So, you want to talk to me about the gun thing, huh? OK. The Zap Gun, that's what I called it - from the book, you know? No? Well, anyways.
The first thing I want to get clear is - look, I'm no genius, OK? I mean, that's probably pretty obvious. But I'm no spook either. I'm not in league with aliens, there's no big secret government conspiracy. Well, I mean, there *might* be - in fact I'm sure there's probably hundreds of big government conspiracies - but *I* don't know anything about them. I just FOUND the damn thing, swear to God.
That's what amazes me, you know? I mean, here's this thing, this Zap Gun, you point it at something and POOF! it disappears, right? Now you'd think that would be kinda hard to swallow, someone telling you something like that, you know? But no, it's like "OK, a Zap Gun, makes things disappear, we can buy that, no problem. Where'd you get it?" "I found it." "Oh, sure you did. Now come on, level with us. Where'd you REALLY get it?"
Anyways. So there I am, walking up the street on my way home from work, minding my own business, trying not to make eye contact, you know? Normal day. And I see this fancy little gizmo lying on the ground by some garbage cans - looks brand new. Now, that's the other thing about the Zap Gun - I mean, I call it a Zap Gun, because it does what you'd expect a Zap Gun to do. But it's not a gun, really, looks more like a kinda chunky remote control with just one button, one end orange, the rest gray, looks like plastic except it didn't seem to be, but not metal either exactly, you know? Weird.
I just picked it up because - I don't know, I like junk, I guess. I always used to save thrown-out radios and things when I was a kid, I just thought they looked cool. Never tried to fix them or anything. And it's only got the one button, and I guess I just naturally pushed it. POOF! One of the garbage cans is just *gone*. No smoke. No marks. No noise, no big hole in the wall behind it. Just gone.
Now I don't know about you, but me, I saw that garbage can disappear, and two things came to my mind RIGHT off the bat - people and cats. Not that I have anything against cats in general, mind you. It's just that there were 5 of them in my house at the time, none of them mine, you know? I pictured the next time I'd come into the kitchen and catch one of them up on the counter eating the butter....POOF! Never did that, of course, my roommates would've been unbearable to live with.
What, why people? Oh, gimme a break - like you've never wished you could make some moron just go away? Some guy who cuts in front of your car with about half an inch to spare? Some loudmouth at a bar, somebody who won't shut up at a movie, someone in front of you at a concert who's just too tall? I bet everybody thinks about how nice it'd be if they could just vanish people sometimes. The first guy I tried to use it on, though, it didn't work. That's how I found out it doesn't work through a TV picture. You have to actually BE there. If I'd had the money for an airplane ticket, I tell you...
Anyways, though, I started playing around with it a bit. Amazing little gadget, really. See, the thing is, remember how I said there wasn't any hole in the wall behind the garbage can? Somehow it could tell *exactly* what you were aiming at - what you thought should go away. I guess it picked up what "garbage" meant from the back of my mind somewhere. I mean, I could point the thing at my desk, press the button, and only the EMPTY cigarette packs would disappear! Amazing. Took like 30 seconds to clean my whole room.
So I started carrying it around with me, you know? Just in case. I didn't want to disappear people at random or anything, I figured I'd wait for someone deserving to come along. And in the meantime, I just started... playing with it, I guess you'd call it. Whole big things at first. Those goddamn Tanqueray ads - POOF! BMWs blocking the sidewalk - POOF! That kind of thing. Then I got to thinking. I didn't have to make a whole *person* disappear, or a whole car. I could just zap their tires, say. Or their shoes. Or their pants.
Oh, so you've heard a bit about this already, huh? OK, OK, I admit, the nightclub stunt was pretty childish. But believe me, it was just too tempting. And it was *hysterical* - not to mention a little revolting. It's probably just me, but most guys are not meant to be seen in bright lights without any clothes, you know? Still though, one minute, all these big mosher dudes jumping around on the floor, next minute - POOF! they all looked like earthworms or something, all redfaced and doubled up and running off to the sides. Hah! I actually kinda admired this one guy who was on his way to the bar and just kept going like nothing had happened. I think he was just probably too drunk to notice, though.
Look, I wasn't trying to fight crime or save the world or anything, you know? Really, I was just having fun. Spent a whole day playing Fashion Cop at a mall. That was *definitely* worth it. I mean, usually when somebody says, "That shirt has got to GO," they can't DO anything about it. Me? "Whoah, pink and orange plaid!" POOF!
All this time, I'm still running into the usual amount of idiots. On the bus, on the sidewalk, at the bank, wherever. But I still hadn't zapped anyone. I would think about it, and what kept coming to my mind was their girlfriend or boyfriend, or their mother or father, or their roommates or friends - always, somebody calling the police day after day, worried, maybe crying - you know? I dunno. Maybe sometimes, what I resented most was the way the biggest morons seemed to always be saying "Hi!" to somebody or other - and of course totally ignoring everyone else regardless of whether or not they were blocking a light or standing on your foot or whatever - but still. It's a big thing, you know? Making someone disappear. Not for *them*, but for everyone that doesn't disappear.
I'm sure there are people around who really truly DESERVE to disappear, no matter who's going to miss them - really bad people, you know? I know they're around. I just don't know any of them personally. And it's not the kind of thing you can guess about. Or ought to guess about, I suppose I mean.
And who else was there? Homeless people? Yeah right. I think the Mayor's doing that job already. Actually, though, I asked one guy about that. He was kinda piled up against a pillar underneath a freeway overpass, under all these blankets and papers and stuff. Looked pretty miserable - and stinky, Jesus he was stinky. Anyways, I told him I'd give him 5 bucks if I could ask him a question. He just took it and kept looking at me. I said, "Do you like being alive?" "What?" "Do you like being alive - I mean, like, here, now, like this?" He stuck the money inside his pile somewhere and said "I do now." Which made sense, I suppose.
Then after a while, it all got to be, well - normal. Boring, really, or at least, no more exciting than anything ever had been anyway, you know? Sure, recycling was easy, that sort of thing. Big deal. And one night, well, I guess I finally found someone to vanish that I knew wouldn't object. You know?
That's how I wound up here in Jersey. Found out that everything had really just been showing up in the parking lot out back all along. I guess it was the cars that made somebody realize something weird was going on, and that's how come all these government types were already here when I showed up.
Me? No, I don't know, really, what's gonna happen. I kinda expected to be locked up in prison or committed to a loony bin or something, I suppose. That's what I was saying before, who'd have ever thought people would take a story about a Zap Gun seriously? But I guess they'd been watching ugly clothes and whatnot showing up out of thin air here for a while, so they were kinda used to the idea. They still don't believe I just found it, I think, but I guess they're not worrying about that right now.
Mostly they've been trying to figure out where the gun thing is and who has it. Someone had it for sure, things were showing up again, and not the same kind of stuff I was zapping. I was helping them for a while, sort of, they'd ask me questions about why somebody might have made this or that thing disappear. Like anyone has to really *guess* when a leather bra shows up, you know? Jesus. But they had all these FBI-looking types and psychologists and sociologists and whatnot here too. Even that guy from New Mexico who studies people's garbage, or someone who worked for him anyway. Weird what people get paid to do sometimes.
Now, of course, it seems to be mostly police types, since that kid showed up. How's he doing, anyways, do you know? Yeah? Well, I guess that's good, good as can be expected anyway. Jesus, how old is he, what, 6 months? 8 months? Man. I haven't really been able to find out too much since that happened, I don't know what else has shown up. Maybe somebody who should have BEEN zapped got the Zap Gun instead. That could get pretty fuckin ugly. You never know, though, you never know. It's too damn easy to point and click that thing. You get tired, maybe you get drunk, something starts really driving you crazy - POOF! Gone. I wonder if maybe nothing's shown up since. Maybe they'll never find it now. Maybe it's at the bottom of a river somewhere.
Thing is, you imagine something impossible like the Zap Gun, you think, man, if I could do that, if I had something like that, whatever, it'd change my life. And it doesn't, really. Doesn't at all. You know?