Columns » Ranger Rich

Shots and espresso at Starbucks

Ranger Rich



So I walk into Starbucks the other day with a 9mm Glock handgun in a holster, sawed-off shotgun in my right hand, old Soviet Union AK-47 in my left hand, 16,000 rounds of ammunition on belts slung over my shoulders and a couple of hand grenades around my neck.

You know, just in case one of them crazy Second 'Mendment NRA gun nuts takes some time off from recalling state senators and bursts in while I'm gulping my latte.

I been bringin' my firearms to Starbucks for years. The workers and customers are real nice and usually move out of the way — lots of 'em run out of the way — so I doesn't have to wait. Even though I haven't had a job in 32 years and don't really have much to do but throw another old car up on CEE-ment blocks in my front yard.

I have 27 old cars.

My father has 167 cars up on blocks. Shot himself in the knee in 1988 while cleaning his .22. Took his eye off the gun while he was watching Hee-Haw on the TEE-vee. Speakin' of, one night Poppa slid his milk crate right up close and yelled, "Look-ee here, we got ourselves one of them big-screen tee-vees" and we all laughed so hard we darn near blowed the cigarette butts out of the ashtray near Momma's oxygen tank.

Anyway, I'm in Starbucks over there on Centennial Boulevard right here in our village and them other customers start to huddle up in small groups, whispering. I wonder what's up so I walk over to a bunch and a woman cries and says she has two little kids. I tell her I got two kids, too, if you don't count my other 16 kids, and I laugh pretty loud, like pig-snorting noises.

This makes her cry louder and she says, "Please don't do this!" and I say, "But I love Starbucks," and that with all them gun nuts around these days, havin' me a cup of coffee should be the least of her worries.

I get to the counter and after the young guy got up from under it I order me a $19 grande cup of cinnamon dolce latte. I have plenty of money because of something called the "dis-ability settlement." Momma says when I was 6 a carnival pony kicked me in the head and now I gets $229 a month. I spend most of it on guns. Them background checks don't ask about being kicked in the head by a pony.

Then the nice kid at the counter says, "Sir, the Starbucks CEO asked customers last week to please not bring guns in here because he doesn't think having guns is, and these are his words, 'part of the Starbucks experience.'"

Then he crouches back down under the counter and I think, well, that no-gun thing is good, because what you don't want is them nutty gun crazies all over the place with their guns.

So I tell the kid his boss must be a pretty smart fella and that I'd be happy as a carp in a drainage ditch to sit at that table over there in case any crazy gun people came in.

My daddy told me it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun, and that if the good guys have more guns than the bad guys then you've got whatcha call a good sitch-ee-ation. That's what my daddy always said.

But then in 1992 Daddy stopped talking after he accidentally sat on his loaded 26.5 mm high-velocity flare gun/signal pistol thingy and it went off and burned his, you know, it burned his, uh, pecans something awful — he screamed and soaked them in a bowl of cold milk for 20 minutes — and now he just sits right up close to the TEE-vee on his milk crate and looks sad.

Makes me so confused I sometimes just sit on my milk crate and scratch the scar — people say it looks like a horseshoe — on my forehead.

Rich Tosches ( also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.

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