Lowell and Perry have just finished a difficult investigation involving a former police officer who had taken the law into his own hands, and his wife’s life along with it. Perry is morose. “People keep killing each other,” he complains. "Over nothin'."
“That’s because they have easy access to deadly weapons,” responds Tony, lighting his customary micro-dose of cannabis. Perry waves it off. “Used to be just fisticuffs, or a few sharp words. Now they use sharp objects.”
“Or firepower,” admits Perry. That’s a big admission for him. He’s NRA all the way, and has a weapons depot to prove it, in his barn and basement. Which is ironic, as Tony Lowell often points out, because Perry was trained very well in Special Forces to kill with his bare hands. That said, he’s basically a very peaceable guy, he just loves his guns. He wants to show Lowell the latest. A Ruger .38, actually an antique, but in perfect condition. “It reloads the old fashioned way,” he boasts, proudly, popping the clip out and back to demonstrate. “It can’t possibly shoot more than ten people at a clip.”
“That's reassuring.” Lowell waves it off. He’s a former Seal himself, but he hates guns. He’s seen too much of what they do. Especially, to people, for whom most were intended. Like this Ruger.
“Look, if that joker’s wife had one of these, she’d still be pole dancing at the Clam Shack,” Perry points out, defensively.
“Maybe,” replies Lowell. “But cops get a lot more practice at shooting than wives, usually. He’d of grabbed it out of her hand and shot her with it instead of just strangling her, that's all.”
“Huh.” Perry doesn’t want to think about that.
Lowell changes the subject. “Speaking of shooting, did you read about the kid who shot a croc down in Everglades? Except, she wasn’t. It was all legal, though.”
“Hold on.” Perry takes a long, thoughtful toke, like the peace pipe his ancestors once smoked, with this same herb inside. “She wasn’t what?”
Lowell looks up from where he was watching a crab scuttle away past the pier piling at his dangling feet. “She wasn't a crocodile. She was a woman.”
“A kid shot a woman in Everglades? Why didn’t I hear about this?”
“He was only fourteen. She was sunbathing. He said he was sure she was a croc, on account of she was lying down.”
"Maybe she was. That's never wise, in Florida."
“Oh, like sunbathers are supposed to never lie down now?”
“Not in National Parks. Besides, it’s legal to carry guns in there now, so what’s the point of not usin’ ‘em? So where was this?”
“At a state park campsite, near the Straits."
Perry nods. "There’s a lot of crocs down there, man.”
Lowell shakes his head, just trying to envision the scene. “She was a lovely woman, apparently. Left a husband and daughter.”
Perry looks doubtful. “Except for she resembled a croc.”
“Easy mistake to make, no doubt."
"The kid was probably just in a hurry. Jumped the gun, so to speak. Accidents happen, man."
"Perhaps he didn’t notice her purple polka dot yellow bikini.”
“That could happen. Like that kid in Washington who shot a hiker. Thought she was a bear. She was wearing orange, too."
"Well, Bikinis are kinda hard not to notice, especially when you’re a fourteen-year-old boy.”
Perry shrugged. “So how did he get out there? Into the Glades?"
"His grandpa. An old boy from way back. I gather gramps is devastated, though."
"Yeah, he won’t be able to take the kid hunting again ‘till next year.”
“Really? That's it? No hard time for, say, manslaughter?"
"Nah. He was just a kid." Perry throws a stick in the water.
"A kid with a gun." Lowell stirs an eddie with his toe. "One thing I don't understand," he says, at last. "I thought it was illegal to shoot wildlife in national parks, anyway.”
“Well, technically that’s true, but what’s the point of having a gun if you can’t shoot sometin’?” Perry points out.
“So it’s all legal. Except the girl part."
"Maybe some community service or somethin'. But the lawyers are workin' on that."
"So what's next? People can carry a gun everywhere?”
“Except to school. But they’re working on that.” Perry chuckles. “Anyway, boys will be boys. You gotta give ‘em some slack.”
Lowell nods. The sun is getting low. Mullet are jumping. Almost time for a beer.