Today, while I was out walking with my son, I wished I had a gun.
I’ll be judged, this I know. But when a ratty, loosely composed social retard with a mission to intimidate people approached me and my son en route to the supermarkets to buy hypoallergenic detergent for the rash that recently turned him dalmation, said fuckwit made a few gestures intended to make the recipient shrink back, and though I did externally convey a sense of rationale and ignore the motions, on the inside I was a rolling, heaving electric storm of rage, and I wished so hard I had a gun or a plank of wood wracked with tetanus dipped nails that if wishes were actions I swear on my life this guy would be fucking toast. I’m still angry about it.
We finished our walk in record time. Anger is quite the propeller for me, and this really got a good foothold on me today.
In the wake of the murder of Jill Meagher, my patience for creeps has dissolved. I watched that CCTV footage, and I could easily relate to her position. Too polite to tell the fuckwit to get lost. Though I never met Jill, I promised her I would take no more shit. Shortly after, perhaps a week, I was approached by a tattoed misery that wanted to tell me about our pram, attempting a conversation I just didn’t want to be a part of. Usually, politeness is key for me. But something in my guts had broken and was unmendable. Instead of being questioned myself, I started firing them at him. Balls of steel materialised, and he was certainly taken aback.
“Who are you?” Stone faced, dry, not telling him who I was.
“Where are you from?” followed up immediately by ” I know that place well.”
“Where are you going?”
“Which direction are you going in?” I made sure I asked first so I could go the opposite way. It could have gone sour, sure, but for the point of what I am saying, is that the threat to me and my son has put and continues to put fire in my belly. I was trying to let him know I was confident, I was big too, and I was threatening because I had a voice. And before it is assumed, I don’t think I was a better person for it, but it made my son safer than I believed him to be, had I let this patriot for creeps rope me in like a goddamn sheep.
I don’t know if I was extra pissed off today because I had just had coffee with a girlfriend who was just keeping herself together over her latte while she recounted the horror of waking just last night to the sound of someone robbing her house. Her son has toys which make noises when they are stood on. Fortunately this happened while someone ransacked her house, taking 1500 bucks in benefit dollars from a gig her whole community recently had held. She woke, realised what was happening, saw the flashlight motioning around in her lounge, barricaded herself in her room and called the police. The police informed her she was fortunate as the robbery had not escalated into an assault, which was likely had she instead confronted the person robbing her, and instead locked both herself and her son into her bedroom and made appropriate par for the course. Lucky?
I’ve wished I had a gun before, but today was different.
When I was 13, my parents told my older sister and I we didn’t have to go to church any more. That we were trustworthy enough and could stay home by ourselves. The minute I heard the wheels of our 405 peugeot pull out of the drive I knew exactly how I’d spend my time. My sister, then 15, locked herself in her bedroom and made long lists into mix tapes probably ripped freshly off the pepsi rockpoll. It was high summer, hot and the fruit trees round our country town house were heaving with black sticky mulberries, soft golden apricots and waxy blue plums. Mum hated it, but Dad had given me a .22 rifle and enough rat-shot to field the blackbirds from our fruit trees, and much to my chagrin now, being someone who no longer is interested in shooting things and instead has come to name the resident blackbirds who visit me, I took to the task with disturbing glee. This makes my knees feel weird now. I kicked the flyscreen off our dining room window and sat on the table shooting at avian culprits from the comfort of the top of our dining room table. I can never manage to capture in words the rage my mother exhibited when she arrived home.
I was back at church the next Sunday.
There was a final situation with that same gun, the same summer. I shot a starling with a gloriously black mulberry in its craw from underneath. I saw the blood fall from the birds breast, and as though in slow motion, watched the horror of an unexpected loss of the berry, and mobility over come it- dropped the glistening berry, fell from the sun dappled branch and lay at my feet gasping with a berry stained mouth. I never picked the gun up again, and I never quite felt the same again about protecting our fruit. Instead, I gave bread and cheese in handsome proportion to the starling community and campaigned for the rights of the starling youths when their stupid parents built nests in our roof and Dad had to evict them- as though it might repair my wrong. But I still feel bad.
Today was the first time in a long time I wished I had it. Not to hurt this dickwad, but to put things into perspective for him. That you can’t just go around scaring the shit out of people, taking away their right to feel safe. And of course, the juxtaposition makes a dickwad of me too.