Heck Gets Flea-Dipped 

I'm not normally one to dip into flea markets, but it's not because I don't enjoy shopping at them. The problem is that whenever I do, I realize afterward how close I am to getting accidentally killed at any given moment, and I can't sleep for days.

This weekend, I stopped at a bazaar in a central Idaho town (I'm afeared to say which one), and found it to be no exception. It mixed the heady flavors of $3.75 hotdogs, plenty of real dogs without leashes, Confederate Flag toothbrushes, hilariously official-looking novelty signs for the home (including "YOU ARE NOW IN RANGE" and "I DON'T CALL 911," both with pictures of guns pointing at the reader), thousands of used VHS tapes and a few glass cases packed with "Black Americana"--please don't make me explain it. But what really caught my attention was a scene at a shop whose sign read, "REAL BLOWGUNS $5!"

"Thre you go, son," said the middle-aged woman behind the counter as she handed a boy no older than 8 a pink, foot-long blowgun complete with six steel-tipped darts. The boy's father, or someone resembling him, put his hand on the kid's shoulder. "Now you be careful," she continued with her right index finger out an exact 135˚ angle. "These are not toys, and you can not shoot them at certain people."


Whoever those "certain people" are, I was certainly not certain I was on the no-fire list. So I fled to do my job and cover the second-weirdest event in Valley County, an extreme sports decathlon.

--Nicholas Collias

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