Not many days pass that a delivery truck doesn’t pull up next door. Meat and Tater do most of their shopping online.

I used to be curious about the boxes piled up on the porch. But familiarity blunts curiosity and, let’s face it, there’s nothing interesting about a shipment of trash bags.

So when Meat stopped me yesterday and said, “Come over and check out what I got in the mail last week,” I figured I was going to see a case of heat pump filters or the latest smart can opener.

“Well I’m kind of in a hurry here, I’ll stop by when I get back.”

“Oh no, you’re going to want to see this now.”

It’s easier, and usually faster, to just go along with Meat, so I walked over. He was standing at the door holding an object that looked like a cross between a small intake manifold and a Star Trek phaser.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I got a 3D printer last week, this is a Liberator.”

“What’s ... ? Wait ... is that one of those plastic ghost guns?”

Meat held out the object. I took it as he held the door for me. “How’d you get the program for this?  I thought a judge blocked the release.”

“Come on SJ,  it’s the Internet. You can get anything you want if you know where to look.”

I turned the object over in my hands. It was light, off-white plastic, like you could just wander into a hardware store and grab it in the plumbing supplies.

“Have you tried it out yet?”

“Are you kidding? Not a chance. Likely blow right up in your hand.”

I tossed it back to him. “Think you could get this past airport security? They say plastic doesn’t show up.”

“Not if you planned to use it. The firing pin is steel. And that bullet ain’t plastic, either. Anyway, check this out.”

Meat turned to a box like object sitting on the coffee table. It resembled a small microwave oven but you could hear something mechanical moving inside it, back and forth. It was hooked to a laptop sitting next to it.

“This only cost me 700 bucks. Just two years ago these things were at least a couple thousand. Soon you’ll get ‘em at Wally World for $119.95.”

“That’s great, but what are you doing with it?  You’ve got plenty of guns ... ”

Meat gave me that look. “Guns? What moron needs a bunch of plastic guns that’d melt after a couple of shots? I’m going to use this baby for something that’ll be a lot rarer than a gun.”

At that moment the box on the table buzzed and you could hear the mechanics moving to a rest position. Meat opened the door and blocked my view of what was inside. He gazed inside for a second, then reached in and pulled out a long thin object.

“This is America SJ, you can get a gun anywhere. But before long, you won’t be able to find these babies anywhere and demand will be high. When that happens, I’ll be ready.”

He held up a nearly perfect, off-white plastic straw.

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