I bought an air pistol today. It’s a Smith & Wesson. It says so on the gun. I’m sitting at the gas station where I work, and it’s almost midnight, and that’s when all the ghouls and crazies come out. It’s raining outside and through the fogged up bulletproof glass that surrounds me I can feel murder—the kind of murder that hides in the thick, black bean soup night. For the last hour I’ve been holding my plastic Smith & Wesson like it was my dick. I’ve been staring at it, admiring the nooks and crannies of the shooter, waiting for some fuck to try and rob me so I can shoot him in the eyeball.
I’ve never shot a real gun before, and only recently shot my first air pistol, but I can totally see why motherfuckers are dying all over the place. An hour ago, when it was still full serve (the gas station turns self serve at 11, so I have an hour of pumping before my rented free time becomes true rented free time), some old lady came here in a maroon Buick. I had the gun tucked in the back of my pants, renegade style. She asked for her gas, 20 dollars, and a little voice crept up my back and whispered into my ear, “Pump her wrinkled face full of plastic BB.” Not that she did anything wrong at all. She was actually real sweet. This was total bloodlust.
I am a very nonviolent person. You can check my references. I’ve only been in a few fights in my life and they were full of bitchslaps. They were dork-fights. If you have never seen a dork-fight, it’s when dorks fight for the sole purpose of being crowned the slightly lesser dork. Here’s what I mean:
One day in the 8th grade, I was in line walking out of the door of the gym, happy to be leaving because the yellow fluorescent lighting super-exposed my oily hair and zits. My denim was tight, my tail long, my body skinny and full of unsatisfied hormones. As I walked through the door I bumped shoulders with this dork who I sort of knew from other classes. We weren’t on any kind of speaking basis, but I knew that he got fucked with by the monsters of our school with their noogies and sleeper-holds just like I did. We were both the same size, but this kid had a super fucked up nose, like if someone had rigged a hook on a chain, stuck it up his nose, tied the chain to the back of a Jeep, and gunned it, leaving it all stretched out and wide. I have really big ears, but big ears are way less dorky than gigantor noses. His shoulder bump had some might in it and I was pushed back, caught on my heels.
‘How stupid am I?’ I thought. ‘Rule number one: never get caught off your toes.’
We ended up face to face on the lip of the gymnasium with our dork-pride on the line. The banners of school heroes from years past surrounded us along with the heroes of the present day, the hot chicks, the bowling kings, live in person. I saw rage in his black eyes, barely noticeable behind his mountain range of a nose. He had matted black hair and his marble-grey gym clothes were yet to be soiled by bombardment sweat. I raised my opened digits and slapped him on the top of the head. I did not think, I just reacted, a machine fueled by mad juices pumped from little glands in my throat. The noise of the crowd had escaped the forefront of my mental. I fashioned a look that said “What do you think of that shit, dork?”
I saw his open hand coming down on me, but I didn’t block it. Maybe it was because he had fast hands, maybe because I thought it was the tough thing to do, or maybe I didn’t block because I knew I deserved it. No matter the case, he landed his shot on my head.
His nostrils were a deep cavern of fiery fury. He hit me with a look that said, “That’s what I think of that shit, dork. What do you think of that shit?”
People don’t break up dork-fights. They whoop, laugh, try to get some bang for their buck, but never interfere. The fight is over when the combatants decide it is, and that usually happens when the dorks realize that they are dorks and dorks don’t win fights. Hence, dork-fights always end in a draw, usually after one hit apiece. We stared each other down for a moment longer. And then, as the clamber of the crowd resurfaced, we walked away in opposite directions.
I entered that fight a boy, a subpar boy, but a boy nonetheless, but I left it as a member of dork congress, proudly waving the banner of a battle not lost. Now, I sit in this dark and foggy night a man, a subpar man, but a man nonetheless. My dork banner is a black plastic Smith & Wesson that shoots little plastic balls at three hundred and fifteen feet per second. If somebody tries to rob me, I am going to shoot them in the eyeball and blind them.