Joseph Trance

Guns Of My Childhood

I loved playing Cowboys and Indians with my brother Phil when I was about six .   The battles we would have, chasing each other laughing  while shooting cap guns with rubber bullets and firing rubber tipped arrows from a toy bow was a great  joy of my childhood.  It was exciting, fun and grew my imagination in ways I didn't realize.

     When I was twelve I made guns.  Not real ones with real bullets but
mine could still do damage.  They were made from wood, two nails, rubberbands, and a clothespin for a trigger. The nails were hammered  on the two by two, five foot long piece of wood.  Both were positioned three inches down from the top in a straight horizontal line,  like a goal post. A link chain of rubber bands hung from the nails and was pulled down and locked  in place by the clothes pin which was secured by rubber bands at the other end of the wood.   My bullets were placed near the opening of the clothes pin,  and would be shot when the pin was opened.


     At first I used  cheap rubber bands that weren't strong, and old clothespins that didn't close tightly.    For bullets I first used pieces of slate. As I developed more powerful guns by using stronger bands and smoother wood I felt my brain growing with ideas.  The longer the piece of wood, the more powerful the gun, and the further it would shoot.  I also experimented with different bullets.  I tried pebbles, rocks, marbles and other types of ammunition.  But the game changer were the  "cracker balls" ;  little round pellets that would make an exploding sound when you threw them at something and they exploded upon contact.  In time I made a groove in the wood so that the bullets had a straight path, enabling the gun to shoot more accurately.  I experimented making different groves;  longer, deeper, wider, and  smoother.

     Then one day, as I'm just looking at the groove trying to think of how else I could modify it, I had this thought that took my guns to a whole new level.  The store bought archery arrows lay very nicely in the groove and because they had feathers they flew straighter than any of my bullets.  I used a tape measure to determine the gun's range which was about 80-90 feet.

  But the biggest expansion of all was the "battery" gun.  It was basically twelve of my guns mounted on a slab of wood held up by two saw horses.  I could rapid fire them one at a time or all together by slamming my arm down on all the clothespins at once. I could fire a bunch of exploding bullets or arrows simultaneously.

When I was 22 I had a Fourth of July barbecue.  I had twenty friends over, and Phil had another twenty.   We feasted on hotdogs, burgers and chicken skewers, and ate baked clams.  We consumed bags of potato chips and pretzels,  drank sodas and beers and laughed about the "old days". As the sky darkened we all sat around a fire pit.   Phil and I recounted our Cowboy and Indian days as our guests listened and  laughed.

Phil sighed.  " Those were great times.  Wish we could go back. ". His eyes gleaned reflecting
the crackling fire.

" That reminds me.  I'll be right out." I said.  I raced into the garage, then pushed out the Battery Gun which was on its saw horse adjustable platform, now equipped with wheels. I had pre -loaded it with arrows with sparklers attached.

The crowd "ooohhed and "aaahhhed".  They clapped and smiled and laughed, and shook their heads in wonder.  Phil's face broke into a big old grin.

" You gotta be kidding! How did you...?  Where did you..? "

 "Childhood.". I said.

I positioned the gun at an upward angle.  I took out two lighters, handed him one.
" Ready, bro? "
He had tears in his eyes and the widest smile I'd ever seen.

Let's do this.". He said.

He held the lighter over the first sparkler and ignited it. We did the rest together.
 "Hit your six with an arm," like this. ". I demonstrated but didn't fire.  A burst of applause came from the guests.

   " On three, people. ". Our guests joined in: "ONE, ...TWO....THREE.!! "
The arrows flew and we lit up the sky with the sparkle of childhood memories.



All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Joseph Trance.
Published on on 12/19/2022.


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