Monday, June 29, 2015

A Short Conversation

The scene: an inner-city pawn shop, this past weekend. I am perusing the gun rack offerings, which go something like this: garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage, Winchester Model 21, garbage, garbage, wait, whaaaa? I put my eyes into reverse. Is it? Holy shit, it is. Seeing something like that in a dump like this is kind of like walking into a strip joint and seeing Meryl Streep in a thong and pasties, grinding out a lap dance. It's undignified, and it just 'aint right. 

Me: "Uh, can I see that Winchester 21 right there?"

The Clerk: "The whut?"

Me: "The Model 21, right there, next to the Mossberg with the camo plastic stock."

The Clerk: "You mean the double-barrel?"

Me: "Yeah, the double-barrel."

The clerk hands me the "double barrel", which is indeed a Winchester Model 21, standard grade, 12-gauge, 28-inch barrels, single trigger, beavertail forend, bright, shiny original-looking blueing, with just a bit of blue worn off the bottom of the action from being carried. It is tight, rust-free, with a serial number in the 29,000 range, which I believe makes it a late 50s vintage. It doesn't have the original pad, but other than that it's about as nice a 21 as you'll find anywhere, much less a place that advertises it cashes plasma checks. The price is high (by pawn shop standards), but well below what you'd expect of a Model 21. Well. Freaking. Below.

I begin to sweat, and scheme. Wildly, desperately, recklessly.

Me: "You mind if I take off the forend?"

The Clerk: "What's a forend?"

Me: "The wood thingy at the front."

The Clerk: "You can do that?"

I break the gun down. It's choked full/mod, and the internals look just as pristine and nice as the externals. By this time I'm sweating so badly I look like Albert Brooks in that scene from Broadcast News, because I know that I am very close to doing something very stupid and very irresponsible. Something that will undoubtedly cause much financial stress and marital turmoil. Something that's going to get me in a lot of trouble. Doesn't matter. I can feel the dark cloud of foolishness enveloping me.

The Clerk: "We got layaway, you know. Hey man, you want a towel?"

From where it comes I do not know, but at that moment a single sunbeam of reason manages to break through the cloud and flash - like a lighthouse warning a ship away from the shoals -  a simple message that keeps repeating in my head: "If you do this, you are in deep shit. If you do this, you are in deep shit. If you do this, you are in deep shit."

Without a word, I put the barrels back on, snap the forend into place, hand the gun back to the clerk, mumble a thank you, and literally flee the store. A triumph of reason, or divine intervention, I cannot say. All I know is that I'm still alive, still married, and still (barely) financially solvent. And still really want that gun.

Is desire the root of all suffering? Yes, yes it is.      


  1. I still comment on blogger sometimes ...

  2. You COULD post the name of this fine establishment for the benefit of us single types...

    1. Ha! Are you crazy? I'm keeping my mouth shit and my options open, man...

  3. How long until this becomes the tale of "The One That Got Away"? Common sense and reason be damned. Fear of the spouse, of course, is a valid concern... but bruises heal, eventually.

    I'd really harsh on your failure to step up to the late, except I'm not that big a fan of the Model 21. Give me double triggers and a splinter fore-end any day. It's just how I am.

    1. And obviously, that should have been "step up to the PLATE," since stepping up to the late doesn't make much sense at all.

    2. Actually Phillip, I 'm a double trigger, splinter forend guy myself, but 21s with those are in the stratosphere...

  4. Chad
    two things
    I doubt the answer will be in any way an edifying experience but pray tell what is a 'plasma check'

    I'm told that the koran is pretty firmly against lying, with one notable exception, if the lie was told to keep your wife happy, in which case its fine.

    1. A plasma check is what you get when you donate your blood for money. A lot of businesses in low-income inner-city areas will prey on the unfortunate souls who use blood donation as a way to earn money by cashing plasma checks for usurious fees.

  5. Got my first setter on monthly payments with the aid of selling my plasma/blood. ....starving college student.

  6. "I'm not that big a fan of the Model 21. Give me double triggers and a splinter fore-end any day"

    This, especially if they're on a Fox. But still: a Model 21 wouldn't look bad in the cabinet.