"Oi! What's that now, Dink?"
I hadn’t noticed the big man creep up on me, for I was too busy admiring my latest acquisition. “This, my friend, is a turn of the century .45 Colt Commander -" I started to explain, but Zeke wasn't about to stretch his (very) limited attention span on any lecture. "Gimme it,' he demanded. I sighed, and carefully racked the slide to check it and removed the magazine... and passed it over. It wasn't really a big gun, as such things went, but it looked like a toy in the big man's hands. "There's no bullets in it?" he asked, looking down the barrel.
"If there were, you would have shot yourself with it by now," I said cheerfully. "Hey boys," Zeke called, "the Curator here has a new toy!" he said waving the Colt around. Puke and Shitty looked over from the dart board. "Ah jeez - Don't let Zeke play with it, Dink, he'll bring the law down on our heads..." Shitty smirked at that, no doubt remembering when Zeke had gotten hold of my pristine medieval Japan katana. The stupid bugger was drunk out of his skull, and he chased the waitresses at the club around with it while the squaddies hooted and laughed. The MPs showed up, impounded the blade and took Zeke into custody... and I never saw it again. Some sticky fingered officer probably got it. "I'm still mad about that," I grumbled, "It was a 15th century Yakute..." It had cost me a small fortune, and now probably sat in the back of some dim bulb officers clothes closet.
The squaddies gave up on the darts and strolled over to join us. Puke spied the antique pulp paper magazine and inquired about that too. "That's an original January 2004 edition of Guns & Ammo," I said proudly, "It's worth almost as much as the gun. Be careful with it, the paper is brittle and its virtually unblemished." Puke carefully thumbed through the pages, and the squaddies gathered round and laughed at the pictures of the ridiculously attired hunters of the period and their 'camoflage' clothing. "Lookit the military guys! I love the costumes those guys used to wear!" Shitty said. "And lookit there! In the ad - that's your gun, isn't it?"
Puke chortled, cleared his throat, and began to read. "Now you too can own the legendary 1911 Colt Commander, with a battle proven reputation built in conflicts all over the world. Like all Colts, the Commander has superb balance and ergonomics, as well as exceptional accuracy..."
"They acually killed people with these silly little pop guns?" Zeke asked. Right on cue, Shitty started running his mouth. "Damnright, Zeke. The United States cavalry knocked off entire tribes of indians with them in the Old West. You could blast an indian brave right out of his moccasins at 100 meters -"
I lost my chit. "No they didn't, you fuggin nugget! Semiauto firearms weren't even invented until virtually the next century. You are SO full of it. Where did you learn your history? Or maybe you pull it out of your arse?"
"I think Shitty might be right," Puke said, looking up from the magazine. "I saw an old black and white movie about the old west, and I am pretty sure the cowboys all had these things..." I sighed in resignation. This was going to be a long night. Thankfully Sargeant McRae had walked in - our other resident amateur historian. "Hey Sarge! Gotta minute? Can you help me out with these retards? They seem to think the cowboys of the old west used pulse rifles and hand grenades..."
I ordered a round of beers for the table. Sarge was just tickled pink about my acquisition. He was an engaging speaker and we started chatting amiably about the curio, antiques and lore of times long gone. Shitty and Zeke slammed their beers and rapidly lost interest and left to harass the other customers and the waitresses. Even more customers were now showing up en masse as happy hour kicked in, and a few stopped by to chat. One visitor took the Colt and the magazine to another table where they began to admire the artifacts in detail. I thought nothing of it. We all knew each other here and had no concerns about thieves or cudgels. Drunks and morons though... that was a different can of worms.
Earnie's Pub & Grille was a hangout for squaddies and naturally had all the decore of such an establishment. We had our own wall for The Fallen, and we had curios and relics and dewatted guns on the walls. Yellowed pictures in wooden frames with men posing with their horses. Coloured pictures of jet fighters and sullen men with helicopters overhead. The place had atmosphere, and no bones about it. Some of the curios were cheap reproductions but many were original antiques. The volume began to build as more customers drifted in, and booze loosened tongues, and lips began to flap. Loud laughter sprang up all around. Another round of beers came to our table as Sarge talked about the old west. The owner dropped in on our table, and we demanded that he pull down an old cavalry sabre off the wall for us to examine and drool over. Sarge had actually seen a horse once... Puke even knew some eccentrics that raised the animals and still rode them for entertainment. Another round of beers landed at our table.
Shitty stumbled by and farted loudly as he passed. "Welp ... that's my cue, boys," I said. "I better get the animals home. Zeke is slowly getting lit, and I'll have Shitty take off that flak jacket on the way out, Earnie. What is that thing anyways? Viet Nam era? Afghanistan...?" The proprietor hemmed and hawed and figured it was Desert Storm vintage, and that set Sarge off. "You guys are daft. It has the metal plates in it, it's pickle green - the later stuff was all kevlar and mylar... right?" Another round hit our table as we debated dates and merits of archaic body armour of the period. My head was starting to swim. It really was time to get home...
A ripple of laughter broke out on the other side of the bar. And of course, Shitty and Zeke were in the middle of it. Shitty was still strutting around with the flak jacket on, and Zeke was performing for the crowd.
Zeke was a pathetic actor, but he delivered his wooden lines nonetheless. "Oi, ya doomb coont! Emmmmm... ya dah was a hamster, and ya maam smelt of elderberries!" he declaimed. Shitty drunkenly drew himself up in mock outrage. "You arrogant worm! I challenge you to a duel!" he slurred. "Pistols!" he crowed, "At 10 paces!" The patrons hooted and applauded.
Oh no. Lord, no. I frantically checked the surrounding tables for the Colt. But to no avail. Back in the corner of the bar, Zeke was hamming it up, brought up the old Colt and aiming it at Shitty! "Zeke!!! Don't -" I yelled.
The old Colt roared. BLAM!
Several things happened at once. Shitty went sprawling, Sarge, Earnie and I bolted out of our chairs, and Zeke proclaimed, "THAT'LL do him, wot... but don’t worry folks! We’re trained professionals! Don’t try this at home!" Shitty was down and wasn't moving. Sarge and I fell in beside him, instantly sober and all business. Thankfully I got a pulse. "On three, Dink, we'll roll him over, GENTLY... one... two... three!" Earnie joined us with some acrid smelling salts and a first aid kit with admirable speed. When we had him over, Earnie gently waved the salts under Shitty's nose. A large hole smouldered in the front of the flak jacket. A quick check showed no blood, and at length Shitty's eyelids fluttered and he came round. "I think I've most certainly shat myself," he croaked.
"There ya go, friends! Everything's fine; I todjya the flak jacket would stop it. Shitty'll be right as rain after another pint..." Zeke shouted. For a second, it looked like all was going to be well.
"NOBODY MOVE!" the MP's shouted from the doorway - none of us even saw them come in. The constables saw the smouldering Colt in Zeke's hand and instantly drew their own sidearms. "Drop the gun! DROP IT!!! Get down on the ground - all a ya! GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!!!" Shitty moaned as they brutally flipped him back over and zip tied his wrists behind his back. Earnie, Sarge and I got the same treatment moments later. After he was secured, Zeke got a few shots with the billy clubs and soon was out like a light. The MPs weren't taking any chances.
Checking again to make sure we were all securely trussed, the lead constable turned to his companion and said, "What a night, eh? But all good things must come to an end! Will you do the honours, Constable, and call in the paddy wagon?" Turning to the crowd, he asked, "Any of you other cowboys want to stir it up and try us? Now would be a good time for you all to be somewhere else! OUT!!! Or do ya want to come with me and my new friends here down to Remand?"
As the crowd stampeded toward the doors, Zeke revived a bit. "When I get outta this zip tie, you buggardly tosspot, I am going to shove that billy club up your -"
The constable rudely interrupted Zeke with said billy club, and soon all was quiet as we waited for the paddy wagon.