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Kids with Guns

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Harry and I tried our new gun out on a wall in his room. I
pumped up the air pressure injection valve, aimed, and pulled the
trigger. The recoil sent me flying back. Harry and I examined the hole
in the wall. It was a vertical line, but it seemed as though the
projectile went through with no problem. Looking through the hole, we
could see a razor-sharp piece of metal in the next room about ten feet
in. That was good enough for us.

The two of us exchanged knowing glances, and ran at a mad dash to the
elevator and from the elevator to the roof of the apartment. Once
there, I held the gun at my side and said, "Who shoots first?" Because
it was the middle of winter and the middle of the night, I was
seriously regretting my choice of jacket.

Harry thought about my question for a second or two, then said,
"Well, it was your idea. And you did go for the actual gun. So I guess
it's only fair that I go first."

"I agree. Wait, what?"

Harry jerked the gun away from me and pumped it up. He then aimed at a pigeon on a dive and fired. The bird's gray feathers became suddenly
red, and the bird plummeted.

I was genuinely impressed. He hit it on his first shot. "Let me try," I said.

He tossed the gun to me and I caught it in midair. I gave it a few
quick pumps, put the sight to my eye, and fired at another bird. The
bird's wing was clipped, and due to the great size of the round the
bird's wing became completely useless. It tried to flap with its
untouched right wing, but it was to no avail. The bird went down.

"Not bad Ardent," Harry said, "but you only hit the wing. I hit my
bird right in the heart!" Harry sauntered over to me and I handed him
the gun. He quickly pumped it, put the sight to his eye and said,
"Watch the master." Something flew through his line of sight and he
pulled the trigger.

I eyed his kill suspiciously. It was clearly too far away to be as
big as it was. And it was not plummeting even though Harry hit it
square. "Harry?"

"Yes, Ardent?" he said with a grin.

"I don't think that was a pigeon."

He gave me a funny look. "What do you mean?"

I stammered, "That looks more like a… blimp."

"So you're saying that I just shot down a blimp? With people in it?"

"Yes."

"Oh." Simultaneously, we screamed our terror. "This is all your
fault!" Harry accused.

"My fault?" I replied, shocked. "You shot the blimp!"

"Yeah, but you handed me the gun. You definitely get more blame here."

"How? If a drunk driver crashes into a bunch of pedestrians, do you
sue the chairman of Ford?"

"If an old beggar shoots a man in the head, who gets more blame? The
lifeless shell of a person without a penny to his name, or the
millionaire who took advantage of him and paid him to commit murder?"
Harry's eyes flared.

My mouth was moving, but no words were coming out. But after a
second, I replied, "Wait, why would a millionaire hire a beggar as an
assassin if he wants someone dead? Wouldn't he hire, you know, like, a
professional?"

"Ardent this is no time for making jokes!" Harry scolded.

"Oh yeah? Well this is no time for not making sense!"

"This is so the time for not making sense!"

"This is so the time for making jokes!"

Harry paused in his banter for a moment, then muttered, "I'd sue Ford."

"Why?"

"I don't know!" Harry began pacing. Then he started speaking at a mile a minute.
"Listen Ardent. We know nothing about this. That kid never sold you
the shrapnel gun. We never took a shrapnel gun onto the roof of my
apartment. We never fired at a blimp with a gun. None of this
happened, got it?" His breathing was heavy. I soon realized that mine
was too.

"Agreed." I said.

"We're only twelve. Far too young to be murderers! I'm too young to
go to jail, Ardent!"

I gasped. "You think we could go to jail? You think those people
could be dead?"

Harry gave me a look. "Get your priorities straight."

I nodded.

"Never talk me into something like this again, you hear?"

"Agreed. This is the last time I'll ever suggest anything fun to you."

"Not quite that extreme Ardent. You know what I mean. Hide that gun.
NEVER let anyone see it, whatever you do with it. Don't drag me down
with you. You always have a knack for getting us into trouble,
Ardent…"





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