Swords Need No Demonstration

Kevin Drum has a post on right-wing anger over a Pizza Hut delivery guy who was fired after he shot an armed robber. Pizza Hut fired him because corporate policy prohibits employees from carrying weapons on the job (“Guns on the Job,” Political Animal, The Washington Monthly, 2 April 2008). This seems like the opportune occasion to break out another passage from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash:

When they gave him the job, they gave him a gun. The Deliverator never deals in cash, but someone might come after him anyway — might want his car, or his cargo. The gun is tiny, aero-styled, lightweight, the kind of gun a fashion designer would carry; it fires teensy darts that fly at five times the velocity of an SR-71 spy plane, and when you get done using it, you have to plug it into the cigarette lighter, because it runs on electricity.

The Deliverator never pulled that gun in anger, or in fear. He pulled it once in Gila Highlands. Some punks in Gila Highlands, a fancy Burbclave, wanted themselves a delivery and they didn’t want to pay for it. Thought they would impress the Deliverator with a baseball bat. The Deliverator took out his gun, centered its laser doohickey on the poised Louisville Slugger, fired it. The recoil was immense, as though the weapon had blown up in his hand. The middle third of the baseball bat turned into a column of burning sawdust accelerating in all directions like a burning star. Punk ended up holding this bat handle with milky smoke pouring out the end. Stupid look on his face. Didn’t get nothing but trouble from the Deliverator.

Since then the Deliverator has kept the gun in the glove compartment and relied instead on a matching set of samurai swords, which have always been his weapon of choice anyhow. The punks in Gila Highlands weren’t afraid of the gun, so the Deliverator was forced to use it. But swords need no demonstration. (pp. 1-2)

Note this is from pages one and two. I have a minor interest in how authors begin a book and so occasionally will pick up a book and just read the first few sentences or paragraphs. This is the most memorable book beginning I have ever encountered. What follows is the text that, not having read it, you have not fully claim to have joined the ranks of geekdom.

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