Merc Rule 19

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

Merc Rule 19: There’s two types of mercs. Them who boast, and them who can kick their asses.

There’s plenty of big-talking mercs out there. Huckster Souza, Bilk Beasley, Gap-tooth Gallagher… to name a few. Most of us in the bloody business have the gift of gab to some degree or another. But it’s the ones who say nothing at all that are the most dangerous. A certain deficiency in ass-kickery tends to inspire a silver tongue. That ain’t to say that Souza, Beasley, and Gallagher can’t hold their own. But it IS to say that mercs with a real talent for violence tend to let their guns do the talking.

Following that logic, it stands to reason that a fella like Thaddeus King, the Butcher of Babylon, would be a mute. A merc of that reputation—with a history black as frostbite and twice as cold—ain’t likely to be a man of many words. And make no mistake, that dark mountain of muscle likes his peace and quiet. So when someone like Badmouth Douglas walks in with her crew it’s like laying a big greasy turd across the welcome mat.

If you’ve run with any of the rowdier merc crews you know that every outfit has at least one instigator. A shit-talking fella who wouldn’t know when to keep his mouth shut if you pissed straight into it. The same fella picking fights with the biggest merc in the room. Counting on his crew to come and back him up. Problem is, Badmouth Douglas’ entire crew fits that description.

And wouldn’t you know, one of ’em thought it’d be a good idea to go flapping his gums to King. Letting him know he was the who’s who of tough guys, and that ol’ King better watch his step. But when you’ve put as many men in mud coffins as King has, you’re damn near unflappable. That is, unless some idiot takes a jab at Hammerhead Ozzie, his partner. Do that, and King’s patience is about as thin as a rat’s nuts stretched over a five-gallon drum.

The fella said something to the effect of, “Ozzie… Ain’t you that overrated bastard that weren’t shit twenty years ago, and is only half the man now?” Ozzie shrugged, and replied, “I suspect you’re right. So what does that make a nobody like you?”

The shit storm that ensued was a thing of legend.

Might as well have let a wolf loose in a hen house. Thaddeus King, the Butcher of Babylon, set right to work. Men flew across the saloon. Arms were yanked plumb out of their sockets. Knees were broke. Ribs splintered. Skulls stove in. And all this, with nothing but his own two hands.

Me and Spivey were dragging ’em out into the street two at a time. It was all we could do to keep the floors clear of the mercs King had beaten senseless. Some of the poor bastards were already being fitted for coffins.

So remember, when it comes to talking, there’s only two kinds of mercs… And that’s why you never run your mouth around a merc who says nothing at all.

-Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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