Home Defense

Marla just didn’t understand. Bernie couldn’t give up his collection. He tried to explain it to her, but it was futile, he knew it.

“They’re not just collectables, Marla. They’re history. I would think you would understand that. You buy for a museum, you should be able to recognize history.”

“These are garbage, outdated weaponry. And this, this isn’t even loaded.” Marla picked up a heavy, oversize pistol from its display rack. Steel through and through, not the light plastic models currently in service. “Is this suppose to be some sort of home defense?”

“That is a .44 millimeter Desert Eagle! You can’t find that anymore!”

“Whatever.” She set the gun back down in disgust. “They aren’t history, they’re toys. You’re nearly thirty, Bernie. You shouldn’t be spending so much money on toys.”

“Why not? We can afford it!” They could. Bernie’s job as a sysadmin kept him up at odd hours, but it kept his collection—and his waistline—healthy.

“That’s not the point–”

“What other point could you have? I am decorating—”

“Decorating! Fine then! Why don’t you just put all our money into broken firearms, then?!?”

“Maybe I should! Better that than every shoe store in town!”

“Those pumps were a business expense!”

Bernie cell phone went off, just when he was about to say something particularly nasty. Work, calling him again, despite the late hour. Bernie told Marla he had to go, and she waved him off with a glare that told him that this wasn’t over.

That night, Marla found herself jerked awake by the sound of fighting in the living room. Suddenly, she heard a loud thud, and the fighting stopped. “Oh no,” she thought. “Bernie!” Gripping the Hiro Taninchi-autographed baseball-bat Bernie kept in the bedroom, she inched toward the door. The sight in the living room made her gasp loudly.

There was Bernie, holding the Desert Eagle in one pudgy hand and the dark shirt of another man in the other. The other man’s head rolled back, a bleeding cut on his forehead.

“Caught him trying to make off with our stuff. Bernie said. “Probably the same guy who ripped off the Whipplesteins down the street. Idiot should’ve known better than to come between me and my collection!”

Bernie proudly held up the gun for Marla to see. There was blood on its gargantuan barrel. “Home defense,” he said.

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