Gun Guy, Knife Man

By Andrew Wilson

Wandering through the Mojave Desert on my Ducati, I stopped in a dusty barbeque joint off the highway.

Sweating profusely, I removed my helmet and surveyed the patio. A huge biker dude frantically gestured for me to come to his table—he set aside his coloring book and crayons when I got near.

“Wanna beer?” Thrusting his hand into a metal bucket, the man fished a Keystone from the icy slush. Tossing it to me, his attention shifted to the camera dangling from my neck.

“Any man that uses an old film camera is alright in my book.” The giant desert dweller’s headband made him look like a post-apocalyptic war chief. In front of him were a bottle of hard liquor, some cheese fries, and an assortment of other odd items. It was apparent he’d been there all day.

Curious and uninterested in being rude or turning down an ice-cold beer in the desert heat, I took a sunbaked plastic chair next to this character.

“Take it easy, man, have a beer. How’s your day going? My name is Brian.” Turning his attention to his coloring page, Brian absent-mindedly continued working; the color spread easily because the crayons were soft from the sun.

“I just come out here and take it easy, man,” Brian explained as if reading my mind. “What are you doing out here?”

“I dunno,” I responded, I had come out under the pretext of taking photos but was just wandering.

“You have kids, man?” Brian asked.

“No, you?” The question took me aback, but the beer was cold, free, and good.  So I stayed.

“Yeah, man, somewhere, I had a girlfriend; she had big ol knockers, man, but I couldn’t keep her.” Brian’s head slowly revolved, and his eyes rolled behind his sunglasses to the sky.

This man is insane.

Why not?” I took another sip of beer, too relaxed to care I was sitting next to a crazy person.

“She was in the CIA, man,” Brian returned to his crayons.

“Yeah?”  I humored.  Suddenly, in a flash, Brian produced a razor-sharp knife with a parachute cord handle. Alarmed, I shifted in my chair.

“You a knife man or a gun guy?” Brian inquired while turning the blade around in his fingers.

“Gun guy, I guess,” I answered, thinking about the piece on my hip.

“I used to be a gun guy; now I’m a knife man,” Brian said sleepily. “I met her in college, man.”  Brian’s head slumped.

“Oh yeah?” I was ready to go.

Then, snapping into total sobriety, he lowered his sunglasses to look me in the eye and said, in a severe tone.

“I was an electrical engineering major.” 

“No kidding?” I took a nervous sip of beer.

“Yeah, in this crazy world, you either a gun guy or a knife man,” Brian smiled, sunk back into his chair, dropped his blade on the table, and took up a crayon.

“You want a coloring page, man?”

“In this crazy world?  Why not?” I answered.

From the FE Films Archive

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