I own a pistol. It’s true. My dear friend Susan gave it to me as a gift. Granted it’s plastic and I don’t have bullets for it, but I’ve learned how to use it.
Truth be told, I have only ever aimed my gun at one person, and she’s not even real. Mean Barbara is actually only a voice. She sits on my shoulder and says awful things like “That’s the lamest sentence you’ve ever written,” or “Are you kidding? You call that prose? My dog could write better dialogue than you and his vocabulary consists of one word: woof.”
Every writer knows Mean Barbara or someone like her, though they might call that voice something else. I don’t think anyone would mind if her “kind” went the way of the dodo bird or the mastodon. As far as I can tell, she serves no useful purpose.
When Mean Barbara’s jabbering gets too loud, I pick up my weapon. It is surprisingly weighty. The barrel and bullet chamber is a flashy faux silver and the handle is tree-trunk brown replete with bark-like grooves. The tip of the barrel is encapsulated in crimson plastic, no yawning hole where a bullet might escape. Still, Mean Barbara must be intimidated by the bold,Valentine’s red — either that or it’s the satisfying click that escapes when I pull the trigger — because somehow when I point my pistol over my shoulder, that niggling voice grows still. I suspect someday she’s going to figure out that my gun’s a fake. Until she does, watch out Mean Barbara. I have a gun and I know how to use it.