I shake my head, brunette ringlets bounce. “No, Uncle Simon.”
He wraps my small hand around the handle of the Glock. It's almost too heavy. My uncle lifts the barrel to the Italian's sweaty head, presses the metal to his skin.`
“That's right.” He lets go of the gun. I grip the base of the handle with my other hand, just like he showed me, and I hold steady. The Italian sobs and begs for his life. His head bobs up and down and he wiggles on his knees. I keep the gun steady. Uncle Simon stands up and takes a step back, ruffling my hair.
“Remember what I taught you, Caralee,” he says. “Slow breaths, steady hands. Whenever you're ready.”
I nod and count.
I pull the trigger, the Italian's head explodes. Red and brown bits of brain on red and brown dirt. I flick the safety on the gun, like Uncle Simon showed me, and I step back.
“Well done, sweetheart,” Uncle Simon says. “Go wash your hands, then you may have some ice cream. You earned it.”
I've just killed my first man.
I am eight years old.