By Bruce Mastracchio
(If you haven’t read Part One, find it here.)
Now, Guy’s gun looked just like a real gun. It was silver, and made a distinctive “POP” when the trigger was pulled. It looked, and sounded, just like a real gun.
In reality, inside, there was a roll of paper. When the trigger was pulled, the spike in the hammer hit the paper just right, producing the “pop.” Unlike a cap gun though, the paper rolled inside the gun, and did not come out as happened with the cap guns. After so many shots the gun would be opened and the old roll extracted while a new roll was put in.
No one had ever seen a gun like it, before or since. But, leave it to Guy to find things like that. Things other people had never seen or heard of before.
Now, here came Mr. Saltines up to the front of the station, where Guy was in a chair talking to a young teenager. There were a bunch of other guys hanging around out front waiting to see what would happen.
“What ya got there?” said Mr. Saltines, trying to sound cool for the day. “I’ve never seen a gun like that before.”
“This is a real special gun,” answered Guy. “It can do things no other gun can do. Want to see a little demonstration?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Saltines. “I believe I would.”
Guy directed the teenager to go over to the wall across the street. It was a broken down wall that stood in an empty lot (where the big glass dining room for Café Fresco is now) which, by the way, was owned by Guy.
Reaching down behind the wall the teenager came up with a green colored glass Coca Cola bottle (remember them?), and placed it on top of the wall.
“What are you going to do?” inquired Mr. Saltines.
“I’m going to shoot that Coke bottle off the wall without breaking it,” answered Guy. “Just going to nick it, cause it to spin, and knock it right off the wall.”
“That’s impossible!” spat out Mr. Saltines.
“Just watch me,” answered Guy.
Guy then made a big production out of getting ready for his “difficult” shooting task. Then – with reflexes quicker than Tom Mix – he raised the gun and fired a shot!
Sure enough, the bottle spun around and fell off the top of the wall. Guy directed the teenager to go set it up again. Mr. Saltines just stood there with a quizzical look on his face.
“Want to see it again?” Guy asked Georges P. Saltines.
“Why, sure,” came the answer from EG’s prominent banker. “Bet you can’t do it twice in a row.”
“Sure I can.”
And Guy took aim again. He pulled the trigger. The pop was loud, and sure enough the bottle spun around and down and off the wall once again.
“Now watch this time,” said Guy, as he had Mr. Saltines’ full attention. Guy stood with his back to the bottle and fired over his shoulder a la Annie Oakley. Bang! Same result!
He bent over and fired between his legs and the bottle toppled off again.
He sent inside the station for a mirror, and again, with his back turned and looking in the mirror, he fired once again. Again, the bottle spun off the wall without breaking!
Then he waited for a passing car, announcing that he was going to shoot through the window of the next passing vehicle. Then he successfully backed up his boast. Each time his teenaged assistant ran across the street and reset the bottle on top of the wall.
Mr. Saltines just stood there dumbfounded! He couldn’t believe it! He sputtered and sputtered and tried to gather himself to the height of his prominence, but he was looking more and more foolish, as each time he tried to debunk Guy’s try, Guy came through and “shot” the bottle off the wall.
Mr. Saltines was looking desperate and wanted to see Guy fail, but his wishes for failure were failing.
“And now! For my final shot!” Guy yelled, as everyone’s attention was fixed on his last act with the Silver Gun!
Guy made a big show of getting ready. He pointed the gun at the bottle. Then he slowly raised the gun and pointing it at the sky, he pulled the trigger.
The bottle spun around once more and fell off the wall.
“How did you do that?” yelled Mr. Saltines. “This can’t be real! There’s something fishy going on!”
“Just so happens I’m a crack shot,” said Guy, “but even a crack shot can use a little help every now and then.”
And, as all “the boys” cracked up laughing and busting on Mr. Saltines, a second teenager emerged from behind the wall. In his hands he held the green Coke bottle AND the string he had used to pull it off the wall each time he heard the distinctive “pop” of the paper gun!
Writer’s Note: This story is true! A name has been semi-changed to protect the gullible. But, I know the story is real as Guy was my father, Gaeton (or Gaetano), and the story was legend around Station One in the old days. He was quite the practical joker and his jokes took thought, planning, and creativity. Traits, I think, he passed on to me.
I spent a lot of my youth trying to duplicate his many practical jokes, and one time pulled off a similar sting involving the station, bumper to bumper beach traffic, a starter’s pistol and some packets of ketchup. It will be fodder for another story.
For now, live gently, care deeply, act kindly, love those you love and those who love you and never be afraid to give.
Remember it is family, friends, and the people you meet along the way who make up the story of your life!
Bruce Mastracchio grew up in East Greenwich, where he experienced those 28-hour days and 8-day weeks, which contained the magic that made his hometown so special. Included in all that were the numerous characters that added color to the local life and produced many of Bruce’s remarkable stories.