Fake Leather Boots, By Sam Stilson

By Sam Stilson

Some nights, when Chuck was bored, and it was too hot to sleep in his little bachelor apartment, he would take out his vintage Luger and pretend to be a Nazi officer murdering prisoners in the corner of his bedroom.

He would call out their Polish-sounding names and fire pretend bullets into their pretend brains and he would feel guilty as he did it, because the gun he held in his hand was in fact a real P08 Pistol Parabellum that some Nazi had once cleaned and cocked and loaded with bullets and murdered Jews with like a farmer feeds his pigs and a lawyer types up paperwork. It was scary and sickening to know that so much bad feeling was attached to his gun, so he would wrap it up in a red silk handkerchief and put it back into his sock drawer and try to forget about the families it had destroyed and the skulls it had turned into jigsaw puzzles.

In the four months since he’d bought it, Chuck never once wore the gun out in public and kept it a secret from his family and friends. He did not want to kill anyone or hurt anything; it just felt good knowing the pistol was in his sock drawer tucked neatly between his condoms and his boxer shorts. It made him feel like a gangster when walking down the street, like a thug at the downtown clubs, and a little like a maniac when, late at night, tossing and turning, he would kill imaginary prisoners until his sheets were wet with sweat, his imaginary shift was over, and he could finally fall asleep.

One night, Chuck invited his new girlfriend over to show her the Luger. He hadn’t mentioned it to her in the entire three weeks that they’d been dating, but that night he really wanted to impress her. He removed it from his sock drawer, unwrapped the cloth, and pointed it at her breasts. She shrieked and held her hand to her mouth and was concerned and afraid until Chuck began to tell her about the pistol in a happy and pleasant tone and no longer aimed it at her body. Of course she found it unusual that her boyfriend owned a Nazi artifact but she liked that he was so enthusiastic about it and was pleased to see him so happy. She took the gun in her soft, small hands and made cartoon explosion noises with her mouth. She even pretended she was a Nazi, but only for a moment, and without killing any prisoners.

Chuck liked the way his skinny little girlfriend looked with a Luger in her hands. He took it from her and laid it on his bedside table and kissed her neck. While they were having sex Chuck pretended that he was holding his gun to the back of her head. He pretended he was digging it hard into her skull and resting his finger on the trigger. Seeing the seventy year-old pistol out in the open just a foot from the bed made his fantasy so real. When they finished, his girlfriend confessed it was the best sex she’d ever had. Only Chuck knew why.

After a few more weeks Chuck lost interest in his handgun. It just became another thing he owned. He no longer took it out at night and didn’t show it to anyone else.

It was only sometimes, when walking home at night past the prostitutes in their white coats with their sad eyes and cheap makeup, that he was glad he owned the Luger. When they bent over to tug on their fake leather boots he was glad he had his gun.

Sam Stilson was raised in Parry Sound, Ontario but moved to Toronto to study writing at York University. He now works and lives in the city.

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