Merc Rule 34: You ain’t gotta be tough to be a merc, but it helps to look the part.
If you ain’t tough, you better be smart, have the right weapons, or some mean desperados backing you up. The last two ain’t particularly hard to accomplish. But the first one, well, you either got brains or you don’t. Without one of them three you’re gonna run into trouble more often than not. And that’s where looking tough comes into play. The tougher you look, the more likely you are to run trouble off before it runs up on you.
There are plenty o’ ways to accomplish this. From exercise and eggs, to wearing tattoos and forgetting to smile. But nothing beats a strong mustache and a chiseled jaw. Mercs with a weak chin might want to grow a full beard. Ladies included.
There was a fella running with the convicts and bad apples we found in the tunnels. Name of Percival Ferguson. Well, he’d be upset if he knew I was divulging that. Percy goes by the handle “Pitbull” for obvious reasons. You ain’t scaring anyone off with the name Percy.
Pitbull’s a stout fella, big arms and legs. Like tree trunks covered in hair and ink. He wears a mean handle-bar mustache. Looks like he might’ve fell out the south end of a north-facing ox. Fella like that fits right in with all the other’s salty characters that formed the Solid-cast soldiers.
‘Cept me and Spivey, we discovered he’s as tender-footed as a newborn babe. He’s all show. And apparently, no one else figured it out. We ain’t spilling his secret, ’cause looking tough is all that big bastard has.
A few jokes and manly arm punches and all of a sudden Percy is rubbing his biceps and fighting back tears. Might be a hair of an exaggeration, but the man is as big a pansy as I’ve ever seen. There ain’t no other word for it. Lucky for Pitbull Ferguson bluffing is half a merc’s game, and when he walks into the room he fills it up.
So remember, if you ain’t everything merc should be, at the very least it helps to look the part.
—Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc
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