Friday, March 18, 2005

Manhunt: Airgun woe


Kids with guns is A Bad Thing.

I wouldn't even give my kids a toy that fires caps, or even a spud gun. Heaven knows they only lead to the Hard Stuff, resulting in the parent's curse: maniacal teenagers. Such as myself, for example.

My parents were fairly responsible on this front. Access to deadly weapons was strictly controlled through youth organisations, and as soon as we got our brown shirts we were to march on Munich. Matty's parents, however, gave him anything he wanted, and he wanted air guns. They got him two. No good could ever come from this.

Did Matty ever use his weapons for the purpose designed? Did he ever put up small paper targets in a safe part of his garden and practice his marksmanship under the watchful eye of a responsible adult? Did he bollocks.

Anything and everything became a legitimate target. From mild mannered teen lunatic to gun-toting juvenile gangster in a matter of hours. In his defence hardly any windows were smashed at all, and he was such a bad shot that wildlife was particularly unendangered.

Matty's only problem was that he couldn't make up his mind if he was to be a cowboy or James Bond. So he was both, toting loaded air pistols round in makeshift holsters tied to his thighs before striking manly poses whilst singing the Bond theme. Badly. Most of these manly poses usually ended with one of us looking right down the barrel at certain death, or, on one occasion, holding the bloody thing the wrong way round and shooting a pellet right through the parting on his hair.

He was saved, I am sure, by the fact that he used the crapper of his two pistols. This one was a weedy little thing that couldn't put a hole through a sheet of paper. The other, mind you, was something evil and took a starring role in "The Day of the Jackal".

It had to happen sooner or later. There we were, loafing in his front room on a rainy afternoon, parents out at work in the days where you could trust your kids not to burn the house down while you’re out for the day.

“Which one shall I fire?" said Matty, fully tooled up, and waving his weapons around as usual. "This one or THIS one?” he said, firing both.

Pt-tang! Dang! Ker-spang! The first pellet whistled past my ear and bounced harmlessly off the curtains. Fer-tanananang! The second pellet bounced of several walls, a reproduction print of some elephants and a strategically opened door and embedded itself in my knee.

You know, I really, really hate getting shot, and had I been in a position to do so (and not writhing on the floor bleeding slightly) I would have told Matty so, before inserting his pistol up his jacksie, sideways.

Frankly, I'd had enough of that kind of toss, and crawled home to die.

Matty and Squagg, on the other hand, hadn't had enough, and went up to Twyford gravel pit lakes for a manhunt.

Fully tooled up and dressed like a couple of teen SAS members in baggy combats and trainers, they stalked each other, taking pot-shots through the long grass while anglers told them to fuck off.

I wisely stayed at home, waiting for the police to drop them off.

No ceremony, just two bleeding idiots, sans firearms, delivered into the bosom of their families for the bollocking of their lives.

The next day, a small Improvised Explosive Device saw to Matty's push bike. I couldn't possibly comment on the youth seen limping away with a manic grin on his face.

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