From Red Righter —-
Less than a dozen shopping days before Christmas, and Cuffs was in a tizzy. “I’d been on the pay phone all day, and I’m running outta quarters, he said, obviously annoyed.
“What’s the problem?” I asked, sliding into his booth at the North Street Hotel. It was early afternoon, the place was quiet, except for Cuffs’ grousing and grumbling and dark mood.
“I’m trying to buy my little nephew, Ralphie, a BB gun,” he said. “And I’m getting annoyed.”
Thinking that prices might be too high—or that every seven-year-olds’ weapon of choice was extremely hard to find this time of year—I pressed him to be more specific.
“Trying to do a good Christmas deed for a youngster has turned into a messed up ordeal, a bureaucratic nightmare,” Cuffs snapped.
Realizing I had no idea of the source of his aggravation, he looked up and asked, “Do you have any idea what you have to do to buy a BB gun?”
“I guess I don’t. Do I?”
“Right! You don’t!” said Cuffs. “I was talking to my friend, who got one at Tractor Supply, down on 40, and he said he had to show his license, or he wouldn’t be able to buy one. And they RECORDED his license in their computer when they made the sale.”
Shaking my head and snickering, I suggested Cuffs had heard wrong, or misunderstood, or his friend was exaggerating. “We’re talking a BB gun, here, Cuffs, not a M-16.”