You saw the tests
(but not the grade of the land) fall from grace
only to be raised like the grass you were raised on.
A season changes. No more armored cars frolicking
around banks, grocers, ISPs. The curtains are drawn
to accommodate what they and we dusted away.
And we who create with vigor on glass
like machines making change, we who read and forget,
are aware that the checks are separate, that what we dropped
Who believed we forgot because we didn't stop for a light,
say all is improvised. Through the din, the sweet pink
hips are adorned tonight. But laughing
makes us convenient, folds us
in purchased comfort, too mixed and flacid: don't
stare down the list of warnings,
but is insight on the loose?
The night's final orders have been placed, the metal detects you.
Now the failure is hemmed in,
or hauled out; others say no dice
but it rings false. The foyer, the orchard preempted—
I'm timid in song for you, and the drowsy stems
arranged for this line have asked to leave:
hopeful, a hand to wave.
"Good afternoon, madam. How may I help you?"
"Good afternoon. I'd like a FrintArms HandCannon, please."
"A--? Oh, now, that's an awfully big gun for such a lovely lady. I
mean, not everybody thinks ladies should carry guns at all, though I
say they have a right to. But I think... I might... Let's have a look
down here. I might have just the thing for you. Yes, here we are!
Look at that, isn't it neat? Now that is a FrintArms product as well,
but it's what's called a laser -- a light-pistol some people call
them. Very small, as you see; fits easily into a pocket or bag; won't
spoil the line of a jacket; and you won't feel you're lugging half a
tonne of iron around with you. We do a range of matching accessories,
including -- if I may say so -- a rather saucy garter holster. Wish I
got to do the fitting for that! Ha -- just my little joke. And
there's *even*... here we are -- this special presentation pack: gun,
charged battery, charging unit, beautiful glider-hide shoulder holster
with adjustable fitting and contrast stitching, and a discount on your
next battery. Full instructions, of course, and a voucher for free
lessons at your local gun club or range. Or there's the *special*
presentation pack; it has all the other one's got but with *two*
charged batteries and a night-sight, too. Here, feel that -- don't
worry, it's a dummy battery -- isn't it neat? Feel how light it is?
Smooth, see? No bits to stick out and catch on your clothes, *and*
beautifully balanced. And of course the beauty of a laser is, there's
no recoil. Because it's shooting light, you see? Beautiful gun,
beautiful gun; my wife has one. Really. That's not a line, she
really has. Now, I can do you that one -- with a battery and a free
charge -- for ninety-five; or the presentation pack on a special
offer for one-nineteen; or this, the special presentation pack, for
"I'll take the special."
"Sound choice, madam, *sound* choice. Now, do--?"
"And a HandCannon, with the eighty-mill silencer, five GP clips, three
six-five AP/wire-fl'echettes clips, two bipropellant HE clips, and a
Special Projectile Pack if you have one -- the one with the embedding
rounds, not the signalers. I assume the night-sight on this toy is
"Aah... yes, And how does madam wish to pay?"
She slapped her credit card on the counter. "Eventually."
-- Iain M. Banks, "Against a Dark Background"
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