Merc Rule 36

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

Merc Rule 36: The proper way to tell if a steak is done is to slap it and see if it moos.

Every merc in the bloody business knows that after a hard day’s work there’s few things greater than a cold beer and a thick, juicy steak. Mercs’ll argue over how it should be seasoned, what cuts are the best, and what companion beers really compliment that savory flavor. But few argue over how it should be cooked.

It’s worth noting that this has been a source of contention and vigorous disagreement between me and Spivey for years. That bastard likes to ruin a good steak like he likes losing money at the poker table. Shoves it right up under the flame until it’s charred blacker’n a crow’s ass. Pure blasphemy.

Now, I can appreciate a good grill as much as the next man. The mouthwatering smell of fat crackling over the fire is an aroma no merc can deny. But you gotta know when to take the damn thing off the spit.

Me, Spivey and Stab were sitting ourselves down after finishing up the defenses for the Solid-cast Barracks. Pitbull, that big lunk, he wanders over with a few slabs of wild bison. Whether he’s kissing ass after we found out his little secret, or just chumming up, who’s to say? But I can see by the marbling in the cuts that he brung us the good stuff.

The three of us are salivating like flies on a fresh pile of shit. Stab breaks out the cutlery, slivers off the bones, and cuts the meat into good-sized medallions. Spivey works up a cozy cookfire. Meanwhile, I’m greasing my trusty cast iron skillet, seasoning it with the proper salts and oils.

When we’re all set, I wheedle Spivey into let me take charge of his steak. Tell him worst case scenario he can always cook it more. But once it’s burnt, you can’t bring back that juicy goodness.

So I sear that bad boy. Flip it. Sear the other side the same way. Few things in life smell as heavenly as the sizzle of cool meat against hot iron. I stab it and pull it off the pan. Still nice and supple and juicy.

Spivey carves off a dark cutlet with a pink center. Hot on the outside, still shivering in the middle. The ol’ boy is hesitant, but when he bites into that first juicy morsel, the look on his face tells me he knows he’s been wrong his whole life.

It’s always a pleasure doing the Lord’s work. Converting godless steak burners into the Almighty’s chosen, true meat eaters. You might say it’s my calling. Might even call me a missionary of sorts. And I’d gladly accept the moniker. Somebody’s gotta do it.

Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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