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Tonight I Loaded the Gun

from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody

TONIGHT I LOADED the gun. The revolver, the Bisley Vacquero, the six shooter, the lame little reconstitution of a cowboy pistol I loved to hold and take out to the range. I loaded it and put it next to the bed.
  I wasn’t really sure why. It was only a .22. It wouldn’t stop a dog if the dog really wanted you. Sure, the animal would eventually bleed out but who had the time to wait around for that while it gnawed away at your carotid.
  Was it that I had become that paranoid? I had no idea where things were going. Did I think that someone was coming through the front door in the middle of the night? Was I going to shoot them? Half naked as I might be in a t-shirt and nothing else, firing away?
  To sleep naked was unprepared. To sleep in full defensive regalia was ridiculous. But that’s how it starts. You want to believe that your morals are grander than your enemy’s. While you are lounging around, taking the dog for a walk and assuming anyone would want to do the same, someone is intent on killing you. So you build a fortress to defy them. You make up laws, outlaw box cutters, toss the bottled water. You do things you had no idea you were going to do.
You prepare. You load the gun.
  A loaded gun is heavier than an unloaded gun, and not because of the weight of the bullets. Loaded guns have magnetic charges in them—it’s as if they attract trouble because they’re loaded. An empty gun is inert. A loaded gun becomes a gyroscope with something unseen whipping around inside of it.
  I fell off to sleep quickly. When I awoke in the morning, I looked over at the night stand and saw the revolver sitting on the top of the holster. It was heavy. The sound of the neighbor’s radio drifted through the curtains. I heard the wild parrots fly over the house. I took the gun and opened the action, ejecting each of the bullets. I closed the action, put the gun down and held the little cartridges in my hand. They were like wasps, the .22s were, little bullets that wanted to be bigger. I shook them around in the palm of my hand where they clacked like river stones. Then I dumped them on the bed stand. The gun was lighter. The room was lighter.
  I guess I didn’t have to shoot anyone. Or put any underwear on either. Small victory.

See a potential source of Hank's paranoia
"Gerry Pulls a Gun on Me"


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