Merc Rule 3

Written by J. D. Wiley --- Art by J. D Wiley

Merc Rule 3: Just ’cause you can outdrink the boss don’t mean you should.

Every merc is entitled to a little drink on the job. It’s an unwritten rule. Call it a perk of the bloody business. But while many will argue there’s no such thing as too much whiskey, there’s a certain rule of thumb to follow.

You can thank Boozer Hayes for the lesson.

Me, Spivey, and Boozer found ourselves in a “hurry up and wait” situation. So we stretched out at Granny Lemieux’s Guns and Grub until the rest of our crew showed up. If you know anything about mercenary work, you know waiting is half the job. Drinking passes the time. That’s what makes us so damn good at the profession. And Boozer’s a fella who can put it away like a champion. Can drink his weight in whiskey and still tap-dance on the bar. But even he can take it too far.

While we were waiting for the rest of the boys to show up the boss walked in. Mr. Big Money Marquez himself. As in, the inventor of the Marquez Scale. And he’s got rules for the mercs he hires on. One of ’em is knowing how to handle your liquor. Big Money’s a big drinker, and if you’re a five on his fabled scale, then you’re halfway to drinking yourself to a meeting with Old Man Death.

Unless you’re Boozer Hayes.

Anyhow, there’s a couple notable mercs that ain’t shown up yet. Daisy ‘Bloodlust’ Ortega and Snake Matthews. So Big Money keeps the rounds going and the whiskey flowing. About eight shots in, me and Spivey tap out. No point drinking ourselves under the table. But Boozer is going tit for tat with Big Money, and he had himself a half day’s head start.

Big Money’s pockets are deep and he ain’t one to be outdone. Not by anyone at anything. The pair of ‘em were throwing drinks back so fast the barkeep had trouble keeping up. By the time Snake and Daisy sauntered in, Big Money was hugging the floor for dear life. And Boozer, bless his soul, still looked thirsty.

Nobody got paid that day, ’cause we never made it out of the bar. And that’s why you never out-drink the boss.

Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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