Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't Lose A Gun

Just don't.

For my 13th birthday, Dad gave me a gun. I didn't ask for a gun. That being the age at which I fully dove into guitar, I was kind of hoping I might get some kind of guitar. Or an effects pedal. Or an amp. Or maybe a cool strap or something - I don't know, a gun? Where does it plug in?

Nope. I got a gun. I was told it was a very special gun. Dad was very psyched to have given it to me. Turns out it was the gun he had when he was like eight or nine (circa 1950) and he spent many a year gettin' all Davey Crockett on various and sundry unsuspecting neighborhood game... and cans and whatever else you could shoot at I guess.

As much as I wasn't so in touch with that whole frontiersman vibe, I gotta admit, the gun turned out to be fun. I liked it. Being a semi-automatic, it fired seven rounds just as fast as you could pull the trigger. Pretty cool. Seeing as I could pull the trigger pretty fast, it did make for a lot of reloading, though.

I never did get all Davey Crockett with it, but I'd go a-shootin' at cans and junk that I'd set up in a tree. You really don't need to kill people or animals to enjoy a gun. It can be a whole mess of fun just hearing a can go *plink* when you hit it from 75 yards away. Put that can at the end of a rope and try to shoot it while it's swinging, well that's a whole afternoon of fun.

Sometimes it's fun to spend an entire afternoon trying to shoot a sapling in half, but you don't have to do that.

Anyway, in a year I call "1990", I moved into an apartment where the elderly landlady was not so cool on guns. Lesbians were more her thing it seems. I'll spare you the details, but it was at that age when I realized that lesbianism wasn't just something hot girls did to turn you on.

In any case, I was forewarned of her hatred of firearms by a friend, so I just figured I'd sneak in this dumb 'ol gun that I never used, stick it in the closet and forget about it until I moved. Big deal.

The plan hit a little bit of a snag when it was time to move out and ask for my deposit. I failed to seize any appropriate opportunity to sneak this gun out when the landlady wasn't around, and I found myself faced with a grim situation of having only one thing in the apartment, and having that thing be the ONE thing she didn't want up there.

We walked through the house for the inspection. She was very excited at the prospect of having something real to complain about. Clearly in her element. The apartment, however, was spotless.

After 17 years, the details get pretty scarce in this part of the story.

How did she not see the gun? Did I talk her out of opening the closet? What was my plan for if she DID open the closet? Was the gun even in the closet? Did I move it already? Truth is, I kinda blanked on the whole thing. I have no idea what happened to it.

Yeah, uhh... I um, lost a gun. That's probably not good.

All I know is that I got my deposit back with interest, and 17 years later, I can't find this thing.

So as time plays tricks on my head (and Dad asks me every six months for the past three years, "Where's that .22 I gave you?" like it was last fucking week or something) I wonder where is that damn gun that I never even asked for.

Well, what?! What could possibly have happened? Did my gun-hating, lesbian landlady see it later and toss it out? If she did see it, wouldn't she maybe give me a call, cancel the deposit check, or otherwise let me know? Did I take it and now I can't remember where I put it or who's basement I may have stowed it in? Okay, then how did I get it out of the apartment? Wait, did I get it out of the apartment? ...and so on. Bit of a puzzle, that one. I would periodically search for this gun over the next two decades.

So the day inevitably comes that the landlady dies. That didn't matter because her lesbian room mate was still alive. That turned out to be only an additional year wait, and eight months after that, I saw some folks cleaning out the old place as I was driving by. Seemed like an opportunity (however slim) but with my Dad's voice ringing in my ears, well, I just kept driving.

Now with Dad's voice ringing even louder in my ears, I turned around, parked it, and decided to ask these strangers if they'd seen my gun.

Never having had a beard in my life, and always keeping my hair pretty short, I was sportin' two week's growth on my face and about two years of hair on my head. I had not a single reason for cultivating this look, but it culminated in the renewal of my photo ID, then I immediately went out, shaved, and got a haircut. I don't know. Seemed like something to do.

In spite of my Kaczynski vogue, the folks I met couldn't have been nicer. We had a good 15 minute chat. I left my name, number, and copy of my manifesto. They said they'd let me know if they found anything. Hard as it might be to believe, they never called back.

I called back about two weeks later when I saw the For Sale sign. Figured I'd at least see what the asking price was anyway. What I learned is that they want about 30% too much for the house and they found a gun. After a couple of days of playing phone polo and some positive identification on my part,

The Mossberg & Sons Model 152 .22cal semi-automatic Long Rifle. 17 years later, back in my possession.

Probably could've just called her, I guess.

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