7// Concealment

The Scientist stared at the sign outside of the ballroom which announced, in small plastic lettering, “Conceal Carry Conference. Registration Inside”.

Guns, he thought. The concept of owning a gun was somewhat strange to him, as it was simply not something he had grown up around, at least not directly; thus he had never really given the idea of owning a gun much thought. His uncles had been hunters, and he had seen many times the end results of their “outings,” mostly in the form of venison processed at his great-uncle Millhouse’s plant. But his dad had never taken to hunting, joking that he would rather spend $50 to have a good steak than $500 to buy a gun for the “privilege” of trying to shoot something himself.

The Scientist had only seen a handgun up close once, and the experience had shaken him more than he wanted to admit; the raw power he sensed in the weapon was unexpected, and he realized that the shootouts he saw on shows like NYPD Blue grossly understated the gravity of holding, much less shooting, a gun.

If gun ownership itself was foreign, the concept of a conference dedicated to the active CONCEALING of a weapon was downright odd. He peeked inside the ballroom. The room was exactly the shape and size of the one he had spent the last four days sitting in. As for the people milling around, he was not sure what he expected, but they just looked like normal everyday conference-goers.  Of course, if he understood the small sign correctly, they were conference-goers who could at a moment’s notice take down a Central American army.

He had a feeling this conference with much more interesting than the training he had been sitting through since Monday, and briefly wondered what the repercussions would be if he chose to spend this final day here instead of learning the minutia of a scientific instrument he hoped he’d never have to use.  He wondered what subjects would be covered at a Concealed Carry Conference, and formulated a list of breakout sessions in mind.  Surely they would include:

  • “Let’s talk about Vests, Baby”
  • “Christmas Sweaters: Merry or Menace?”
  • “Is It Concealed? A Spotters Guide”
  • “Ankle Holsters and Back Strain: Know Before You Blow,” and of course
  • “My Cold, Dead Hand-Lotion: The Importance of Trigger-Finger Moisturization”

He chuckled to himself briefly before glancing at his watch to see that it was five minutes past the end of the “bio break” the overly-enthusiastic instructor had given them.  He hated to come back late because the instructor always made some good-natured but trite comment at the late-arriver’s expense, something like “You fall in?” or “I just shared the secret of the whole thing – you just missed it!”

He glanced back into the room.  At least this is one of the safest places to be if something goes down, he thought, and headed back down the hall.

Not that anything ever went down.

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