“Papa, I need a gun. Do you know where I can get one?” Raymond asked.
“Iliana” Raymond’s father said to Raymond’s mama, “why don’t you take a walk. Maybe talk with some of those women down at the laundro-mat...the ones who talk for hours. Raymond and I need to talk man-to-man.”
Much to Raymond’s surprise, his mother picked up a full laundry basket and left the apartment without a word.
“Sit here.” Raymond’s father commanded as he left the kitchen.
He came back a minute later and put a gun, holster, magazines and ammo on the table. “This is what you need.”
His father picked up the pistol. “This is how you drop the magazine.” showing him the lever and catching the magazine as it dropped out of the well in the handle.
“This is how you remove the round from the chamber.” he said as he racked the slide.
Raymond picked up the gun and looked at it. “Taurus? A bull?” Raymond asked.
“A Millenium 9mm G2. It will do everything you need it to do.” the old man said.
“Thanks, dad.” Raymond said with a heartfelt voice. “But I only need the gun, none of this other stuff.”
The old man was offended. “What good is a gun if you don’t have it with you? The holster is at least as important as the gun.”
Raymond looked at the holster with distaste. It was an unweildy looking affair of leather and plastic. Even the name, Cross-breed, seemed vaguely insulting. It did not seem possible that such big device could be worn without it showing.
“It goes inside your pants waistband.” his father said. “Put it on.”
Raymond looked askance.
“That is why I shooed your mother out of the apartment. A grown child doesn’t want to pull down his pants in front of his mother, does he?” the old man said.
“I cannot wear this.” Raymond said after he put it on. “The leather bites into me.”
“It is leather. It will mold to your body given a few days of wearing. The sweat will soften it and it will reshape itself. That is why the holster maker chose leather for this part.” the old man said.
“Ten times a week you must dry-fire the pistol. Drop the magazine and live round from the chamber. Ten times a week, pull the pistol out of the holster and dry fire it at a target. Do it in the dark. Do it when you are tired. Do it with whatever clothes you have on.” the old man said. "You might only have time for one shot, so teach your muscles how to do it without you thinking."
“But what if it doesn’t work with some of my shirts?” Raymond said.
“Get rid of those shirts.” the old man said.
“Carrying a gun cannot be a some-time thing.” he said as he lifted up his shirt and showed that he was carrying an identical gun and holster, even as they spoke.
Raymond grunted. He opened up the box of ammunition...Gold Dots, whatever that meant...and exclaimed “Papa, these bullets are, like a hundred years old. They cannot be any good.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” the old man said. “They worked fine last night.”
Raymond stared at his father.
“Did you have a visitor last night?” Raymond asked.
“Yes. Unlucky for him the dog next door barked.” the old man said.
“That dog barks at everybody.” Raymond said.
“Perhaps. But if you listen you can tell the difference between ‘Neighbor, I am keeping an eye on you’ and when a dog is really raising alarm.” the old man said. "The dog woke me up."
“I had my gun in my hand when he came through the door. I waited for him to close the door before I shot him.” the old man said.
“And this little gun stopped him?” Raymond said, amazed.
“It will if you shoot him twelve times.” the old man said. “Your mother and I threw him off the balcony.” he said by way of explaining how they disposed of the corpse. “That is why she is not talking to me. She had just finished cleaning up the mess. Next time she wants me to wait until he is not standing on the carpet before I shoot him.