Joseph Trance

Turf Wars

      Let me be perfectly clear just so we have things straight. I'm not in law enforcement of any kind; not a cop or a security guard, or any of those professions that need to carry weapons.  As a matter of fact I live a pretty sedate senior citizen's life in retirement. I get up somewheres between 8 and 10 a.m., sit outside in my pajamas in my backyard, and feel the sun as I survey my red, orange and yellow flowers. I am shaded by full green trees and watch geckos run up and down and dart into the bushes and flower beds.                                    watch the race riot news, and fill up on the violence and political unrest that has seized the country, a feeling of nostalgia sweeps over me and I am brought back to another time in my life when I was all about homemade zip guns and wooden bows and atrrows. I remember fighting alongside my cousins against the​​​​the Slingshot Boys to protect the neighborhood.                 "Yes, dear reader,..  there was a time in my life when Iwas all ab​​​out guns, exploding bullets,and defending territory. "                                  I  was about 10 years old and ran with a gang of my four male cousins and younger brother. We were boys obsessed with making zip guns out of wood, rubber bands, clothespins and nails. We were also pretty good at making bows from pliable sticks and fishing line, and arrows from sharpened sticks, feathers and small slate pieces as arrow guides. We were in our element back then;  six boys with weapon toys ready to do battle with a   w would dare cross us.                                                          T          The Slingshots  were a gang of kids that lived about five blocks away. They were a few years older than us, known as "tough kids" and had a rep as slingshot makers they made the slingshots from bent wire hangers, duct tape and elastic bands. They had glass marbles for bullets that would shatter when they hit their targets.   My cousin Valentine was our ammo guy and he had found a way to attach the 'explosive' stuff from cap gun bullets to the slate pieces and paper clips that we would fire from our guns.     "Check out my latest bullet,"  he would say as he showed it with pride. He was also able to attach Fourth of July sparklers to the arrows and we would spend hours firing them into the star fillb ed sky by"oohhing" and "aahhing" at the sight.                                 " So it cametcame pass that we went to war one afternoon;  the battle of bows and arrows and zip gns against slingshots."   It had been building up:  a month of stare downs, name-calling, fist fights and threats. There were seven of them and six of us, and while they were a tad bigger, we had more  weapons and were the better man to man fighters. Bloody noses, a few cuts and scrapes and then the weapons came out. We were first to fire shots. One of  The Boys tried stealing my kid brother's bike and my cousin Burt fired the first warning shot from a zip ; slate covered with cap powder. It flew over the potential thief's head and hit the nearby wall. It exploded with a loud bang and left the powder mark on the wall. The thief yelled and took off.                                                           Things were  quiet for about  a week.                      "We showed them," my brother Gabe said.  Then the retaliation started.  Marbles coated with talcum powder flew past cousin Mike one night as he was walking home from the park. They hit a wall behind him and left him covered in talc dust : he looked like he had been rolled in flour. if he wasn't so mad it would have been funny. But we took it as a declaration of war. And we prepared for battle.                                                                                     "It's on, boys. They want a war... we'll give them one!" I said as we checked our stock of weapons.     They attacked one afternoon on a Thursday. They came into our territory through three entrance streets. We were in our garage clubhouse at the time but my cousin Joe had felt something in the air and put us on alert. He did it just before the first explosive marble hit the garage door.    We ran to gather our weapons as marbles exploded against the door. We left out the back entrance of the garage.  We came  up behind the Slingshots by  darting through the backyards of nearby neighbors. Val, Mike, and Joe came up behind them from the left, my brother Gabe and I came at them from the right. My brother, armed with bow and arrows fired a sparkler over their heads. They fired back and talcum powder filled the air as marbles exploded. I followed up with three explosive slate bullets that sent them running. My cousin Burt was waiting at the front and fired arrows at the ground as they ran past him dropping their slings as the went. We celebrated that night..telling exaggerated stories about how each of us was the bravest and if it wasnt for..(fill in my name), we would have lost the war.                                          And so ..while I..can't do anything about the violence that has gripped the country, and I can't do anything about the recession and racial strife, I can rremember with a smile the day I was part of  a gang of heroes and we had a Turff War and defeated an enemy named the Slingshots.

All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Joseph Trance.
Published on on 06/26/2020.


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