The Red Pistol



Let me tell you about the first time I brought a gun into a bank.


Yes, I had Mom's permission, and it was only a water pistol. What possible trouble could a three-year-old have with just a water pistol, after all?


Mother soon found out.


Now, Mom was against the water-pistol idea from the start. But Dad bought it anyway, and it immediately became my favorite toy. I carried it everywhere, and even slept with it. On that fateful Thursday, she had a half-dozen errands to run and figured that it was best to keep me occupied. So, the red plastic pistol came with us. Better, she thought, to just let me keep it, and she took the precaution of emptying it.


Sure enough. I was totally absorbed with gunning down each and every teller, with a "kabang," "kabang," "kabang," and "click." Apparently, my water gun was a three-shooter. The tellers all smiled, shook their heads, and went about their business.


Mother patiently waited her turn in line and wasn't concerned as I wandered about, hiding behind the potted palms and ducking under the new accounts desk. Mom was busy preparing her deposit and trying to roll some pennies while she juggled her checkbook and purse.


Gradually, I worked my way back over to Mom, and I and stood there next to her as the bank president walked up and greeted us.


"My, my, is this a holdup?" Mr. Stevens said to Mom, motioning toward me.


They both laughed, and then I squirted the banker right in his face, a dead-accurate shot. 


"Oh, my,” he said, reaching for his handkerchief, his eyes wide. Water dripped off his nose.


Mother looked at me, NO COMMA HERE and at my gun. She snatched it from my hands and saw that it was still half-full. "I'm so sorry, Mr. Stevens. This was empty." And then, Mom turned to me. "Where did you get water?"


I smiled, and pointed to a door--the men's room.


A more experienced mother might have known better, but since I was her first-born, she had to ask. “How did you reach the sink?"


"No." I shook my head. "Whoosh!" I shouted, making a downward motion with my hand as if pressing on a small handle. "Water came from Potty seat."


Mr. Stevens finished mopping his face, and was about to put the handkerchief back in his pocket. Instead, he held it out gingerly with just two fingers, at arm's length, and walked away briskly.


Mom lowered her head to avoid the stares of everyone within earshot, and she kept her eyes down until we got through the line and exited the bank. Once on the street, she looked up, burst out laughing, and handed me back my pistol. "When we get home, show Daddy what you did today."


So I did.


Same water.