Every year it’s the same. The ads start slowly at first. You might see one in the paper in between the daily blurbs. Then a few more. Bigger ones. Then the TV joins in. Again, slow at first, but day by day they get more and more frequent, more and more loud and more and more obnoxious.
It’s gun show time.
The inevitable course of conversation between them, each jockeying themselves into their positions of defender and pursuer, every year, go on and on until one caves or one pulls a gun. Until one passive aggressive comment is the final straw. Until one sexual advance is met with a swift sword to the gut. Or simply until one can’t take it anymore.
Can we go.
Can we go.
Can we please go.
And so on.
But this year, something is different. For it is she who initiates this particular mind game foreplay and at first he doesn’t fall for it. He laughs at her. Like she would be offering to take him to the show, how stupid does she think he is?
Fine, she says. Stay here then.
I will. Have a lovely time.
I know it.
Such an idiot.
At your service as always.
And so on.
It’s the sound of Seras and her ear piercing squawking that gives him the first clue that something is going on. He calls for her but she doesn’t come. So he does it again. Nothing.
Making him get up out of his chair he makes plans to throw her through several walls. Upstairs in the foyer there is Walter, Integra, Seras and a few other people he can’t remember the names of nor cares to loudly debating something. They all fall silent when they see him and every pair of eyes turns and stares.
Leaving? And you―, he points at Seras but gets cut off mid scolding.
I told you, Integra says. We’re going to the gun show.
And you’re leaving me behind?
You said you didn’t want to go.
I thought you were lying.
Well, I bet you feel rather stupid now, don’t you.
She smiles and glares at him and he wants to throttle her right there.
So are you coming or not? I don’t have all damn day, she says.
Already disappeared into the floors below she can hear him say, Let me grab my glasses.
Integra. Buy this for me.
Not even an hour in, after nearly not getting admitted for bringing his own guns and discovering that metal detector technology has gotten so advanced it can find something being held in between dimensions, he finds it. He has to have it, it’s not optional. It’s perfect. Only, he finds with much rage he has no money on him. But his sugar mamma is sure to.
She sighs and puts her cigar on her lip and motions to the stout merchant wearing a baseball cap of some unfamiliar conglomerate and a flannel shirt tucked into his stone blue jeans to give her the gun. She takes the gun by the handle and flips it over and pops the cylinder and slams it back in and releases the tilt with one hand and flips it back over and hands it back to him.
I want it, why else?
You have your own guns, idiot.
He takes a step behind her and raises his arm over the top of her shoulder and holds it there, pointing the gun in his hand at the merchant's tent as he leans his face down and against her golden hair whispers, But not like this one.
I don't see what's so special about it.
He laughs. You don't see? Oh, my dear Integra.
Both arms over her shoulders and standing with his chest to her back, he takes her hand and places it on the grip and wraps his over it and aims it directly at the unamused merchant. I could show you, he says. If you buy it for me.
He leans over her opposite ear and says, Please. My Master.
She sighs and looks at the man behind the table and says, How much.
You're out of your goddamn mind.
Oh come on Miss, your, uh― the gentleman here, really seems to fancy it. It's a fine piece. How about fourteen seventy five. I'll throw in some rounds too.
The man looks at Alucard and says, And I'll toss in one of these polishing kits for ya, alright?
Alucard? No, Interga says. It is not done.
The merchant chews on his cheek and sits back in his brown folding chair and crosses his chubby hairy arms and looks at the gun then to them. Well, that’s my offer.
Make a better one.
Picking the gun back up he turns it over and puts it back down and cutting his master right off says to the merchant, What does it take?
The merchant is about to say something but the three are interrupted by a high pitch squeal of a woman yelling, Master! Walter!
Bags teetering in crossed arms and smashed against her ridiculous chest, Seras comes trotting towards them smiling. She stops and out of breath quickly says, Are you guys going inside? They have a ton of cool stuff. What are you doing?
Your master is getting a new gun.
Seras looks at the weapon still laying on the table in between seller and potential buyer. Wait, oh! I know that gun.
You're not getting one too, so forget it.
No, no, that's the exact same gun from that one Japanese cartoon master is watching, oh what is it called, Trigun?
No, he says.
Yes, yes it is. I've seen you watching it, this is the one.
No, you haven’t.
Sure it is, see? The design and the barrel are exactly the same. Is this why you got another pair of glasses like his too?
Seras, he says looking directly down at her making her take little steps back, why are you out here? Are you stupid? Of course you are, that's not even a real question, the real question is why aren't you inside waiting for me like I instructed you to.
Well, I was for a long time, but―
But? But what? Honestly, you couldn't be any more annoyingly useless.
Enough, get out of my sight. A hundred and fifty years alone and out of all the dying virgins in this world, I end up with you.
Go, I have no patience for your stupidity in the daytime.
Her bottom lip trembles and her red eyes well with tears before spilling out taking streaks of black mascara with them down her cheeks. She squeezes her bags tighter against her, turns around and cries out walking away, You don't have to be so cruel!
Honestly, he says.
Is this true.
Forget it, I'm no longer interested, he says to the merchant. Fourteen seventy five is too high. Let's go.
Hold it. I'll give you twelve for it and not one cent more and you will take it and be glad I don't report you for selling illegal weapons. Or just let the gentleman take it and kill you.
Perhaps the merchant took her threats seriously or perhaps it was the bizarre disturbing exchange that just played out in front of him, or a combination of both, the merchant leans down and takes out a pad of carbon paper laying on a white cooler next to the chair and places it down on the table. He pulls a pen out of his front pocket and looks on the side of the gun and starts writing something down on the paper. So, twelve, then?
Walter, pay the man.
Standing in the shade off to the side of the tent Walter walks forward and lightly bows. He pulls out his billfold inches thick and says, Of course, Miss Integra.
He chuckles and says, You have no idea.
So, what is this cartoon about?
His entire face and demeanor drop in a blink. Cartoon, he scoffs. I don't know what either of you females are on about.
He sucks his teeth and turns towards the convention arena and says, Women.
Normies would never understand. Sorry, Integra.