I haven’t had too many encounters with guns. Aside from all the times I was held up in mini marts and ATMs in Houston’s fifth ward, and the time I had to shoot a handicapped priest as a gang initiation, the last time I was around guns was this past Christmas.
My grandma’s living room has a museum-esque air — delicate and unlivable, with vases and French crystal figurines and family heirlooms that look almost naked without Do Not Touch signs. One corner of the room holds a round glass table surrounded by four powder blue velvet chairs, low-to-the-ground; that corner is begging to host a tea party with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Elizabeth Taylor, circa 1957. It’s my favorite part of the room, but I’m afraid to sit there. Instead, I sat down on a love seat that probably has only held a dozen asses in the last forty years, and watched Corey take pictures of gallery-lit portraits on the wall and Lalique collectibles on the gilded coffee table. We weren’t supposed to be in there, no one’s ever supposed to be in there. I think the last time my grandma entertained in that room was Christmas of 1984.
When I got up from my seat, my toes nudged something hard protruding from beneath the couch. I bent down to look closer, but the sham of the couch prevented the object from spilling out on to the white shag carpet. I prodded through the sham with my fingertips, I traced a very frightening and hard outline. I quickly flipped up the sham, quickly glanced, quickly screamed, quickly ran into the den where Henry and my grandma were watching TV.
“Grandma, I don’t want to alarm you or anything—” I panted and swept the hair from my eyes; my hand covered my vibrating chest. “—but there’s a gun in the living room.”
My grandma looked away from the television and stared at me. And then my grandma laughed and wheezed, squeezing in several incredulous ‘what?!‘s in the mix, laughed some more, wheezed some more.
I spoke in rapid-fire torrents of terror. There’s a gun! Under! The love seat! In the! Living room! A gun! Gun!
She stared at me, her mouth stuck in an amused o shape, and then her mouth became word-capable again.
“Oh! Yeah. There’s like, thirty of them under there.”
We were talking about guns the other night at work, just a typical conversation you’d expect to encounter at work, nothing crazy. Collin and Bob began to argue about various laws — Collin said he thought you could kill a person if they came in your house and not go to jail. Bob goes, “Oh my fuck, you crazy asshole, are you kidding? I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.” Then I said I hoped Collin was right because I’d get myself a gun real quick, come home, shoot Henry. “Officer, he was in my house!” I practiced. “I was just defending the home front.”
Then, because I’m paranoid and obsessed with protecting my person. I asked Collin about rubber bullets.
“…because on Days of Our Lives, this guy was trying to kidnap Belle and Claire and so he shot a cop in the chest with a rubber bullet, and and and….”
Collin said he wouldn’t even trust me with those. “You have to shoot those with a rifle,” he said, assuming that I couldn’t handle it. “And sometimes it’s possible to actually kill a person with those.” (I assume he thought that would deter me.) I told him about my Pappap’s gun collection and he seemed a little concerned that there are several cabinets of shot guns and rifles in my Pappap’s game room, and an arsenal suitable for your average Capone under the furnishings in the living room, practically laid out at my feet like floral offerings at the base of a Virgin Mary statue.
You know what I’ve always wanted? An AK-47. Or one of those teeny pretty guns that rich women who wear a fur stole keep in their Gucci pocketbooks just in case they walk in on their husbands fucking their best friend bang who was the maid of honor in their fucking wedding bang and now they’re getting their sex residue all over the fucking satin sheets from Paris, bang goddamnit.