Monday, July 12, 2010

Gun show weekend fun

Ever since I was a little kid I have always liked going to gun shows. They aren't what they used to be, but remain a guaranteed 'must go' for me after all these years.

Sometimes I am looking to buy. Sometimes I am looking to sell. Sometimes I am just looking. A good gun show is its own little world, full of good deals, things you won't see anywhere else, and a uniquely American oasis of...dare I say, escapism?

Plus the people-watching opportunities at a gun show are quite bountiful.

But enough waxing poetic. Saturday I was in selling mode. I collect, but I've never been one of those collectors who just buys and stashes. Sure, I have some stuff I with which I will never part, but I like for my collection to see the light of say once in a while.

Turned out to be a good day for selling. I had 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter with me so I only took one gun with me. They like going--I always buy toys for them--but it's a bitch carrying more than one military rifle over my shoulder while simultaneously having to hold my little girl's hand and keep her brother within reach of at least my voice.

I did not see hardly any examples of the rifle I brought (a $120 Yugoslav SKS I bought 6 years ago) for sale among vendors and the few I did see, were astronomically priced. Always a good sign!

Right away dealers tried to lowball me. Told them my $300 asking price, which they said was fair but offered me about 60 percent of. I'll keep looking, I said, and kept walking. Other gun show patrons were next, and the offers got better but still not close enough to my price.

A guy (kid really) who I guessed to be about 20 asked if he could check out my rifle, said he'd never seen one like it before. That's a big part of the gun show thing: talking guns, showing off your stuff and shooting the shit (figuratively haha) so I let him look at it.

As I checked him out closer I noticed the sideways ball cap, gold chains and a distinct whiff of patchouli oil?? Plus denim shorts that were half-hanging off his ass with boxer shorts sticking out at the waist. Oh and a hip-hop ringtone on his cell that went off twice while we were talking.

Said he was looking to get something cool-looking and asked how much ammo it held. Ten rounds, I told him, and it's a quick reload. I like the armor-piercing ammo best and right now it's relatively cheap so I can afford to shoot when I like.

"Cool, G!" (yeah he really called me that) "You wanna sell it?"

Nah man, I just bought it.

My kids and I kept walking. I caught a call on my cell phone later, and it was a buddy I've known since college who lives 4.5 hours away. He's an even bigger gun nut than I am: his collection is in the hundreds and dwarfs the couple dozen guns in my closet. Said he was not going to be able to make the show that day, but wanted to bring his 8-year-old son and come visit me and my kids. Said he was going to bring some Russian movies on DVD we could watch while our kids ran amok elsewhere in my house.

I was pumped! I'd not gotten to see him in like 6 months and he was on his way up from an even more rural corner of Alabama than mine, to hang out with me. He doesn't like missing gun shows either but over the years they have served as a great excuse for us to hang out.

By that point my kids were still hanging in there. Bought my son a fancy slingshot with an wrist stabilizer (must a person have a penis to fully appreciate how cool those things are? haha) My daughter got some extremely intricate colored marbles from the table of a old cat who's a gunsmith. Since he retired from his job making military machine guns, he's taken up making decorative glass items. His wife sells that stuff at the table next to him.

My daughter has always loved those fancy marbles. The guy's wife never got around to telling me how much they cost, because all she wanted to talk about was about how beautiful my children were. I ended up just giving her a $5 bill and she let my daughter take all the marbles she could stuff into her pants pockets. And then instructed me to fill up one of the pockets of my jeans with them, too.

We thanked her profusely. The old cat and I talked briefly about the state of the nation's firearms laws and politics as it pertained to our hobby. The kids were getting a bit restless at that point so it was time to start back walking.

I re-shouldered my rifle, backed up and bumped into somebody. Actually, it was somebody who bumped into me: a 6-foot-tall blond woman about my age with legs as long as mine.

Wasn't the first time I'd seen her that day. Earlier she had been walking around with a guy who looked a tad younger than her, and was a good bit shorter than her. He was wearing a camo T-shirt, work boots and looked to have had a wad of tobacco in his mouth.

She'd had that dazed, bored look that you only see on the face of a woman who is being a good sport, going to a gun show she cares nothing about, only because her man was going. We'd made eye contact, smiled as we passed each other, and she'd looked down at my kids.

She apologized for bumping into me, and I said aw no problem, I could be bumped into by a lot worse around here, and it's not every day I get bumped into by a woman who could wear my jeans!

She laughed and said, well, not every day do I see a guy who wears jeans that have a bigger number for the inseam than the waist! Then she looked over her shoulder, looked back at my kids and said, I know those gorgeous children are yours, aren't they?

I was more than pumped. First, I'd made the ballsy jeans remark and she topped me! I probably blushed. Right about that time, the guy she was with came walking back from a table full of deer hunting gear and said he wanted to go look at something else. His girl and I swapped looks one more time, and the kids and I kept walking.

It was about that time I started to not really give a shit anymore about selling the SKS. The kids' queries of, "Is it time to go yet?" became more frequent so I started working our way toward the exit.

Before we made it out, a guy about my age at a dealer's table said hey, man, you want to sell that SKS? I stopped and said, I'll take $250 for it. As he checked it out he said he'd not seen any like it in quite awhile.

I let him take it apart and check the internals. While he did that I talked with an older gent who I figured to be his dad, and noticed a girl who looked to be about 22 behind the table, too. She had the youthful good looks of a country-girl cheerleader type who could either charm any guy she wanted, or kick his ass! haha

The dealer wanted my gun, I could already tell. He started talking about hating selling the one he'd had, because now he wanted to give his daughter one (looking over at the girl described above) He handed it to her and she shouldered it, aimed it at an imaginary target in the rafters, and rubbed her fingers on the metal and wood of the gun as she checked it out.

Guy asked me would I take $200 for it? Nah, I said, I have a good price on it and I don't want to just give it away. Right away a show visitor behind me piped up, well if he won't pay your price, I sure will! THEN the guy I took for the dealer's dad said, well I'll get in line at that price too!

He said, Come on, you can tell she wants it! (looking toward the young girl who must have been his granddaughter) The dealer hung his head and laughingly said, yeah, y'all got me, I see how this is. And gave me $250.

I put the cash in my wallet and thanked him. Started telling the girl about the gun's features (she was already holding it and checking out her new gun) and got about 10 seconds into it before she looked up and said with gleaming eyes, Oh thanks, but I know how these things work! And with one last smile, the kids and I were out of there.

Can't wait until the next gun show weekend.