Notes On Arming Ourselves Against The

“You don’t have ANY weapons? How did you expect to defend the house?”

We shrugged. He pushed his glasses up his nose and it was easy to imagine him as a schoolboy – part-nerd, part-commando – shooting needlessly at neighbourhood cats.

He looked at us again. We shrugged again. He sighed. We were standing in a triangle in the kitchen. I wanted to put the kettle on and make us all a hot drink, but was worried I would be mocked if that was my sole response to the crisis. So I didn’t put the kettle on.

“We can use the kettle as a weapon,” I said. “We can boil water and pour it out of the window.”

“And there are lots of knives in the drawer,” you added. “Well, a few. We could throw spoons. The potato masher would probably hurt if you threw it hard enough.”

No, we were not very well armed.

“Didn’t you learn from last time?”

So we went around the house, all three of us, looking at the things we might feasibly use as weapons. A skillet. A fire extinguisher. A hammer.

“The iron.” I pointed at the iron. “It’s heavy. We could swing it by its flex. BAM! It hits them. We pull it back. Throw it again. No?”

“Pizzas?” you asked. “If we cooked these pizzas we could throw them and burn them in the face.”

Before now, we hadn’t stopped to think how dangerous we might be. Everything in the house seemed one bad intention away from serving as accessory to a murder.

We assumed he had a well-stocked arsenal at home – swords, axes, guns perhaps. How badly he must have been missing them! How he must have wished he could get to them! But he would have been a fool to try, even if we let him take the pizzas.

Eventually you asked him. “So what’s your favourite weapon?”

He seemed to relax as he began to list the guns he owned, as if saying the names brought a kind of protection. He had pistols, rifles perhaps. We weren’t sure about the differences. They all came with initials and numbers and it was difficult to distinguish one from the other. We tried to ask what we thought might be the right questions.

“So how far can you shoot with that one, then?” “Which one is the loudest?” “Can you use the same bullets for each? Or is there some kind of-”

It was getting dark outside. If we stayed indoors, kept reasonably quiet and didn’t do anything stupid, we would be ok.

“What do you usually do at midnight?” he asked. We shrugged. Nothing special.

So the three of us stayed up until dawn – or whatever was going to be the equivalent in this new world. Maybe we seemed a bit jaded. Yes, yes, we’ve seen it all before. Twice. We had some food stockpiled, of course. We were prepared for that at least.

We sat up, using up all our puns and jokes and funny stories so that we were ready for the coming seriousness.

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