In which our intrepid hero relates a tale from his family’s murky past.

One of the enduring tales in my family is that of Fred, an adopted uncle who was killed whilst cleaning his rifle. Recent events may or may not shed light on his demise.

It seems that Fred was a keen hunter, and often took his dogs with him in pursuit of prey. It also seems that he forgot to eject the round he had in the chamber before he started cleaning the barrel. Thus, one of his dogs sees him with the rifle, thinks they’re going hunting, gets excited and jumps into his lap, catching its paw in the trigger guard and painting the nearby area with Fred’s brains.

All this time, I thought that the story of Fred and his dogs was a particularly poorly contrived cover story to conceal Fred’s suicide. On the other hand, my family life is strange enough that something like this could plausibly occur. To further the case, something very similar happened last week in Bulgaria.

Tall tales are quite common in my extended family, but often I find that the stranger ones are the most accurate. It could well be that Fred died by misadventure at the paws of his favourite dog, after all.

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