Lost Guns


Yoohoo. I'll make you famous! –Emilio Estevez as William H. 'Billy the Kid' Bonney

The dark inky stripe called Ora­cle loomed ahead, the glossy pitch reflected the neon that lined its curbs, cre­at­ing a multi-colored aurora that sparkling and glis­ten­ing across this onyx pike. This was not the best part of town, but it cer­tainly was not the worst, either. Even with the late hour, the heat was sti­fling and the wind nonex­is­tent; the air hung and thick­ened as it sat in antic­i­pa­tion. I had a job to do, and it was not to just sit here in my car on this short spur of Ora­cle. I put my car into gear and set out down the road.

I looked to my left; there was the ram­shackle white build­ing that housed KOLD-TV. At the time, was I ever glad to leave that place behind. Now, I remem­ber some of the great friends and the great fun we had in that build­ing. Ahead was the tow­er­ing res­i­dence hotel for seniors still able to hold their own against time. And on the cor­ner of Ora­cle as it made its turn to the north was my favorite lit­tle dive in Tuc­son. That Denny’s was a flu­o­res­cent sen­tinel in the dark call­ing out to the night owl in me, just as it did so many years ago.

Denny’s is a refuge for those afraid or unwill­ing to go home, for those that can’t or won’t go to sleep at night. Maybe it was dif­fer­ent in the day– I never went into one in the day. For me, Denny’s and its thin, hot cof­fee was a safe haven from going home.

For a while, some of us found a great escape in that Denny’s, a quick and furi­ous ride that took us all the way to Cal­i­for­nia and back. Every night, for months on end, the Guns wound down in our Ora­cle Denny’s. We were their guests, their new friends, their local hosts. Mitch was out at Old Tuc­son one day, shoot­ing God knows what, when he ran into Keifer. That was our first connection.

From then on, there was a draw to the Denny’s. Not every night, some­times not for days at a time, but every time we heard the call to Denny’s, the Guns were there. And every night the Guns were there, so were we. Mitch, Bob and I; Keifer, Emilio and Lou. Some­times Chris­t­ian. Cof­fee, bring another pot, please. The Guns were rau­cous and rowdy and loud, but always polite. They were our guests.

I had met Keifer before, back in Santa Cruz on The Boys. He pre­tended to recall, but he was just being kind. I doubt Keifer recalled shoot­ing The Boys at all, much less a pho­tog who hung out on the set after work. It was not my first brush with fame, either; I had met and worked with a few names to that point. But there was a bit of cama­raderie there, like a friend­ship you might make on a vacation.

We never felt the need to ven­ture out to the bars; the Guns brought their own bar into Denny’s with them. They did not need to prowl Oliver Twists or the Hide­out, or ogle the girls at TD’s. They just needed to let their hair down and relax. They played at being char­ac­ters all day, they needed the time and space to be them­selves at night.

And so Mitch, Bob and I traded with the Guns, for a few hours at a time, every cou­ple of nights. We all got to feel impor­tant, we played at being famous, and the Guns got to be ordi­nary. We had the times of our lives, and they got the come-down they needed.

We would sit there in our cor­ner booth, week after week, and it got to be a fairly reg­u­lar affair. The wait­resses knew who we were, and the cus­tomers that came and went, we heard their whis­pers. Mitch, Bob and I were sud­denly impor­tant; we were looked at, we were pointed at and talked about; we had arrived. We blos­somed with pride, and oozed self-significance. For their part, the Guns were equally happy. They could come in, enjoy good com­pany and fel­low­ship, and no one both­ered or has­sled them.

Then one night we walked in and our booth was empty. As it was the next night… and the next. We sat down, our booth well too big for only the three of us, and we real­ized our ride was over. We had one sin­gle cup of cof­fee that night, and then walked out into the night.

Good­night Bob,” I said. “Good­night Mitch.” We were back in Tucson.

Rat­ing 4.00 out of 5

About Dave Koch

Father, writer, entrepreneur, web coder, 2008 Presidential candidate, husband and friend. Sometimes I play guitar.
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One Response to Lost Guns

  1. panera says:

    Gor­geous Stuff! My spouse and i had been only con­tem­plat­ing that there’s too much wrong impor­tant info on this theme and you also just sim­ply updated our judge­ment. Appre­ci­ate your shar­ing a very effec­tive piece of writing.

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