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A Lesson in Assault Rifles 

(Backstage at a wrestling match, South Broadway Athletic Club)

Then Steve and I passed through the roomful of enormous fellows dressed in their obtrusive costumes and into another room, where two young men dressed in ordinary street clothes sat at a fold-out table beneath a dim light, playing cards and smoking cigarettes. Steve introduced one as an expert on automatic weapons.

It didn't take long for the kid to twist his baseball cap brim-backward and begin an enthusiastic pontification on the thorny subject. Turns out the automatic weapon of choice for the aficionado is the M15 something-or-other with a clip of 75 rounds of Hooligan-brand silver-capped three-quarter-inch heat-sensored impact-exploding bullets, designed and manufactured by the now-defunct Kopek-Balugua government between May and August of 1978; also a special doodad that modifies the gun to exceed the regulation three bullets per whatever.

There ensued a prolonged spasm of dangerous gesticulations: visual demonstrations of yanking clips out of invisible guns and proper stances and letting a blast rip at some invisible enemy. I stared at the kid's hands. Few things demand one's attention like an aggressive dissertation on the formidable destructive power of an assault rifle, illegally modified.

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