

“They seem okay with it.”

I looked out the door. The Thai mahouts were lounging peacefully atop their changs. The elephants showed no sign of alarm, as other tourists banged away at the targets. Most of them missed the bull’s eyes by feet. Eddie hit the target every shot.


Sara was pissed at us.

“It’s not like these guns can hurt them.”

.50 caliber bullets from a elephant gun might spook them, but the giant creatures were basically impervious to the under-powered bullets of the shooting range.

“What if one of the elephants was shooting at you?”

“I don’t think they could hold this pistol.”

Eddie lowered his rented weapon onto the table after cocking the chamber to check if the pistol was empty.

“Probably have to built them a cannon gun.”

“And they pull the trigger with their trunk.”

Elephants chasing you with a cannon was a scary thought.

I put down my gun too.

Sara had a good point.

Riling an elephant was a bad idea.

Almost as bad as pissing of a woman, but I would risk my chances with an amok elephant than a mad woman any day of the week.

And most nights too.

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