Merc Rule 35

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

Merc Rule 35: Don’t get bloody, cut toward your buddy. -Stab McKay

It’s a well-known fact that ol’ Stab is a master of the blade. He can carve up men as easily as a side of beef. But what most folks don’t know about him is that he’s also a mean whittler. Yes sir, you hand him a knife and a stick and he’ll hack, cleave, and strip that puppy into a masterpiece every time.

Stab was up north and dropped me and Spivey a visit while we were helping build fortifications for the Solid-cast Soldiers. A barracks, if you will. They wanted a headquarters, and they’d already earned it five times over. You’d never guess that recruiting a bunch of lowlifes and telling ’em that their city needed ’em would turn ’em around so quickly.

But they’ve been busy clearing rubble, buildings, and helping rebuild since they were invited into the fold. There’s some competition, though. The Syndicate. High-tech drug runners causing problems. Peddling their wares to the locals, and creating a ruckus. Some of the Solid-cast are dealing with ’em in their own way.

Anyhow, me and Spivey, we were cutting stakes for the trenches around the Barracks. Lining ’em nice and tight. Those Syndicate bastards weren’t getting in anytime soon. Not without a fight.

About halfway through the day, we’re getting tired, but we’re still cutting spikes. Had to have cut five hundred between us. Spivey’s hand needs a rest, so he switches to lefty and turns his spike around the other way. He lets slip his knife and skins the meat of his thumb something fierce. A real gusher.

I rush over and we get it bandaged up good and tight. Stab asks him how he’d been cutting the stakes that he skinned himself so bad. Spivey picks up his knife, sits a take in his lap, and rakes it up toward himself.

“Always cut away from yourself.” Stab shakes his head.

“I know,” says Spivey. “It was stupid. I was just tired, and switched hands.”

Stab shrugs. “I got an old adage, a poem, if you will. Goes like this: Don’t get bloody, cut toward your buddy.” He motions away with his knife.

Most mercs already know that, Spivey included, but everyone has an off day. Never hurts to be reminded, though.

Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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