I was oiling my Bushmaster when Ralph said, "Why don't you attend worship services with me this Sunday? Can't hurt, right?"
The First Gun-damentalist Church was packed. Ted Nugent was rocking the chapel as Ralph and I sat down next to a freckle-faced lad. His mom was wearing awesome shotgun-shell earrings. He asked her, "Mama, what would Jesus shoot?"
"The best gun in the world, sweetheart: the Uzi."
"Compact and reliable," I added.
Ralph said, "First manufactured in the holy land. Lord knows what would've happened if Jesus had been armed. The Romans hated guns."
The Rev. Wynn Chester invited us to stand and recite the creed. "I believe in the sacred Second Amendment, the holy National Rifle Association, and I believe when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Amen."
I petted the boy's head. Patting the bulge in his shirt, he sneered at me. I scooted closer to Ralph.
The Rev. Chester began.
"Be seated. Since Sandy Hook, more than 1,200 Americans have been killed with guns. I hope you will reflect upon this and will find the courage to sit where I proudly sit: on my hands. Of course, you'll have to sit on your own hands. Sit on my hands and you'll be messing with instant rapture."
The reverend petted the colt in his holster and to everyone's surprise it went off. He did a jig and set the smoking pistol on the pulpit. "Damn safety!"
"Life goes on. Bad guys get guns at gun shows. Kids fall in love. Folks are mowed down. Birds sing. Crime scene tape's unspooled. People marry. Body bags get zipped. Babies are born. Mops mop. The sun comes up again. Shootings happen, people."
Ralph and I smiled.
"Let's talk about universal background checks. They'll only affect law-abiding people. That's as dumb as speed-limit signs. Law-abiding drivers see the signs and slow down. Criminals could care less. What good is that?
"Let's talk about registering guns. What's next? Our cars? A car registry? Car taxes? How long before they come and take way our cars and we're all riding bicycles? Try fitting a gun rack on a bicycle."
Ralph and I nodded.
"Banning combat-style guns is crazy. How can we shoot our fellow Americans in law enforcement in the year 2525 when they come to confiscate our guns if we don't have guns? And limiting clips! What about the walking dead? Do you really think 10 rounds can take down an apocalyptic brain-gobbling zombie?"
He lifted his shirt and pointed to the Second Amendment tattooed across his chest.
"Do you want to risk hellfire? I'm not talking about the sweet 'Hellfire' trigger modification that can make the AK-47 a sweet decimator. I am talking about the hellfire that awaits heretics who question our beloved, infallible and sacred Second Amendment!" He pointed to his heart with his colt. "Blessed be the Word of Wayne La Pierre!"
We sang the hymn, "Guns don't kill people."
The Rev. Chester invited Chuck Smeller, pastor of the Living Gun Church, to the pulpit to talk about "stopping the senseless slaughter. You know what I'm talking about. The mindless destruction of guns turned in to the police."
He went on and on, closing tearfully with: "Nothing can match the unbearable horror of seeing a gun destroyed. Can't we place these guns in a shelter until they can be adopted? Think of the beautiful little bullets that will never be fired."
I wiped my eyes, thinking of John Lennon, who once wrote, "Happiness is a warm gun." How true that is.
We sang the "Pry not my gun from my dead cold fingers" hymn.
The Rev. Chester returned, holding up a picture of President You-Know-Who and quoting Ammo Digest 4:15 "Be ye all of one mind, having suspicion one of another and those who covet thy armory. For the beast cometh with jackboots and black helicopters."
The Rev. Chester held up his pistol, intoning: "This is thy god. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Arm thyself. Thou art the savior of America."
Me? And Ralph? I gulped.
We recited the beautiful "Hollow be thy bullets" prayer. I whispered, "Amen," thinking of how precious my gun was to me. Running low between paydays, I tossed a spent cartridge on the collection plate and quickly passed it on. "Bless these gifts which shall be delivered unto our congressmen who art in Washington. Go in peace, locked and loaded."
The service ending, Ralph and I shot celebratory rounds into the ceiling. We never felt closer to the divine.
Email Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org