My aim -

I'm trying to be accurate here. The first time the police came -

By this I mean the first time the cops came as it relates to how everything ends. I was sitting in the backyard in my beach chair in my boxers with my BB rifle across my knees, resting on my lap. At first there were only two cops. You should know that these were Darlington police officers, dedicated small-town men, men from hard-working families, families with the best of intentions, families of limited means, church-going types who voted for George Bush. Twice. Families that didn't have health insurance.

Both officers wore blue, well-pressed uniforms as did the back-up cops. But these two - unlike the other four who charged toward me a couple of minutes later -- these two wore glasses, thick ones, the kind of glasses prescribed to people who have lived most of their life with limited means and minimal health care.

When I heard the first cop's voice, I was calculating the distance between myself and the five mockingbirds in the fig tree. His name was Ed. We'd met a few years earlier, after my trip to the dentist's office. Ed said, "Mr. Case." He said it like the answer to a question.

I turned to look. The cops' thick lenses reflected the red summer sunset like four lasers. I instinctively reached for my BB gun.