This is actually
two three fucked-up stories all at once. Cause, fuck it, why only tell you a single two-minute story? For this tale, it helps (but isn’t mandatory) if you’ve read An Origin Story, of sort (Part 3).
In 6th grade, I moved with my mom and sister out of the house we once shared with my dad into a nice 3-bedroom apartment in still-developing area of Paradise Valley, AZ. It was blessing in disguise for me, cause it meant I had to go to a new school and didn’t have to come up with more nefarious schemes to rid myself of bullies. My new elementary school was a chance to start over with a group of people that, it seemed, I would also end up going with to middle school and then high school. It wasn’t a particularly large school, and it was new enough that the 6th grade classes were setup in “portables” (as they were called) — basically empty mobile homes just outside the parking lot of the school. Because of this, there really wasn’t any mingling between 6th grade and any lower grades. Besides, as a 6th grader, you’re in the class of kings, and no one younger was gonna fuck with you anyway.
It was in 6th grade that I met two guys related to this, and many other, stories : Chris and Nick. Chris was new to AZ, and I’m not sure how I lucked out in convincing him to hangout with me, but he did. He was from New Jersey, which made him instantly cooler than everyone in Phoenix 1Chris is the one I cropped out of this photo in the introduction of An Origin Story. His family had all sorts of insider east-coast jokes that were lost on me. But, he was Italian, so I guess my lineage helped get me in the door. Nick was also Italian, and his family (along with him, probably when he was in 2nd grade) moved out to AZ from — I think — New York. Nick didn’t like me at all, and we fought quite a bit in 6th grade. That all changed when we took a class trip to Catalina Island, and somehow Nick and I bonded in a way that I can’t describe in this sentence (but, yeah, full story to come at a later date).
By the time we all reached middle school (aka Junior High), Nick and Chris kinda became their own crew. They were outside the social pecking order, or in some cases higher up in it. For the most part, though, they were rogue in the social hierarchy and were free to move around between them. When I made friends with Bill, Ian, and Pam (you remember Pam, right?), I introduced Chris and Nick to them after school one day.
That brings us to this series of stories : Bill left our school district in the summer between 7th and 8th grade, which left all of us without a moral center — odd as that may sound. I think we all would’ve thought twice about shit if Bill was around to smack (not necessarily physically) some sense into people. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
Nick had an unhealthy obsession with guns. When we’d go to friends’ houses, even for a party, he’d ask “are your parents gun owners?”. He had a charming smile, so it probably seemed like he was making a joke. A sneaky trick I’ve long used myself : if they take you seriously, great! if they’re put-off, offended, or upset in some way… oh, I was only kidding!. Oddly enough, a few kids were stupid enough to actually answer Nick and dumber still to fucking show him where said guns were kept.
One day, Nick and I are at some after-school shindig at some kids’ house that we didn’t like. I asked him why we were there and he said “dude.. they got GUNS! I saw ’em when I left to use the bathroom. I’m gonna leave a window unlocked. we’ll come back, y’know?”. This sounded insane, even for a petty criminal adrenaline junkie like myself. He figured out this kid usually hung out on campus for at least an hour after school every day. His plan was to go to his place the next day, acting like he was looking for the guy (y’know, for nosey neighbors). With me alongside, he was gonna go around the back, hop the fence, and come into the house and let me in. It would then look, to neighbors that didn’t actually notice or give a hot shit, like our “friend” let us in.
His plan worked flawlessly. I helped Nick rob some kid’s house. All we took were two handguns. I knew slightly more about handguns then than I do now, but one was a 6-shot revolver and the other used a clip — like a 9mm, Glock, things like that 2I don’t know what size it was — just picture a black handgun, that’s what’s important here.
Eventually, we pulled a similar trick on a few other houses — houses I didn’t know at all, but somehow Nick did his homework on — and then Pam’s house. I’m not sure how she never got in trouble for it, or if her dad so rarely used his gun that he didn’t notice he didn’t have it until years later, but Nick lifted her dad’s gun right out of her dad’s closet in the middle of an after-school party. I’m not trying to absolve myself of crimes by saying “Nick stole them!”, I’m merely saying he did all the work, and should get the credit. I barely helped beyond being a “lookout”, and occasionally carrying one of the guns if his pockets were full, or some of the ammo (which was rarely the case).
I didn’t know Nick’s master plan. I thought the dude just got off on stealing guns – the way I got off on stealing cigarettes, videogames, and porno mags. But, no, he was an enterprising young dude with other plans. Chris had an older brother that liked to look and seem tough. Picture every 80s film with a mullet-sporting dude in a Trans Am and that’s Chris’s older brother. Chris’s older brother — let’s call him Chad for some reason — also knew some dudes that wanted guns.
I remember when the DARE program was still going, the officer assigned to our classroom told us that “anything you’re looking for… you can find”. It seemed absurd at the time. I remember thinking “no, I’m in 6th grade. I couldn’t get heroin if I just went looking for it”. One of the big failings of DARE is that it targeted youth and told them way too much information. That’s one such piece. As it turns out, the cop was right. And I saw it happen right in front of my eyes.
I was hanging out at Chris’s place with Nick. Chad walks into the kitchen — next to the living room where we were — and gets a glass of water. Nick shouts from the living room “hey man, you know anyone looking to buy a gun?”. As it just so happened, Chad’s friend had asked him earlier that day “hey man, you know anyone who can get a gun?”. A deal was made. Nick mostly sold through Chad to Chad’s friends.
One deal, however, I was present for. Nick and I were hanging at his place and he told me he had to meet a buyer in one of the abandoned lots near his place, and that I should come along, in case — and I’m quoting — “in case shit goes down and I need backup”. I don’t know why I thought I was tough enough to handle this job, or maybe I was just flattered he asked. But we get to this field and meet a kid who couldn’t have been much older than us, maybe 15-16 at oldest. He was barely taller than either of us.
Nick’s sales tactic was to pull apart bullets in advance so there was no slug on any of the bullets in the gun — just a primer. This way, he could show off that “hey, look, the gun fires” but the noise wasn’t too loud (primers sound like little firecrackers, at best), and no one was in danger of being shot. It was during one of these demos, after Nick fired off two shots in the clip, aiming towards a wall in the back of the empty lot where we were standing. The kid scoffed “that’s not even a real gun, dude”. Nick said “oh yeah? take one in the face” and put the barrel at point-blank range from this kid’s face.
At that moment, all of my gun training instinct kicked in, and I grabbed Nick’s arm and pushed it down in one fell swoop just before he pulled the trigger. It made an explosive sound and a live round shot into the dirt less than a foot from the kid’s foot. We scattered like ants and ran in all directions.
Nothing ever came of it, no cops were called, no one got in trouble, and that kid never got his gun (at least, not from us). Nick tossed that gun into a dumpster on his mad-dash out of there. I haven’t a clue if that was the last gun he had to sell, or if he just gave up the selling game. But, that was the last time I joined him, and the last time I so much as heard about him trying to sell one.
Fucked-Up Gun Humor
This one’s a pretty short story. Though it occurred in the middle of the “Selling Guns” story above, it deserves its own mention.
One afternoon, we’re all hanging out at Pam’s place. Me, Ian, Chris, Nick, maybe a few others. This was the afternoon that Nick stole Pam’s dad’s gun. While most of us were out in her backyard swimming in the pool, Nick went inside to “use the bathroom” and snuck up into Pam’s dad’s closet. I went in to use the bathroom a few minutes later and I saw Nick in the kitchen, pulling the slugs off the bullets so this revolver was just 6 rounds of primers and casing. I asked what he was doing, given that Pam was just outside the sliding glass door. He said “you’ll see, man, this is gonna be hilarious”.
When I got outside, Nick was walking around her backyard, holding the revolver, waving it in the air, and complaining about his grades and his parents and saying “I’m just so fucking angry! I don’t wanna do this anymore!” and he ran inside with the gun. Pam ran in after him, and we followed her. Nick went into one of the bathrooms just off the side of the living room (where we were all standing) and continued shouting in the bathroom to himself. A minute later, we heard a bang! ring out. I knew that it was just the primer, but Pam screamed and ran to the bathroom, knocking furiously.
She didn’t get an answer, and Nick yelled out “Ohhh it hurts. Shot myself right in the stomach!”. He didn’t lock the bathroom door, so Pam went right in. He said “hey, close the door”.
While a few of the people in the house were freaking out, I showed them the drawer he’d emptied the slugs and gunpowder into, and explained that Nick told me “this is gonna be hilarious”. They were skeptical, but… Pam didn’t come running out of the bathroom covered in blood, or yell “call the ambulance”, and no other shots rang out, so we all just hung out in the living room talking.
Eventually, Pam emerged and it looked like she’d been crying. I said “are you okay?”, looked at Nick “what’d you do?”, and he said “NOTHING!”, laughing. Pam also laughed, and said “no, no, I’m not crying. I just got cum in my eye”. As she ran upstairs to clean her eyes, Nick said “maaaan… she sucks a MEAN dick!”. No one was laughing, but no one was concerned. He said “ah.. c’mon! let’s have a good time!” and then threw the handgun into his backpack and jumped into the pool.
I later asked Pam why she blew Nick in the bathroom after his “hilarious” suicidal gun scare. She said “ohhh I knew he didn’t shoot himself. Guns are louder than that. I just thought I’d go join him in the bathroom. The blowjob was my idea”.