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Guns, guns, and ..........more guns.

Wandering around online the other day I rediscovered the little gem,
Gun Practice, by Goodnight Lady (I'd first come across it at paris7am's fascinating post on guns and holsters: http://paris7am.livejournal.com/70605.html) which then got me thinking a bit more about the place and significance of guns in the lives of Bodie and Doyle. Well, it’s now about 5 days later, 5 days of sitting and staring into space, waiting for inspiration, waiting for Godot, waiting for some (any) profound or eloquent thoughts to enter the bit of my anatomy which rests above my neck, but, as you can probably guess, it's not happening. I seem to have a cluster of concepts and thoughts all competing for my attention and understanding, thoughts which I'm trying to draw together and make some sense out of, but I'm really not sure I'm up to the task. So...... rather than waste everything, I'm going to bung them all down here and hope it makes some kind of sense to anyone who reads this.

OK, guns then....Guns and Bodie and Doyle. The relationship between guns and our heroes is intriguing not *just* for the phallic/erotic symbolism contained in the object of the gun itself, but for what it tells us about *them* as individuals, and, probably more interesting, about their relationship. The many paradoxes raised by the existence and use of guns: the gun as mirror-image of B & D themselves: 'noble' defenders of life and liberty vs. cynical killing machines; the gun as an instrument of gratuitous terror vs. one of lawful necessity. And then you've got the aethestics of the gun: the perfect, beautiful, sleek, contoured lines of the gun as an extension of the man who holds it, accentuating the beauty of a longfingered hand, slender wrist and muscled arm, and the sheer sexyness and maleness of the holder.

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(I *told* you it was muddled but I just wanted to draw peoples' attention to some of the great scenes in pros fic which feature guns and to *try* and voice some of my feelings about guns and Bodie and Doyle).

Before I proceed a couple of apologies are in order: to people who are already familiar with some of the quotes; and to people who are specifically Doyle-lovers, for not manging to find enough quotes featuring him......I don't know *why* I didn't, I wanted to but I just couldn't find them......

Right, saddle up:

Guns as part of their very being - integral to them - an extension, like an arm or a leg; poetry in motion:

He liked seeing the gun in Bodie’s hands. He liked to see the intent stare with which Bodie pinned his target, the decisive way he pulled the trigger. Doyle enjoyed learning from an expert. The gun seemed an extension of Bodie himself, his masculine character, his directedness, his determination..............
(Bodie) “Something Shusai said. He’s my martial arts instructor. *The target is the bullet. The bullet is the gun. The gun is the marksman. All are one, all are the same. You are gun, and bullet, and target, and motion, together*.”

Forever True:
Elizabeth Holden

The gun as discipline: a mechanism and a constant bringing order to shattered nerves and lives:

By 21:00, Bodie had cleaned and oiled every gun in his flat. The Browning first, then the Colt, then the Ingram. After that, he had started in on the older rifles and handguns--the Lee-Enfield, the Webley, and the Luger. And found he still hadn't settled, so he went for the silver, wrapped and buried deep in the trunk at the foot of his bed.

He set the pieces out on the kitchen worktop, lined them up with meticulous care, then found an old cloth and an even older pot of silver polish. Setting to with a will, he scrubbed at the tarnish covering the saltcellar.

He had learned the trick of it from Cookson in Angola. The night before battle and Cookson had ordered him to peel potatoes. Bodie had been clumsy and impatient but there had been no getting out of it. By the tenth potato he'd got the hang of it; by the thirtieth his mind had cleared and settled. Attained focus. The fact that they never got a chance to eat the promised stew was immaterial. Lesson learned.

"Whatever it is you must do, you must find a way to do it," Shusai had told him. He must find a way through the complications and divided loyalties. Find a way to act. Clarity in action had always come easily to him, had always been his advantage. He would set his objective, plan his tactics, and execute. Distraction was unaccepted, unallowed………………
Motive and action are one. Practice.

Rules by

The gun as arbiter in a man's fate:

His spirits were good. He was close now and the anticipation of the kill beat in his blood.

The recessed doorways and alcoves of the old style architecture provided perfect concealment as he studied the ancient building across the way. It was just coming on six and yellow light poured from two dozen or so windows that faced the street. Focusing his sight on one particular third floor window, he reached inside his leather jacket and retrieved the Browning Highpower. His other hand secured the suppressor from a hidden pocket in his jacket sleeve and with a soft click the weapon was ready. He didn't really expect his target to appear for several hours yet, but in his line of work one always anticipated the unexpected.

Settling the gun snugly inside the special sling built into the lining of his jacket, he flattened further against the wall, prepared to wait..............

The exact moment to move would be when George Cowley was most vulnerable--when he had one hand on the car door latch and the other filled with the ever present briefcase.

Heart slamming against his chest, he took the last step just as Cowley's hand touched the car door. Shock registered on the older man's face, but it was too late.

The sensation of victory filled him as a vision of Cowley already dead on the ground flashed before his eyes. Then the door to the back room of his mind opened onto hell. It compelled him to step into the light, flip the Browning around his trigger finger and offer it, butt first, to George Cowley.

"Name's Bodie," he said, "I want to work for you."

Whisper of a kill:
Lois Welling

The gun as erotic tool – used to arouse *and* humiliate:

The gun slid down his cheek in an obscene caress. Doyle's heart thumped against his ribs, his temples throbbing so hard he thought he would burst a blood vessel. "Always knew you were crazy," he sneered. "Seems you're perverted as well."
Bodie shifted behind him, his hand sliding across Doyle's chest into his armpit. "Not the only one. You could have knocked me back any time the last few minutes, but you're still standing there." His breath gusted hot on Doyle's face. "Too late now, Doyle."
"I swear, Bodie, you better hope they make you kill me, 'cause if they don't, you'll wish you had. I'm going to take you apart."
"Might be fun," Bodie said, and nuzzled his ear.

by Thomas

......or just to arouse - The gun as unapologetic phallic symbol:

It wasn't a kiss per se. It was more a joining of...hunger. Teeth clashed and Doyle felt blood, his tongue going to swipe it from Bodie's lips. He was unsure of whom it belonged to. Not that it mattered. Tongues battled for purchase, thrusting against each other, and Doyle felt his hips move in time, sympat Then it was there. The gun. Inches of cold metal, warm only where Bodie's hand clutched it proficiently enough to do some serious damage. But there was nothing but trust shining in murky green eyes, the colour almost swallowed by the dilation of his pupils. There, running over his inside thigh, pressing and pushing, scraping over his jeans and the sensitive flesh beneath.

Gun Practice:
Goodnight Lady

The Gun as part of their beauty:

And then Bodie's smile, creeping across his face, dissolved away the air of danger about him as if it had never existed.: Doyle breathed again, slowly settling back. Bodie was adding, "Not easy sometimes, the birds you land yourself with." He was stripping off his clothes now, leaving, like Doyle, only a T-shirt, black, tight, his muscular arms shrugging off his gun and holster: a manhunter.

Wonderful Tonight
: Sebastian

The Gun as an instrument of gratuitous torture:

Suddenly all business Bodie spun his gun in automatic reflex, knelt down by the man's side.

"We've got to go now. But thank you for having us."

The mouth of the gun, still warm, just touched the clammy skin, then settled in there, ready, rocksteady.

Doyle came to stand nearby looking down, playtime over, absolutely cold: "That's it, mate: this is where it all ends for you."

"Unless there's a hell, anyway," Bodie said, and let that get home, sick horror twisting blackly in their victim's eyes, before he shot him in the head.

Shooting to kill:

And just when you’re starting to think, hey! This *is* all about Bodie:

The second man took his place. He drew and dry-fired once, twice, three times. His draw was unorthodox, but he was fast. Like a gunfighter in a Wild West film.

He was using one of those new IMI/MRI Desert Eagles, handling it like it was part of his arm. The sleeves of his white shirt were rolled up, and the extended wrist was slender, but the hand was right at home on that big gun, and the hand was in proportion to the rest of the man. More finely built than his partner, he was whippy, all lean, effective muscle and bone with no extra flesh on him. What you might call deceptive.... I knew the type. A man you might take for an easy mark in a fight, say, only to find you'd bitten off a tougher slice than you could chew.

There'd been some controversy, in shooting circles, about the retool of the Desert Eagle; I'd been itching to get my hands on one. This fellow was having fun with it, and he was lovely to watch. He loaded and reholstered it, then drew and pointed and fired, the heavy gun surging in his hand. Three rounds, quick as could be, and the gun whisked back in
the holster. Then he did it all again.

Handy, Pandy, Out goes the Rat
: Rimy

The possessor of The Gun and the fine line drawn between ordinary and extraordinary citizen:

It might even be worth it. There was Ray Doyle, disrespectfully leaning on the door with his arms folded, legs crossed. Jeans, a scruffy linen shirt, cuffs folded back, one thin silver circlet drooping down his left forearm, he looked about as tough as you could get, on high alert, on line to whip out his gun and anything that tried to get past him, and yet there was something unusual about him, something exotic, fey perhaps. The contrast was fascinating

Wonderful Tonight:


Doyle wandered into the Quiet Room and stood for a moment watching Cowley and Bodie at work. His hand was wrapped around a mug of tea, from which he took an occasional sip. He was wearing a cream linen shirt casually unpoppered to midchest, its sleeves rolled up to mid-forearm, his gun in place. Tight, faded jeans and white leather Kickers completed the picture of a scruffy young tough, selfconfident, prone to violence, and very very fast on the draw.

Wonderful Tonight
: Sebastian

The gun as metaphor for Bodie: beautiful killing machine:

There were more loud bangs, some so close that they made my ears hurt, and I found myself staring up the length of a black-clothed arm towards an extended hand. Those fingers were tight around the metallic menace of a gun, and I felt the reverberation of its fire echo up through his shoulder and into my own. He fired again, and then again... and then he rose to his knees above me.......................
I got the sense of power, dark and resolute, black hair matching the ebony of his clothes, and then another round of shots sent him ducking down beside me. He was up in an instant, returning the volley, his hands obscenely steady on his gun.

Welcome to the Jungle:
Jennifer Lyon

The Gun as their secret language; or, a (silent) method of communction:

When Bodie reloads the gun, I step behind him, snaking both arms around his waist. I can feel him tense up, but he doesn't force me away. Good. Bodie relaxes into a classical shooting position before me and, pressing myself to his back, I completely copy his stance. With my right hand I grip the Sig, covering his hand and with my left I stabilize his wrists. I try to remain passive, only offering support while Bodie concentrates on the target. I can't see well over his shoulders, but after some delicate adjustments, he seems ready to go. Enhancing the stability of our stance, I move my index finger together with his along the frame onto the trigger. I can feel us breathing in complete union and then, in one smooth rolling motion, we touch the trigger. And again. With both of us stabilizing the gun, the recoil is minimal and we don't even need a new alignment after the first shot. In quick succession we shoot, fully emptying the clip.
……….. There is serenity in a perfect shot. A serenity nobody can share. Except for us.


The Gun as paradox: preserver or taker of life:

if Bodie could drag him toward the road, where the walls were lower, he might be able to give them some cover, until they were out of sight. If he could find his gun, and if he didn't pass out when he tried to move. They didn't have long; Brady's ex-comrades would be homing in on the sound of the shot. And the scream. "Bodie--"

But Bodie wasn't looking at him. Bodie looked at Brady, and then out at the road. He went over to the corpse and holstered his gun, bent and picked up the dead man's 9mm. He turned to Brady, advancing on him, so that Brady, still not understanding, began backing away toward the road, and as Doyle shouted "Bodie!" Bodie shot him, once, in the stomach, so that he was thrown backward, staggering out of cover, and as Bodie took a step forward, lining up the gun again, a rifle shot cracked from somewhere not far at all and Brady spun and collapsed with the side of his head blown away.

Very slowly, still looking out into the road, Bodie lowered the gun. After a moment, he came back to where Doyle sat, and lowered himself to the ground beside his partner.

Love Lies Bleeding:

The Gun as.....OK, gimme a break, pleeeease........I've included this quote just because I like it:

Bodie can't take his eyes off it. It's an ugly bloody thing after all. It looks…utilitarian. Doesn't have the lines, the curves of an MP5, or even an Uzi. They send death flowing from your hands, but this... this spits and curses at the world. This is no dark beauty.

Doyle joked once: "That's not where you got mine from." Not laughing now. Too close this time.

A rustling and he is back, bandaged. Alive. Here are curves. Here are sweet lines and flowing limbs and a promise of warmth in the night. Bodie can't take his eyes off him.


The gun as a part of Bodie’s soul because without it he is nothing; or, 'home is where the gun is':

Home. He wanted to go home. It was the only clear thought left to him as he pulled the car away from the kerb, and it was a first. Home? As a kid, he had spent most waking hours figuring out how best to get away from his, and he had never looked back. Home was where you hung up your gun harness. The newness of this feeling shook him to the bone. He had no idea what to do with it, and he therefore just drove, negotiating late-night traffic and the Capri's tricky gearbox without thought.

All These Years:

And finally, spoken by Shane, from the film, Shane because I can imagine Bodie saying this.

A gun is a tool, no better or worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel, or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it.

All stories with the exception of Gun Practice and Forever True can be found at The Circuit Archive and The Hatstand. I believe Gun Practice is available at The Hatstand and here: http://www.shawstudios.com/Bamf/GunPractice.htm (thanks for the reminder, Kiwisue); and Forever True, unfortunately for the entire world, is a zine and not available online but we can all live in hope. And if you're still reading this, many thanks for hanging in there!


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 8th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
Gun Practice is over here as well:

You've done a really interesting (and, in my mind's eye, visually splendid) analysis of the attraction and - as you say - significance of guns in the hands of the Lads. Pity I'm not in a place where I can research your findings some more *ahem*.
Oct. 8th, 2007 11:21 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sue and glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for the other link which I'd forgotten about, I'll add it now.
Oct. 8th, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC)
Now you've got me - there's a fic I absolutely love, and have read a number of times, but can't now recall title or author. One scene grabs me every time; Doyle wakes in the middle of the night to find Bodie sitting in the kitchen, cleaning Doyle's weapon, even though Bodie knows that Doyle cleaned it earlier that night. Does this ring a bell?
This scene encapsulates their relationship beautifully - Bodie is looking out for Doyle, watching his back in every way he can. I love it.
Oct. 8th, 2007 12:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's going to bug me! I don't think I've read that story, or can't remember it....what a beautiful scene. If no one volunteers the answer perhaps we can ask at Prosfinders?
Oct. 9th, 2007 09:55 am (UTC)
I found it! From Such Different Wants, by Veronica:

Ray sat up and scrubbed his hands over his face, twinges and aches attesting to the activities of the past hours. He welcomed their presence, since every sensation was overlaid with the spine-softening lethargy of the well-loved. They both had the next day off and Ray had been looking forward to a nice lie-in, but with Bodie running around loose in the flat, he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep until he'd found--and rooted out--the source of Bodie's unease.

The scent of gun oil hit him as he belted his dressing gown but it gave him no insight into the sometimes labyrinthine workings of his partner's mind. Stepping over discarded clothing and still damp towels, he followed his nose until reaching the kitchen threshold, then leaned a shoulder against the door frame to take in the picture before him. Two guns sat glistening in the sickly cast of the overhead light, both of them resting on squares of dull orange chamois. Aluminium rods and stacks of cloth patches were neatly lined up beside bore brushes and a large bottle of Hoppe's, a pile of oily rags cast off to one side. Both guns were Ray's, the larger calibre his usual weapon for the job and the smaller calibre he kept at home for backup.

Barefoot and bare-chested, dressed in a pair of brown cords, Bodie was diligently cleaning Ray's third gun, the .25 he strapped to his ankle on occasion. Ray had cleaned all three guns only the day before, right beside Bodie as he'd cleaned his own, so they both knew there was no reason for Bodie to be so absorbed in the task at 4:00 am.

Bodie's weapons were not to be seen.

That is such a powerful scene, with a wonderfully evocative image of Bodie, bare-chested and barefoot in the middle of the night. It's at the Circuit Archive here. I hope you enjoy it.
Oct. 9th, 2007 10:51 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for finding this story! And I think it's one of the best gun scenes there is so I must read all of it.

I'm thinking of doing a Guns Part 2 post and would love to include this, would that be OK with you? If it *is* - what do you think the inclusion of guns in this scene represents? That Bodie cares for Doyle? (I'm not sure as I haven't read it all. And I was wondering why he was cleaning them for a second time... is because he's so worred about Doyle that he has to do it twice?)

Thanks very much for finding this.
Oct. 9th, 2007 11:36 am (UTC)
The gun as talisman - symbolic protection against everything the world can throw at them, and not just in their working life.
Cleaning the guns is a form of magical thinking but in this case it's not as simple as "step on a crack, break mother's back" rather as though Bodie feels that the very act of cleaning the weapons will keep Ray safe.
By all means use, and please feel free to put it in your own words if you can express it better.
Oct. 9th, 2007 12:07 pm (UTC)
The gun as talisman..... wow, I like that! And it will definitely stay in *your* words and I'll state whose words they are.

Again, thanks so much for this contribution.
Oct. 8th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
Well, this was a nice thing to read as I start the day off! That's a lovely selection of quotes--thank you for all the reminders! (And, in fact, a few new ones--I'm going to have to find "Altruism".) You're right about the ambivalent role guns play in their lives. I love it when writers try to portray some of that. One of my favorite bits with a gun is in Irene's story "Now Dancing Merry" in Roses and Lavender 4. Bodie has amnesia and, in particular, cannot remember Doyle. But he find a gun in his closet--a present to Doyle--and in the act of assembling the gun, his memory returns. The scene works beautifully, at least for me.

Great topic!
Oct. 8th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)
This is good for me, too, as I've never come across that Irene story. Thanks for that and thanks very much for letting me know you enjoyed the post, means a lot to me.

And I'd be interested to know what you think of the Altruism story - I liked it a lot but wasn't sure if what I was thinking about it was correct (I posted about the story a while back). Cheers.
Oct. 8th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, wonderful! Eloquent and beautifully put together as usual. Some vivid quotes here that really do convey the integral role of guns in their lives. And I hunted out one of my favourites too, msmoat's excellent Chances Change where I suppose it's the gun as confessor? truth teller? They set up a kind of truth or dare scenario around firing at cans:

Doyle raised his brows. "What's the wager?" There was something elementally satisfying about a shootout involving cans lined up on a fence.

"Simple enough. Seven cans, farthest fence. You shoot until you miss, then it's my turn."

"And the forfeit?"

Bodie looked at him. "You give me an honest answer to any question I ask."

Doyle narrowed his eyes, but he held Bodie's look. "And what if you miss?"

Bodie grinned and, inevitably, Doyle's stomach turned over. "You get a kiss." There was such absurdly optimistic hope in Bodie's voice that Doyle had to turn away to hide his expression. Daft sod. Playing with fire wasn't the half of it.

I love the scene that then develops, as the gunplay forces to the surface what they want, feel, etc.
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is a brilliant quote! Thank you. There's pros and cons in a poor memory because you can surprise yourself again and again by rediscovering things; on the downside I'd forgotten this scene even though I have read the story.

A couple of other people have reminded me of interesting gun scenes and I might do a Part 2 Guns posting - would you mind if I included this quote there? Of course I'll cite my sources......

Thanks again for enjoying it.
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Of course you can include it - I'd be thrilled!
Oct. 8th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot, Callistosh
Oct. 9th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC)
Oh S2K... you're amazing! Reading these passages, my heart started swelling and pounding til I thought it was going to burst from the unique beauty of these men and their guns. I love how you've organized it into different views for us, lovely to change lenses and take another long breathless look - I've tried to do this in the past and failed miserably, so thank you! I have to say that although I love each and every quote here, I discovered while reading them this time that the ultimate love for me is the description of Bodie in "Welcome to the Jungle" closely followed by the description in "Altruism". Too amazingly powerful and darkly gorgeous. Deep deep breaths. I will be on the look out for more passages on this theme...
Oct. 9th, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
Oh, thanks so much for your enthusiasm! I must admit that Welcome to the Jungle is just about my favourite depiction of Bodie (I always think we like the same kind of 'Bodie') and I also loved being reminded of this image of him:

He was stripping off his clothes now, leaving, like Doyle, only a T-shirt, black, tight, his muscular arms shrugging off his gun and holster: a manhunter.

Thanks, Paris.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )



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