Two Hundred More
As usual the doors were late to open this morning. Several men were in front of me, and a couple of them had gun rugs. I watched as their handguns were checked by the police officer at the ticket counter. The first fellow looked promising. He was a tobacco chewing gent past Medicare age, with a Brookshires sack. I watched as he reached inside and pulled out a.... Glock. So much for stereotypes.
The fellow in front of me was a bald headed guy in a digital BDU jacket. He held a black leather gun rug. When it was unzipped by the police officer, the bare metal beauty inside caught my eye like a pirate gazing on a chest of doubloons. He had a Colt M1911. My uneducated eye saw it as being correct. I stepped around him, paid my entry fee and waited.
As soon as he placed the old WW1 pistol back in the gun rug, I tapped him on the shoulder and said "See me after you pay your entry fee." He smiled and paid his six bucks.
"Do you mind if I look at your pistol?" I asked.
I am not an expert on M1911s, but to me, this pistol appeared untampered with and 100% correct. The wear on the grips was consistent with the gun's finish wear and age, and the small parts looked to be correct to my neophyte eyes as well. "I bought this one from the son of a vet," the man said. "His father paid for it when he left the Army. It's a 1918 gun."
Dadgummit, I thought, he knows the gun. This won't be cheap. "What do you want for it?" I inquired.
"What will you give me for it?" he countered. I knew how much I had total, in three different pockets, and I knew it was still low. I told him anyway. Cash.
"Ive got to have two hundred more than that," he said. He was right, the pistol was worth what he was asking.
"Would you take a Smith and Wesson 1911 and some cash?" I asked.
"No, I really just want to get cash."
I had not seen a M1911 walk into a gun show in over seven years. "I'll have to make a run to the bank," I said. "Here's twenty bucks to hold on to it for the next hour. If I don't make it back in an hour with the money, the twenty is yours and you can sell it to whoever you like, deal?"
"Sounds good to me," he said. "I really want to take it over to Joshua and see what he thinks anyway." I knew he was referring to the mix master monger.
"I'll be right back," I told him, and I walked quickly back to the Jeep through the misty cold rain. I dialed my wife to see if she had two Franklins on her. She would not pick up her cell phone. I don't use ATMs. If the bank wasn't open........
As I pulled up into the banks parking lot, the green OPEN light over the drive beckoned through the haze like the beam from a lighthouse. John Moses was smiling on me. I wrote the teller a check, got my cash, and tried not to speed on the way back to the gun show.
The crowd was thick as I strode across the convention center floor again. Finding the fellow in this crowd would be a chore. Finally, I saw him showing the pistol to Cowboy Bob. I could see the disappointment in his eyes as walked up.
"You know, Joshua offered me what I'm going to sell this to you for," he said. "Bob says it's worth more." I looked unconcerned. I knew what I was willing to pay, and I had the money.
"Well, that's up to you," I told him, ready to walk.
"This one is a fantastic shooter," he said, "It's been my baby."
"Yeah, that's why I'd like to buy it. I want a M1911 that I can shoot, not just oil and fondle," I replied. I asked if I could field strip the pistol to check it out. He agreed. Inside, as far as I could tell, it was correct. There were no cracks. The bore was good.
"Like I said, this one is one hundred percent," he said. I reassembled the gun and counted out the hundred dollar bills on a bare table area. The seller was hesitant. He held each note up to the light to verify it wasn't counterfeit. Finally, when he saw that I was not going to offer more, he said OK. We shook hands. The M1911 was mine. I zipped it back in the black leather gun rug and thanked him for a fair deal.