“It’s the only safe place for it.” Toothless Bob tapped the bulge under his arm. “Either I’m wearing it or it’s under my pillow.”
Simon nodded, stroking his, which was on to his belt.
Toothless Bob continued, “You’re not a drinker are you? No. Well drunks are your main danger. But if you’re not wearing it, you never know who might get hold of it. Then you’re stuffed.”
Simon nodded. “Stuffed,” he agreed.
It was late afternoon. We were drinking beer on the veranda of Lola’s bar on Scalds Avenue. Children were walking back from school, field workers were clumping by in wellington boots, bare blade machetes hanging from their belts, scurrying scallywags were hustling strolling tourists, housewives were shopping, bootblacks were looking for shoes to clean, office workers were heading home.
“Yes” said Bob, sucking his dentures back onto his jaw and lifting his sweater extracted the 9 millimetre automatic from its shoulder holster, “If you haven’t got it on you, what have you got it for?” He popped the magazine out from the handle and aimed the piece across the street, squinting along the barrel. “Do you know how to hold one?”
Simon leapt to his feet, whipped his .45 from its belt holster and adopted a filmic pose. Bob didn’t look at him but said quietly, “Unload it, Simon.” Simon’s pose collapsed into a slouch, and he touched the catch which sent the magazine flopping into his hand.
A local bus ground its way down the narrow street squeezing the citizens to the gutters. Faces peered in dull interest at the two crouching men, their automatic pistols, clutched in the two handed grip, pointing into the bar.
“Never mind that one armed aiming nonsense,” said Bob. “What you want is not to be knocked over.”
Simon danced behind Bob, trying to reach his gun hand.
“This way,” Bob went on, his aim steady as he swayed away from Simon, “no one can grab your gun and you’re firm as a rock and you know you’re pointing in the right direction ‘cos you’re square on to your target.”
Both men relaxed, replaced their magazines and reholstered their guns.
“Have you got that?” Bob asked me.
I said yes and we had another beer.