I was in Alabama hanging out with some locals, where else but on a porch. The breeze stopped blowing and a cloud of flies descended on us.

Wayne, the old man whose porch we were sitting on turned to his friend:

‘Get the gun,’ he said, with a dribble of dip-spit into a Styrofoam cup for emphasis.


This being Alabama I assumed we were talking about an actual gun. I braced myself.

He came back from the truck with a bright yellow super-soaker looking thing, cocked it like a pump-action shotgun, and handed it to Wayne. The old man took aim at a big one on the windowsill, rubbing a hairy front leg on its eyeball. He switched the safety off and dispatched the fly to its maker in a burst of salt. He shot another one off the arm of his chair then returned to his spitting cup.

‘I play with this thing all the time,’ he said, ‘Why don’t you try.’ Wayne handed me the weapon. ‘Be sure to switch the safety off, that’s the only drawback, the safety.’

I gave it a pump and the massacre began.

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