Henry's gun – a slim Smith & Wesson 500 – sinks into my hands, seven pounds of heft squeezed into a long-barreled pistol the color of liquid chrome. It gleams under the showroom lights. I imagine him shooting it under the sun, a blinding flash of silver caught in his hand.
“I got a tiny gun,” he warned me earlier. He used his forefinger and thumb to suggest a gun the size of a thimble.
“Is it a Derringer?” I teased. “A two-shot gun?”
Last weekend, a vendor pulled a Derringer out of his left cowboy boot at a gunshow in Glen Rose. He reached deep inside his shoe, past intricate curlicues sewn over his calf, and fished out a small, silver gun. The tiny revolver fit snugly in his palm. Loaded, it would hold two rounds. Not one to be outgunned, he had another revolver in his pant pocket ("That'll sting,” he said), a third tucked under his belt, and a semi-automatic pistol hanging in a leather holster under his arm.
I hand Henry’s gun back. “This is not a tiny gun,” I inform him.
He laughs. Palming the grip of the pistol, he raises the muzzle. A knife vendor across the aisle watches us, eyeing the red-zip tie that runs through the barrel – proof of an empty chamber. Henry leans forward, aiming at something in the distance.
As usual, he’s wearing an olive-colored do-rag that drapes delicately over his shoulders. When he used to weld, it stopped him from burning his hair. He kept it long in those days, flowing down his back. It’s all gone now, but the do-rag is still there.