Thursday, December 25, 2003

Where Handguns Come From Day!

You were born before your Dad went to Viet Nam. You were born before he lost his legs and developed an addiction to opiates. And you were born before your Mom snuck you into your Grandma's back yard in the middle of the night, told you to sit at your Grandma's picnic table, then disappeared forever.

You sometimes see your Dad. He works as a Wal-Mart Greeter three towns over. Occasionally you have to head over to that Wal-Mart when you need a new drill bit for that weird drill your kids got you for your birthday years back. You don't know where they got that drill because you haven't seen it in any other stores, and only that Wal-Mart sells bits that'll fit it (though they don't sell the drill). When your Dad greets you from his chair, you're just another customer. He says welcome to Wal-Mart and you say thanks.

The first time he greeted you, you stopped in your tracks and stared at him. He had said "Welcome to Wal-Mart." You looked him up and down. He had prosthetic legs that looked like they were just for show, not like they could walk him around. You rested your eyes on his and tried to hold onto the shock you felt so as to not let on to any pity. Your Dad said again, "Welcome."

You waited for an acknowledgement. He gave you one. He nodded and let his eyelids fall just a bit. That's more than the other customers get, you decided. You nodded back and went about your shopping.

You never missed your Dad. He might've been a better father to you than your Grandma and Grandpa maybe. Who knows. They weren't that great. They kept a handgun in the linen closet, top shelf. You fired it once when you were fourteen. You went out into the yard and shot the garage window into nothing. One gunshot, no more window, then no nothing. No neighbors came looking. No one called the police. Just you holding a hot handgun in a throbbing teen's hand. After a half hour of standing in the yard looking from the window to the pistol in your hand, you went to the linen closet, replaced the bullet you shot, and put the gun back at the bottom of the box full of gift bows and ribbon.

Your Dad probably would've kept a handgun in the house too, if he could've afforded one. Your Dad seems kind of messed up in the head though, a little retarded. It was probably better you were raised by your Grandparents.

Happy Where Handguns Come From Day!