A Christmas-time Mystery: The Case of the Missing Machine Gun

*Here’s another old post brought back from the archives:

When I was about five years old, I got one of the best Christmas presents ever.  If you’re a guy, you know what I’m talking about.  I wasn’t old enough yet for a BB Gun, as in “A Christmas Story;” those days were a few years away yet.  But this was even better for a kid my age — a toy machine gun.  Made out of real plastic.  If I remember correctly, it even had sound effects.  I was in assault weapon heaven.

Before I go any further, I must admit that my memories of this period are a little foggy.  I do remember a time of blame and accusations flying as fast as imaginary tracer rounds between me and at least one of my siblings.  So the truth of those days is murky, at best.  But the emotions, oh, the emotions still run as deep and clear as ever, even some forty-seven (now fifty-one) years later.

You see, there remains a lingering doubt in my mind that I may not have been the true recipient of this marvelous Christmas gift.  This doubt, I feel strongly, is a permanent, lingering effect of enemy brainwashing attempts, carried out by my older brothers.  I think they were jealous of my gift, and wanted it for themselves.  I clearly recall a time of sheer bliss on my part, when I had that shining weapon in my hands, and was attempting to obliterate every brother and sister I could center in its sights.  I might have been imagining reaping their presents for myself, or maybe even getting my own bedroom.  The only thing I lacked was a toy dagger clamped between my teeth.

Can you see the hidden blood-lust?

Alas, a little boy’s dreams were shattered.  That is my last memory of holding the prized machine gun in my hands.  I don’t know what happened to it from that day onward.  I think perhaps my parents had taken it away; I couldn’t imagine them having done such a thing, but yet the fully automatic M-16 was gone.  I seem to remember asking about the toy many times after its disappearance, but it was as if the rifle had never even existed.  No one seemed to know what had happened to it.  For a time, I suspected it being high up on a closet shelf somewhere, and that one day it would reappear with little fanfare and find its way back into my trigger-happy fingers, accompanied by dire warnings from the older members of the household.  Yet it never reappeared.

My older brothers may have known what happened to that machine gun, but back then, despite my best efforts at torture-by-nagging, they never talked.  And if any of them remember now, they’re still not talking.  My parents were bafflingly mute about the whole affair, probably hoping I would forget about the trouble-making toy.  Clearly, that never happened.  Perhaps, and I hate to admit it, I was simply too young at the time for such a powerful and deadly gift.

The funny thing is, in later years I would be introduced to other toy weapons, and then to real ones — BB guns, pellet guns, .22 rifles and pistols, shotguns . . . and be monitored with great care by my father and taught all about gun safety and cleaning until I could handle them all safely on my own.  Thinking about it now, maybe Dad was behind the mystery of the missing machine gun, after all.  And maybe he did not want me to forget.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, dear readers!  Any Christmas-time mysteries or memories you‘d like to share?


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  1. #1 by twistingthreads on December 22, 2011 - 9:49 PM

    My grandfather used to make us the most incredible wooden toys. One year he made my brother and I rubber band guns, beautiful polished creations in two, three tones of wood; they cocked and had triggers just like real guns and everything. My brother and I got pretty excited! Our guns didn’t disappear, but they were confiscated for a day or two after we became wildly overzealous about shooting everything in sight (including aunts, uncles, and the aforementioned grandfather, plus an entire slew of cousins). My father never saw fit to let his wild, ADD prone daughter hold even a BB gun for more than one or two of my brother’s training sessions, but my brother became proficient with that gun and brought home a ribbon or trophy for state marksmanship a few years later. Also, there were several more confiscations after we got our treasures home. Even into our teens, we were chasing each other around with our rubber band guns and shooting at each other. Ah, kids…Thank you for telling this story; my own memories had become somewhat buried. Oh, and a very Merry Christmas to you, too!


  2. #2 by Joseph M Kurtenbach on December 23, 2011 - 10:17 AM

    Great story. Sounds like some fine weapons, there; I’m glad you were able to have them around so long — shows the lasting power of fine craftsmanship. I don’t recall my siblings and me ever having rubber band guns, but it does bring to mind all the different suction-cup-tipped dart guns we had over the years. Fun memories. Thanks for reading and sharing!


  3. #3 by bronxboy55 on December 30, 2011 - 6:53 PM

    I bet it was all about the sound effects, Joseph. Parents love their kids, but they love peace and quiet just as much. Great post.


    • #4 by Joseph M Kurtenbach on December 30, 2011 - 11:14 PM

      You may be onto something there, Charles. The noise probably was pretty obnoxious, combined with all the screaming and imaginary blood. Thank you for stopping by!


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