Fiction: Two AR-15s, With A Glock On Hold Awaiting Credit Check

March 30, 2018 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

ms photo



Ken Poyner




I am going to miss my GLA meeting.  I’ve been to eight in a row, and I am actually going to miss not being able to go to the next one.  There is a lot to be said for these meetings.  I never thought I would last, but I keep coming up with reasons to attend.  If you think hard enough, you can justify almost anything.

To be honest though, what I will miss is Nancy.  Nancy, with her split front dresses split just a bit too far up; or her short shorts far too short; or her jeans maybe a size and a half too close for breathing.  Nancy of the right overages and the right underages, seeming halfway between penthouse and trailer park: the porridge just right.

I remember most her soft green key-hole tank top – but she has a number of excruciatingly low-cut slipovers; oh, those diaphanous things you can just imagine slithering over her head and for a bare moment catching her hurried hair; and she occasionally wears a button up with not so many buttons buttoned, at least that you count from where they are tucked in, or from where the tails worn outside trail off.  She is the only woman in the group, and no one minds when she sets off on her sing-song story again – about how it all started out in a worry over protection and safety, about being secure in her person; but then moved on to establishing space, to making a hole for herself in the scheme of things; and then dominating the moment, being in control, being one-tough-cookie; and then at the end about being in charge.  She started out with an unlikely-to-be-effective, matchbook-sized small clip, small caliber, unreliable contraption; and moved on to a real hand gun; and then an over-and-under 12-gauge with a 22 long rifle; and then she finally made the leap to an assault rifle – and, before she joined the group, ended up with six long guns, three carbines, and a dresser drawer of handguns, each in a neat hard-clip case.  All the men in the group would shudder, imagining a nine-millimeter recently cleaned, with the clip set flat within business distance, mixed in with her underwear, perhaps caught up in the leg of a striped thong or pinning a racy black bra to the back of the drawer.  Would she have white bikini pants, or opt for wild colors?  Would she have lacy bras, or ones assembled for industrial duty, fighting the ampleness they inadvertently highlight?  Would her semi-automatics shade to heavy steal or aluminum where it could be substituted?  Speed loaders for the revolvers in the same drawer?

She regales us nearly every week with tales of target practice.  First the targets were set close, and simply became a goal.  Hit them, hit them ever closer to the center. Aim and result. Look for the puff of dirt that meant the round had gone into the berm behind, and not over, or slipped uselessly into the grass in front of the backstop.  Later, as the targets were moved back and she grew close to proficient, she imagined the targets as being murderers and rapist, thieves and bikers, Mormons and Scientologists, the boy two doors down who always leaves his bicycle in her driveway.  Each getting his come-uppance, each getting his just deserves.  She tells how she would come home from the range with a trunk full of guns and spent brass and glare at the boy, knowing no matter how big and sassy he got, no matter how many days he went between shaves or how much color he slipped into his public language, she had the better aim, and she would always have the edge.

No one minds her telling the same story time and time again.  She gets emotionally into it and starts to wiggle and jiggle and everyone imagines losing spare change in the cracks and crevices she so ably displays.  We all sit cross legged and hope she goes on all night.  We look at each other and know it will be one more beer at the bar or straight home and the wife suddenly all aglow and the kids told to stay a while in their rooms and watch whatever they like on television.  What used to be a night after the range is now a night after the GLA, all with pretty much the same end for the objects of our affections.  Nancy drones on and our imaginations twist and turn and the blood reassess its strategic map and goes for the far target, knowing it will settle for the fifty-foot minimal distance qualification in an hour or so.

But it is also entertaining to watch some of the less practiced members be forced to tell their stories.  Many of these are ex-militia men, hounded into attending the meetings by their wives or mothers, bribed into wasting this time by the prospect of better domestic tranquility.  Men who were used to going out weekend after weekend, wearing camouflage and transporting a few thousand rounds and a handful of rifles and short guns in their trunks, to the separatist farm where they drank beer and trained themselves at selecting sides.  For two days, three if there were a holiday, they would run about trying to find value in themselves, looking to establish a structure where they personally had some meaning, some mastery, and could imagine themselves able to strive against something:  having the metal to bully those who might be less well armed.  When the expense got too much, or the yard work too far behind, or the excuses to the less ballistics-inclined relatives got too bizarre, they ended up here.  Each week, we get to watch them squirm and come up with a good explanation for attending the meetings.  There are almost always new ones each week.  They try to sound like they want to be here, and Nancy is sure a reason to show up; but, really, they are having a hard time sinking back into being ordinary men after ordinance has made them feel king of the hill, top of the mountain, master of men like they once were when they used to be unarmed.  It is a lot to give up.  Any addiction is.  Even if you want to give it up — and there are so many side-bar reasons to keep this one.  Every story has to skirt the truth.

But this weekend there will be at least 150 vendors at the Pavilion, a new gun show by a group I’ve never heard of:  a name that rolls off any rights defender’s tongue, with free parking, and only an $11.00 each day entry fee. Flags and trucks and a battle-space play-place for the children, along with a pre-teens gun gallery.  The mentors at GLA hate it when these events come to town.  Yes, they might be able to stave off a half-hearted Fourth of July sale at the local gun shop, or even a week-long Defenders of Freedom trade-up firearm event.  But no one can beat one of these traveling shows.  Show up and play your cards right, and you can bypass background checks, actually test out the latest in laser sighting, walk away with a thousand rounds of overloads, or end up with an antique long gun – in working order – alleged to have been used in a shootout by one side or the other of a real conflict.

They start advertising – television, radio and billboard – a month out, and by the week of the show, anybody who wants to be somebody, but otherwise cannot, is humming to go and pick out the means to his – or, now, her – better personhood.  These Gun Lovers Anonymous people might be able to keep us coming to dreary meetings when Nancy is rocking and rolling and her important pieces and parts are about to pop free, given that at the time there is no event on the horizon; but I do not see how they think they can compete with a thirty-round magazine, a World War One military issue Springfield, or a 50 caliber polymer-handled snub nose.

Heck, if we had a lot of will power, we wouldn’t be here in the first place.  We all know we get the gun addiction through low self-esteem; we crave the power that a firearm gives us, and which we could not otherwise claim through force of personality, talent, reasoning or self-assurance.  Without the gun, we blend in.  With the gun, we are masters of all we survey.  Those simple, lovely devices become a part of our personalities, part of that which makes each of us the force we believe we are.  No group sitting around bedazzled with the curves of a thirty-year old single mom, half listening to completely made up stories of contrition and new social viability, is going to keep a need for testosterone in check.  You have to be who you want to be.  You have to be who denying your own shortcomings forces you to be.

I imagine the GLA mentors will wait alone at the door at the top of the stairs leading into our dust-colored-carpeted, bare meeting place: with the metal cheap hotel conference room chairs, and the spotted walls that are not supposed to be spotted, and the HVAC that seems to work only yesterday and tomorrow.  They have been watching the advertisements for weeks, knowing what is coming.  One of the vendors is bringing a museum-piece howitzer.  If anyone shows up at the GLA meeting the night of the show, that misdirected individual will sit there bouncing a leg until the meeting is adjourned early and he or she, like everyone else, pops the clutch over to the Pavilion, probably with an advance-purchased ticket, and an excuse that, hey, the parking is free.  We are not going to buy we tell ourselves.  But then we calculate that, over a relatively short time, one of these armaments could be cheaper than Viagra.  The wife has been banking the saving on ammunition for a few weeks, and it is now our time.  A small purchase won’t much be missed in the family finances, and we will feel whole for a while again.  Soon we will get back to those damned meetings.  We promise.

Nancy will probably be at the show.  For all the talking it out, for all the admission that it is an addiction, for all the commitment to finding her value and self-esteem elsewhere, she likes the sense of power that having a semi-automatic weapon happily settled across her lap provides.  She likes thinking of that boy and his bicycle as being no trouble at all, nope, none whatsoever.  She likes keeping us all on edge two ways – watching that wiggle and how it pops a holster on her side back and forth and across, like a boy driving all-in his best sex — and coming up, to her mind, mediocre.

I’m sure I will catch her there sashaying in one of the great fenced-in aisles — idling between a display spread length-wise detailing some handgun’s projected lethality; and on the other side of the narrow walkway an advertisement for the latest in home defense, if your home has 40,000 square feet and is assaulted by a crack corps of paramilitary mercenaries.  She will exaggerate the angles of her sweet three-buckets rear stuffed into a two-buckets set of jeans, and twist around so, through both a bra and a t-shirt, her half-dollar sized nipples will introduce themselves to the nearest surrounding three-quarters arc of gawkers.  She will draw a flat finger across some fortunate vendor’s eyelevel-displayed AR-15, her lower lip pulled under her teasing tongue and held in place by two rock-hard reconstructed teeth.

I will not be the only one –out-of-depth GLA member or not — posed expectedly around the honored hall who wants to slip with her behind the stacked excess bleachers, shielded by the bulk hardwood rifle cases, and deftly, defiantly, deafeningly, delightfully pull her glorious trigger.  And I bet, bang, when the bullet went off, I’d be ejected, spent, the brass still hot and smoking, and me uncaring whether the next one is already snug in the chamber or not.







Ken Poyner

Ken Poyner’s fiction and poetry has appeared in such diverse places as The Alaska Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Asimov’s Science Fiction and Fact, Corium, Menacing Hedge, The Legendary, Full of Crow, and dozens of other print and digital venues. He has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes, a Best of the Net award, a Sidewise award, several Rhysling awards, and taught in the Virginia Poets in the Schools program. He has been a security guard, a paneling salesman, a programmer, a network engineer, a systems engineer, an information systems security specialist, and a network administration instructor. He has had more than 1100 stories and poems published in more than 300 venues.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.