These bar stories are a dime a dozen. Why must a story always pass thru a saloon? What’s the big deal about having a drink? And why are these men having one, two, whatever number, before noon? Everyone except Ted Newscent, who is now sitting in the back corner with his back to the wall, sober, playing a tune.
And I ~ I don’t have a drink either. The bartender returns from the cellar, passes out ammo. He looks up from his task, spies the spy who is standing under the bird cage dome forlornly scratching his head and picking his nose.
“What are you doing here?” asks the bartender.
Momentarily I ignore the bartender. I’m wondering what happened to my hat. It’s not on my head. I look around. It’s on the floor next to my foot. Humph. I pick up old faithful, slam it on top of where it belongs & finally peer back at the bartender. “I’m looking for a rest room,” says I.
That’s an obvious lie. But then, I was lying too. Suddenly I am in an unforgiving mood ~ perhaps a suicidal mood ~ seeing as everyone is loading AR-15 like conglomerates, like they’re heading out on a mission to destroy the federal government and I’m in the way. I clear my throat, try to talk, but only a tweet comes out ~ like I’m a bird ~ prey for the big wooden eagle perched in the bird-cage dome above my head. I clear my throat again & loudly, successfully, proclaim, “You men are breaking the law!”
This gets everybody’s attention. The place is suddenly quiet but for a low slow twanging in the rear corner. Then that dies. And then it’s too quiet.
I especially don’t like the look Wayne Peeintheair is giving me. He’s a confident man with bodyguards. But he’s a crazy man too ~ crazy enough to dress up like a clown and hand out loaded derringers to kids on the street. He is definitely in the midst of a nervous breakdown. I can tell by the way he is twitching. The whole right side of his body is a consistent jerk. His askew hair is covering one eye. His other eye is the evil eye. The glare of this evil eye never wavers, never ceases. I am the target.
“What stops a bad man with a gun?” hollers Peeintheair.
“A good man with a gun!” everyone hollers back. Everyone is grinning, especially the goofy old guitar player in the back corner. Everyone except me.
So I grin back at the evil eye. It’s a formaldehyde-stiff dead man’s grin ~ but a grin nevertheless ~ something I learned to do in an earlier lifetime on the frontier when I was Davy Crockett, with just a knife, facing a bear. But now I am unarmed ~ and, in a situation like this, I might as well be unarmed. There’s too many of them. A few safeties click. A Peeintheair bodyguard slowly reaches into his coat.
I say, and with daring false bravado, “You’re all breaking the law ~ the law of the future!”
The bodyguard’s paw stops in midair. An off-duty cop, draped in an “Iron Brotherhood” jacket, laughs. Sitting in the back corner with the quiet guitar, Newscent bursts, “You’re crazy, Rawclyde!”
“Maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe I’m a prophet,” says I. “Maybe the law in the future will be you gotta have a license to own and bare a firearm, and all your firearms will have to be registered and insured ~ just like your privately-owned motor vehicle. Then, and only then, when you comply with this law, will you be in compliance with the 2nd Amendment ~ instead of a bunch of gun-toting yahoos!”
“He’s right, damn it!” screeches Newscent in the back corner & in the midst of sudden realization & bright-eyed epiphany. He attempts to leap from his chair, but groans instead & hobbles forward, getting old, but not too old to, thusly, pontificate, “Ever since that son of a bitch’s massacre in Newtown of those poor little first-graders in their school, in their own school, brothers, it’s been eating me alive ~ the truth! And the truth is, the ‘well regulated militia’ half of the 2nd Amendment means we all gotta register our guns!”
And there Ted & I stood, side by side, staring them all down…
Go go dancers more fun than guns