Many years ago, Jo and I rented the third of three units a horizontal triplex – a converted motel, actually. We called it The Shithole. It was located in what at the time were the outer fringes of Seattle. We’d moved to The Shithole as a temporary place until we found better as we’d just moved back from a short stay in Minneapolis. We ended up staying in The Shithole for four years. We stayed so long because of the wonderful neighbors. There were Mac and Paulette, or course, and also Jamie and Sherry. Truly, it was like family. We enjoyed ourselves capitally.
Jamie was a toss-pot of the first water. If a liquid had alcohol in it, Jamie would belt it back with relish and gusto. On more than one occasion, Mac and I dragged Jamie back to his unit and droped him on his bed. Jamie was also an anti-gun type of guy while both Mac and I owned several guns each. On many of our get-togethers, Jamie would rant on about the evils of guns. But he did it with humor so Mac and I put up with him.
One afternoon, Jamie took the bus down to this favorite watering hole and got plastered. While there Jamie stuck up a conversation with some bar fly who made loud protestations about his fealty to The Lord Jesus Christ. Now Jamie, debauchee and drunkard that he was, also fancied himself as some sort of preacher or whatever. In any case, the two whooped and hollered such that the barkeeper asked them to leave. Now Jamie, for all his faults, was a generous soul so he invited his new companion home for dinner at The Shithole where they could continue drinking and Get Right With the Lord. And so they did.
This had gone on for several weeks when Jamie approached Mac and me as were having beers on the patio. Looking sheepishly at us both, Jamie said, “I never thought I’d ever ask this, but can one of you guys led me a gun?” Jamie explained that the night before, while Jamie, Sherry and the new friend broke bread, Jamie let slip that he and Sherry lived together without benefit of clergy. The new-found friend was aghast. “Thou livest in sin!” he bellowed as he rose from the table. For the next while, he denounced Jamie and Sherry as fornicators and denounced Sherry as a temptress and a Jezebel. To ice the cake, the new-found friend told our Jamie and Sherry they must be chastised and have their souls shriven. Jamie said Sherry was about to pee her pants, she was so scared. It took Jamie a good while to coax the fellow out the front door and once out, told the fellow to not call and not come by anymore. Slam went the door. End of friendship. But not quite yet. The fellow did in fact come by and he did in fact call. Like every night. He told Sherry and Jamie that their chastisement was close at hand and that he was to be The Lords instrument in delivering said chastisement.
That did it. Jamie called the police. After hearing Jamie’s story, the cops asked if the bar fly had taken any overt actions on the chastisement. No, said Jame. Well, said the cops, Jamie could get a protection order against the fellow but as the fellow had made no attempt to deliver the chastisement, they couldn’t arrest him. It was the following afternoon that Jamie asked for a gun.
I had an extra .380 which I lent Jamie after giving him suitable instructions on its operation. Thanking me with humble grace, Jamie went back home. Mac and I nodded in satisfaction that our position on self-defense had been vindicated in the eyes of at least this one anti-gun nut. A convert had been made.
That night, the re-fried Christian called again to inform Jamie and Sherry that the Instrument of The Lord’s wrath was about to come by for a visit. “Now you listen to me you fuckin nut”, Jamie roared into the phone, “I see your fuckin face around us ever again and I’ll blow a hole in your putrid goddamned head because now I’ve got a GUN! Now leave us alone!”
Well, the fellow did indeed leave them alone. He never called and never came by.
I told Jamie to hang onto the gun for at least six months, just in case. A few weeks later Jamie bought a .38.