Sunday, January 27, 2008

Arms and the Armed Man

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. Outside Myopic Mike's Precision Rifle Range and Gun Shop. 1300 hrs.
A mercenary's arsenal of firearms is like an Asian's car--sure, you can function without it, but how are you gonna kill people? I had spent the previous evening cataloging my personal weapons cache and wasn't happy with the results.
I have two water guns which I fill with urine--one with my own and the other from a donor. They're great for blinding your enemy but sometimes a bit more is required. I also have the shotgun I acquired in typical mercenary fashion--I took it off a dead man. I'm sure Grandpa understands. And I have seven knives, but that's two less than the experts at Soldier of Fortune suggest you carry for everyday protection.
And that's it. I've not been allowed to purchase any guns since that incident at Chuck E. Cheese seven years ago, and the lack of firepower has seriously hindered my ability to perform as a merc.
But now I had hope. I had just received a letter from my attorney letting me know I was authorized to go out in public without the genital bracelet, and I hoped my firearms ban had ended as well.
I parked my mom's car outside Myopic Mike's and headed in with a very large purchase in mind.

Myopic Mike's Precision Rifle Range and Gun Shop. 1305 hrs.
"Howdy, Mike!" I said, walking up to the counter. I was a regular visitor, stopping by often to oggle the guns behind the counter.
Mike squinted at me behind thick, almost-opaque glasses. "Aunt Stella?"
"No, it's me, Randy McFab."
"Oh." His face fell. "I guess you want to talk guns."
"No Mike, this time I want to buy guns!"
"Well..." He looked at his watch, holding it mere millimeters from his face. "I was gonna hit the rifle range for some shooting, Randy."
At that, a stream of men poured out from the door to the range.
"Just taking a break!" one of the men said. "You've got it all to yourself, Mike!"
"Why do you all always leave when I want to shoot?" Mike asked, addressing a display of hunting jackets on the sales floor.
"Don't worry about it," I said. "I really do have money this time."
"No, not Costa Rican postage stamps. This is real money." I fanned a wad of cash close enough to his eyes for him to see it. "My momma sued Mountain Dew on account of it making me Republican. I've got some spending money now."
"Well, alright then..." Mike gestured towards the gleaming steel displayed on the wall behind him. "What do you want? That Remington 700 you keep asking about? Larry Pitts down at the Circuit City swears he hit a gnat at 1000 yards with one the other day...'Course, the gnat was on a horse's abdomen..."
"Nah, Mike. I need concealed carry." I pointed at a .44 magnum revolver with an eight-inch barrel in the case between us. "Something small," I said. "A pea-shooter."
"Great!" He took the pistol out of the case and handed it to me. The grip felt like warm bone in my hand, and I could almost taste the gore this piece could create.
"I'll need hollow-points, of course," I said.
"Sure, won't be much use without it." He turned towards a computer terminal on the counter. "I just need to run a quick check...Liberal law, you know..."
"No problem," I beamed, my genitals riding free in my BDU trousers.
"Just need your driver's license."
"Yessir," I said, handing him my learner's permit.
He eyed it carefully. "You're...You're forty-two, aren't you?"
"Yes. I had a regular license, but then I ate some mushrooms a few years ago and forgot how to drive. Minor thing really, they're fixing it."
"Alright. Be just a couple minutes." He typed into the the terminal, and I walked around to check out the merchandise in the rest of the store.
They had some good stuff. For hunters like me they stocked both Uncle Jon's Old-Timey Deer Poison and Boar in Heat Sportsman's Cologne. For personal protection, they carried armor-penetrating ammo and other necessities like Israeli-issued gas masks. Damn, I'd have to come back with more money.
"Um...Randy?" Mike was calling from the counter.
"Yes? Do you need my holster size?"
"No, Randy, the...the background check came back, uh..."
Shit. "What, is there a waiting period?"
"Well, no, it..." He pulled a printout from the computer station, folding the twenty or so pages into a neat stack. "It says..." He put his nose right on the paper, reading carefully. "It says...'No fucking way.' Then it says that again. For twenty pages."
Damn damn damn! "It doesn't say why?"
"No, but..." He squinted at the printout. "There's a note from the head of the ATF...Just says 'You've got to be fucking kidding me.'"
So. That's how it was. Despite the Second Amendment, a patriot can't bear arms if said patriot has committed a few gun-related felonies. The liberals win again.
"Have you seen this, though?" Mike asked, and produced a large purple-and-yellow plastic rifle from behind the counter. "This is the Super Soaker 9000," he said. "You fill this baby with urine, and..."
"You had me at urine," I said, and handed him the cash.