My piece “Toys” is up at Flash Across Borders.


When I was a kid, I borrowed my dad’s b-b gun and took it in the back yard and shot out our living room window. Actually, it wasn’t a window – it was one of those full length pane glass doors. I told him it was an accident – that it was a ricochet. But I’m pretty sure I just did it to see what would happen. I think I was expecting some cool movie effect where the glass would completely shatter. But it just put a tiny pinprick hole in it. Still, the entire sliding door had to be replaced. Later, I realized that the door had a thin plastic coating on it to protect it from rotten, idiot kids with b-b guns.

My dad was kind of into fake guns. He had the b-b gun and an incredibly realistic fake cap gun in the top drawer of his office at home. My mom hated it. But I used to play with it a lot. Much later, I discovered that, hidden in the back of his closet was an actual 45 revolver. I had to dig pretty far back for that one. It was harsh and metallic and well-oiled and you could tell it had never been used. I liked the realistic cap gun better and I thought it would make much more of an impression on burglars. POW!

In college, my friend Bruce and I found some very realistic World War II-era Lugers that fired caps in Chinatown. That Christmas, Bruce gave me a lift to the airport, and without telling me, shoved one of the Lugers into my backpack. The backpack went through the x-ray machine and I remember, clearly, seeing the x-ray of a Luger. But the attendant smiled and handed me my bag, and I got on the plane and went home. Did she see the gun? Did she not care?

Airport security was lighter in those days.

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