This is a cap gun I bought at an antique mall in Wichita, KS, that served as the inspiration for the zap gun in “Another Girl, Another Planet”:
Today I get lucky. I find an antique zap gun buried under a bunch of first aid stuff. I figure the charge burnt out long ago, but while scratching dirt off the trigger, I accidentally shoot a white-hot beam into the wall, leaving a char-edged window into the sleeping quarters.
I wave away the smoke and tuck the gun under my space suit, secure in the elastic strap of my underwear, in case the isolation and homesickness get to be too much and I need it to, I don’t know, kill myself.
And here’s an old sci-fi pulp I picked up at a flea market in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, whose cover could plausibly illustrate the story. (I found it after I’d already wrote it, so I can’t say it was an inspiration, but it could’ve been.) The novella it actually illustrates, “Saturnalia,” by the well remembered and world renowned Randall Garrett, is about the gravity of a planet messing up the emotions of a spaceship’s crew so that the men all want to have sex with the one woman on the ship. But she acts like a bitch, and then they start beating each other up over her. (Like many writers of his time, Mr. Garrett had an extremely enlightened view of women.) Or something like that, I don’t remember.