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I’m the guy with the gun.

I woke up on Wednesday feeling headachey and generally rubbish, so I decided to have another hour’s kip, to see if that made me feel better, rather than just being useless all day. It helped a bit, but I still wasn’t firing on both cylinders, so the day started pretty slowly.

After lunch I was blessed by a knock on the door. I wasn’t expecting any deliveries, and you know that silly “you get what you expect” mantra? Well, sometimes it’s true. I’m greeted by a man with a clipboard and a great enthusiasm for telling me he’s not selling anything.

After the previous Monday’s encounter, I was prepared. With one hand I gestured the sign on the door, and with the other I picked up a toy paintball gun I’d left on the windowsill. Then, I shot him.

Actually, I didn’t; the gun didn’t fire as I’d not pushed the handle down properly. So I re-adjusted my weapon, and then shot him. And then I shot him again. Sadly, few (if any) of the paintballs burst.

After a few shots he told me “don’t do that”, so I shot him a couple more times, whilst pointing out that he’d ignored the sign that very clearly said to leave me alone. Much like the previous nuisance, he claimed he wasn’t a cold caller.

That made me lose my temper. Somebody standing there, telling such blatant lies, makes me quite angry; I explained that he was, indeed, a cold caller, and that I was quite upset about his bothering and lying to me, without a single shred of politeness, diplomacy, tact or calm. During this tirade, I stormed right up to him until I was standing face to face*, shouting at and pushing him. I’d had tuna for lunch and hadn’t yet brushed my teeth, so this was probably not a pleasant experience.

I did restrain myself from thumping him – although I really was tempted – and he called his accomplice over to “sort this guy out”. His friend left my neighbour’s house, but didn’t seem as interested in riding to the rescue as keeping his distance and getting out of here. I’d had enough now, so fired a final, wildly innacurate shot at the second salesman and returned to my door. My enemies left the street, defeated.

At first I was rather worked up about the whole ordeal, but after a nice cup of coffee and a sit down I realised the hilarity of the situation and wound up in good spirits. Annoyance successfully vanquished, hurrah!

A while later there was a knock at my door. It was the police. This came, typically, whilst I was sitting on the toilet, so they just had to wait. Not one, but two police cars were parked across the road, which I found quite amusing.

I opened the door, two officers asked to come in, and if I knew why they were here. I greeted them, and suggested it might be because I’d shot a nuisance caller.

A policeman explained that they’d seen the salesmen, and one of them seemed rather shaken up (possibly the only time I’ve had a greater impact on a cold caller than he’s had on me). The police had pointed out that they didn’t have proper ID and weren’t properly dressed for going door-to-door. He then asked to see the “weapon”, and was amused by its triviality – they were expecting something much bigger, not a child’s toy. He had a go, then gave it back.

I explained that I got quite upset by people hammering on my door to accost me – hence the sign – and that I was probably as scared of him as he of me (despite being much larger). The policeman agreed that the sign was in plain view, and shouldn’t have been ignored. Overall they seemed quite sympathetic, and suggested I call Trading Standards to get one of their stickers to reinforce the point.

They did point out that the salesmen were just doing their jobs. Not a defence that is applicable in the general case, I feel.

In the end they pointed out that yes, the gun was a kid’s toy and not going to hurt anyone, I’d not lied about it or caused them any bother, but it was still technically common assault. I signed an apology, and they went happily on their way.

Overall I got the impression that they were pleasantly surprised, and slightly amused, by the triviality of the incident and my cordiality (see, I can). But probably wouldn’t be if they had to come back, so I put the paintball guns out of the way to avoid temptation the next time I’m annoyed by a knocking nuisance.

Funny thing was, they seemed much more interested in the toy gun than in my getting angry, pushing and shouting at the guy. Morality is arbitrary, o’course (and so are laws, but at least they’re concrete, so it’s possible to know what you’re about to get screwed by in advance), but if I were going to assign relative values to the behaviours then that would seem much more serious than the laughable paintballing. Hey ho, eh? No harm came of it, and hopefully they’ll think twice about knocking on people’s doors uninvited in future.

 
* Well, not really face to face. I’d not noticed, from the doorway, how much smaller he was than I; it was more forehead to chin. Maybe it’s just perspective, but I rarely think of myself as bigger than other human males, despite being 6’2″ tall.

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