The Perfect Shot

Excellence In Writing Award in the 'Horizon of Dreams 2018' competition

With her camera slung around her neck, she looked around the dingy bar. There was nothing photogenic about it. Wooden panels ran along the walls, the mould highlighted by the sunlight streaming through the only window placed high on the ceiling.
“I know a thing or two about taking the perfect shot,” he remarked.
Looking down at her camera, and then back to the stranger sitting on the stool a few feet across from her, she knew she’d found another photographer.
“It’s all about the angle, isn’t it, love,” the male stranger uttered.
He had a worn face, wrinkles and bushy eyebrows. His eyes were sloped downwards. If people were colours, he would be grey. There was something about him that was simply... miserable.
“Yeah, the angle of the shots is really important.”
“And focus. Focus is crucial,” he added.
“Agreed, focus is critical, especially if you want sharpness to surround your focal point.”
He looked confused for a moment, like he questioned the words she was saying. She’d figured that perhaps he hadn’t studied photography in college like she had.
“One moment of shakiness and the shot is ruined, right, love?”
“A steady hand is vital.”
“Well, what about reflexes?” the man challenged, tilting his body towards her.
“Having a reflex camera is really useful to me.”
He screwed his face up in what appeared to be another bout of complete confusion. She had an odd feeling about him. His piercing gaze left her and drifted to the bartender, who was staring intently into his cell phone, thumbs scrolling overtime through what seemed to be an endless stream of digitalised nonsense.
She knew he must have been an amateur photographer, he seemed to have barely any knowledge of photography. Knowing she’d be unable to have a deep conversation regarding the finer points of saturation or overexposure, yet still keen to break the silence, she decided to engage in more conversation with the mysterious man.
“So, you into photography yourself?”
Returning his gaze to her, he cocked his head to one side, indicating that he misunderstood her question. Gesturing to the impressively sized camera hanging off her shoulders on a brown leather strap, she hoped he’d take the hint.
“Photography?”
She now felt frustrated with the stranger she’d quickly grown to dislike. He didn’t seem to be worth any of her time.
“You know, how we’ve been talking about taking a perfect shot?”
Trailing off at the end of her sentence, she fought back the urge to roll her eyes out of pure impatience.
“Oh, you’ve got me wrong, love,” he answered, a slightly amused tone filling his words. A wry smile crossed his face; “The only shots I take are the ones directed at the enemy. I’m a sniper.”

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