Merc Rule 20

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

Merc Rule 20: Shotguns are like oil paintings. It turns into a big mess if you stand too close.

Typically, you wanna be at close range for a shotgun to work its magic. Common knowledge, yes. But for them that’s squeamish, there’s such thing as too close.

Every merc, mime, and meter-maid knows that a blast from anywhere inside of three feet will turn your guts into a tire swing. Hell, up close with the right buckshot, you can damn near launch a cow into space. Only drawback being that you wind up repainting the walls with one shell. Unless you’re partial to red…

It takes a special kinda lady to be a scatter-gun specialist. The kind that don’t mind things getting a little messy. The kind like Shotgun Sadie. ‘Course, “lady” is a bit of a stretch. The lass likes her steak rare, and her men… women. Might be why we get along so well. Or it might be because she’s a wild-haired redhead with more sand than most of the men I know.

Anyway, me, Spivey, and Sadie found ourselves up in the Ashlands, trying to recover some stolen goods for a merchant caravan. It’s hard to track much of anything—man or critter—in the Ashlands. What, with the constant flakes of gray snowing down. But Spivey’s half bloodhound.

Three days riding and we fell upon a band of mutie bastards dragging a cart full of elixirs and strong drink. Same self ones reported missing. There’s five of ’em in all. Two hauling the cart. A taskmaster in the rear. Two lookouts up front. We sort it out so that me and Spivey come at ’em in from the sides, while Sadie goes up the middle. If we gotta use guns in the Ashlands, we gotta make it quick. Sound travels a long way in dead places. Last thing we need is a whole tribe of them god-forsaken bastards overtaking us.

We belly into position and Sadie gives the signal. By blowing a hole in the taskmaster twelve inches wide. Me and Spivey might have let off a shot each before Sadie looses her cannon point blank. Turns them other two poor bastards into puffs of red confetti and body parts.

Thinking on it now brings the term “buckets o’ blood” to mind.

So consider yourself warned. Whether you be faint of heart, or just flat out blinded by meaty bits. Not every merc is prepared for the mess that ensues.

It’s like I always say, a prosperous merc is a prepared one. And that’s why Shotgun Sadie wears goggles.

-Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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