Airsoft – Gwen Hilton

        You would shoot me first with airsoft guns when we fought. I thought about it a lot. Of course you would not shoot your brothers first. Of course I was an easy target as the fat friend, the slow friend, the asthmatic friend, the indoor friend, the friend who liked the idea of guns more than guns, the friend who wasn’t allowed to play with guns, the friend who knew real killers, the friend who got angry, the friend who lost without grace. It would be fun to shoot me. Lord knows I know. So you would shoot me first and when you are shot you are out. If you shot me first no one would suspect a thing. It’s hard to see where you’ve been shot when it’s just the plastic bbs, but once you upgraded to CO2 and eventually metal pieces we knew immediately. So sometimes you would say you’re out to avoid getting shot and get shot for cowardice. Or you’d go out and the shooter would claim they didn’t hit you so they had the opportunity to shoot you again. You could shoot someone as many times as you wanted while getting them out, but most of us had guns built for mid-range single shots. Eventually you got battery powered machine guns. 
        My mother only bought me the guns you could buy at Sports Authority. She didn’t like this hobby. She thought it was a dumb idea. She liked that it got me outside. She hated that I came back from my friend’s houses and it sounded like I was barking back what Fox News had filtered in during dinner in the background. She bought me a clear plastic orange tipped Walther PPK. She was worried I would get shot by a real gun. She was worried I’d taunt a real cop. I was allowed to have the Walther PPK because it was a pistol, which could justifiably be owned by me later in life for normal reasons. You had to get close, which makes you think about the killing. See the whites of their eyes. And it was James Bond’s gun. We have our spies in the family. It’s a respectable profession. If I had to be into guns it should be in a James Bond way. Kill discreetly. Kill only if you must. Kill because if you don’t you can’t save the world. You have to be serious about your guns. And while it’s bad that you like this, maybe you can remember what else makes Bond great. Women can name Bond girls too. And guns will only lead you to trouble. 
        When we got tired of shooting each other we’d go inside and play Conflict: Desert Storm or SOCOM on the PS2. Well that was with other friends. They’d play Battlefront 2 as well. Up all night shooting each other. Almost all my friends liked to shoot each other. Not each other. But they’re friends. And they all liked to shoot me. And I think I liked it too. But we’d go inside at your place and we’d play Modern Warfare or GRAW or Rainbow Six Vegas 2. 
        When I was shot out early I was thankful my eye had not been shot out or I was not hit hard in a spot where I’d be chastised for being injured. It was good to get injured and walk away early. You lose some, but everyone does. I would think about my uncle saying purple hearts are for pussies. I would think about the phrase you are what you eat. I would think about the chicken and the egg. I would think about how I’d spin this one day. You would shoot me first and I’d sit on the sidelines in the heat wondering why. I would think about the videos. I know you liked seeing people get shot with airsoft rifles in a different way. You paused on the zooms of welted asses. You would shoot me in the back when I lost in ping pong. Not just when I lost. Every time I lost a point. And ten when I lost in the end. I didn’t get to shoot you, but I didn’t have a ping pong table either. Take off your shirt. You would unpause and watch the hand smack the ass. Watch the ass jiggle. Watch the body bounce forward. Watch the left hand come from the left and slap again. Watch the woman against the wall like a speed bag. Watch her take it. Rewind. Watch the right hand slap the right cheek. Fugue state. Five hits on each cheek. Blood running. Shoot more. Listen to the plastic rattle. The click. The empty puff sound. The yips. The yelps. The moans. The gasps. The exhalation. The laughter. Zoom out. There are four women against a red wall chained to a pipe. It’s a set. 
        And I knew what we did so I wondered if you liked to shoot me because it felt good. More than just the good that shooting someone feels. It felt right. It was a way for you to do what you always wanted. I was jealous of that. I was far too young to get what I wanted. You get to do it. 
        When my uncle, the soldier, caught crabs from a toilet seat (I’ve seen some real pretty toilet seats), he called my uncle, the doctor, and asked what needed to be done. My uncle, the doctor, said that he must shave his body entirely. The crabs did not go away. My uncle, the soldier, the sailor, the hero, calls my uncle, the doctor, the pioneer, the visionary and reports this truth. My uncle, the doctor, laughs and he explains what creams are necessary to get rid of the crabs. My uncle, the soldier, visits my uncle, the doctor, at his job at a hospital during his residency or fellowship with that Boston school and beats him so hard the security try to intervene. My uncle, the doctor, tells security to stop because this is his brother. They hug. So I knew when men loved it was different. 
        I liked to shoot people, the few times that I did. I would get to shoot one person. Over and over. And over. And over. And over. This is not how we fight. Do you think there’s rules in killing? I’d like to think I got my one person more often than not. I got you once. Maybe only once. 
        We’d sit at the table discussing our final holdout from SWAT. We being all of us. Even the friends that weren’t friends with each other. If you got tired of zombie apocalypse posturing you’d build your own last man standing gravesite. The fantasies of young comfortable boys. I said if I knew I was going to get riddled with bullets anyway I should get just one guy, hopefully he’s everyone’s friend, and really make it count. They’ll have to live with it forever.