Why Is This Popular? Random Gunfire

by Steve Mullaney

If you’ve been around Xela for longer than a week or so then you have been woken up by two things: firecrackers and gunfire. Ideally, you have learned the difference between the two – that way you won’t jump into the middle of gang warfare singing Las Mananitas.

In general I try and tell myself that the noises are “happy gunfire” celebrating a victory at solitaire or the birth of a farm animal and not “angry gunfire” that I will read about in Prensa Libre the following day. The following are the lies about gunfire’s popularity I tell myself so I can sleep behind a triple-locked door.

1) It’s actually bubble wrap. Being popped very slowly. And accompanied by occasional screams of joy that the wrap is being popped in a slow, methodical way. Although I have never seen bubble wrap in Guatemala, I can only assume that it’s because the subject is taboo and/or sacred and only popped at night on questionable street corners.

2) Much like we tell children that rain is God crying, this is actually God cracking God’s knuckles. What if God were working on a blog about, say, baking a different kind of muffin every day for a year? It would follow that God would need to type this account on a computer and always starts out with an earth-shaking series of cracks.

3) A father somewhere is looking for his son named Bang and is shouting his name every so often. Apparently Bang likes to sneak out at night and Bang’s father has a very limited vocabulary.  Either that or Bang’s father has fallen and cannot get up and needs the help of Bang, the only man strong enough to lift him up. Or many other possibilities if you buy the story of a man named Bang.

4) It’s just some good old-fashioned people shooting each other. Before the feel-good liberal P.C. invasion two fellows could just up and shoot each other whenever there was an argument. And this wasn’t a problem. No sir. It was just the way things were.

Ultimately, there’s very little to be afraid of, as long as you’re able to keep straight the preceding reasons. The firecracker-to-gunfire ratio that currently exists is strongly in the favor of firecrackers and the joyous birthday celebrations that always seem to happen around 5 AM. Still, given the weather, nothing keeps you warm at night like a bulletproof vest.

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