We stopped by the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market Saturday and were pleasantly surprised by the breadth of vendors on hand. But we spent a good 30 minutes at the Red Ranger Ray Guns table, where the 7-year-old who lives in my house and other wee passers-by discovered the possibilities presented by discarded Nerf guns, Super Soakers, power washers and other household items brought back to the future. What you see above are but a few of the items rescued from the dustbin by Caleb Winter Massey, who hawks his wares via Etsy, where he writes of his obsession:
My first exposure to ray guns and their unparalleled awesomeness was on a fourth grade field trip. Some science dude was talking about something, but I honestly don't remember anything about that lecture. The ray gun he was holding had taken control of my mind. It was the Hubley Atomic Disintegrator with it's clean, classic look and wonderful red handle. I had the brief opportunity to hold this masterpiece and never wanted to let go.
Some of the items you see above are just for show; Massey, it should be noted, fabricated the arsenal used in Theatre Three's 2010-2011 Main Stage season-opener Sherlock Holmes in the Crucifer of Blood. But two of the rifles made noise and lit up, while the so-called Neutralizers and Gophers you see here fire Nerf darts (and further than you'd think). They run $18 and come with quite the, ahem, backstory:
The Red Rangers were founded in 1885 as a Special-Ops branch of the Texas Rangers to combat the increasing tide of railroad pirates. They became pioneers in advanced weaponry, employing the use of the greatest scientific minds of their time. With their genius, the Red Rangers developed the most awe inspiring display of atomic and steam powered devices ever witnessed.
These are those creations. They have been declassified and made available to civilians. For the health and safety of you and your family, all weapons have had their energy cores drained.
Better still, they're considered quite the green machines: Last month, Massey's creations made Recycling.com's list of Fifteen Custom-Built Recycled Nerf Guns.
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