8:00 am. Clyde’s sign still not on but I push on the door anyway and it opens. Clyde is working on the Roanoke Times crossword, in ink, and does not see me come in until I sit next to him at the bar.
“Ain’t it time to turn that neon on Clyde?” I ask.
He looks at his watch and says, “Yeah, I suppose it is.” He turns his head and yells, “Rita! It’s time to rock and roll. Bunkie wants breakfast. And bring us both coffee. And turn on the news. And the sign.”
After the sign and the TV, Rita comes over with her little pad and a pen. I just nod to indicate I want the usual boneless chicken breakfast. She pours the two coffees and heads back to the kitchen to pass my order on to Chris.
Clyde looks down from the bar TV, CNN with the usual cast of people who know nothing except how to look good on camera, and says, “These people don’t know a clip from a magazine, trying to tell us that all assault rifles should be banned. Don’t they know they already are? And have been since Al Capone gave ‘em a bad rep years ago?”
“What do you mean Clyde?”
“I mean an assault rifle is either fully automatic, or selective fire. The dumbest of my recruits learned that in their first couple of days at Parris Island.
“What these politicians, liberals, and news folk call an assault rifle is actually your grandpa’s hunting rifle. Sure, it’s been dressed up a bit, like the guy who puts mag wheels and fancy paint on his ’57 Chevy, but that don’t make it any more of a race car than a black plastic stock makes an assault rifle.
“Look, it’s so simple a cave man can understand it. My AR 15 sends one bullet downrange each time I pull the trigger.
“Grandpa had a Winchester model 1905, one of the very first semi-automatics made. It was his Dad’s. Or maybe an uncle’s. Don’t matter, it’s mine now. It sends one bullet downrange with each trigger pull. Just like my AR 15. The AR 15 uses pretty much the same design and technology as that old Winchester.
“That old Winchester was sold to the public long before the military saw a need for such weapons, so don’t let people tell you that we should not be allowed to legally buy a “military weapon” when the military has historically been adopting civilian rifles. All the way back to the revolutionary war.
“You know what else they won’t tell you on CNN, or even Fox?
“All semi-automatic rifles work the same way. One trigger pull equals one bullet downrange.
“Just like Grandpa’s. All Semi-automatic shotguns do the same, one trigger pull equals one load of shot downrange. The same can be said about that Smith & Wesson 357 revolver that is always messing up the cut of your jacket. One trigger pull equals one bullet.
“A black stock and a pistol grip changes nothing except appearance, like the guy’s wheels on his ’57 Chevy. He could upgrade the stereo to one that plays CDs, or add an aftermarket air conditioning system, neither do nothing for the car’s performance. They just appeal to his idea of style.
“Next argument you get from them is magazine capacity. Let’s go back to that ’57 Chevy for a minute. It has a stock gas tank of about 15 gallons I’m guessing. He could increase that to 30 gallons I suppose, but all that gets him is a longer drive time between fill ups and a pee stop. No performance increase at all.”
I finished my eggs with a last swipe of the toast. I said, “Clyde, change that channel before you stroke out. I’ll be right back, gotta go home for a minute.”
“OK, Bunkie. I’ll make fresh coffee while you’re gone.”
I returned a few minutes later to see Rita pouring fresh hot coffee in my cup, Clyde still where I left him, though in a much better humor. The TV was now on Home Shopping Network, or as Clyde like to call it, “the sexy manicure channel.” Altogether a better choice given his recent rant.
“Clyde, you’ve been bragging all week that you got a hot date lined up for tonight, so I went home and got you one of these.” I tossed a little blue pill on the bar.
“What is this Bunkie?”
“Well, if changing the color of a rifle makes it more efficient, I figured a little blue food coloring would turn an aspirin into Viagra.”