Merc Rule 41

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

Merc Rule 41: A merc don’t need anyone’s approval. As long as he’s getting paid. -Snake Matthews

Now, every merc has done things he wished he hadn’t. But at the end of the day, feeding your belly is more important than feeding your conscience. They both nag you, but one of ‘em is a whole lot more serious about it. So if you’ve gotta draw the line in the sand, draw it after you get your dinner. Them who don’t ain’t likely to eat as often as them who do.

Leave it to Snake Matthews to get down to brass tacks with morals. Or lack thereof. He ain’t exactly a shining paragon of chivalrous intent. Neither is his wife, Daisy Bloodlust. Probably why the two get on as well as they do.

I digress.

Me and Spivey crawled all the way out to Jericho Hill for a drink with Snake. Wanted to add a little of his wisdom to the latest memoir. Even if his particular brand of advice is a bit… off-color

So we all sat down for a Snubnose Lager at the Grit and Grandeur. Can’t complain about the beer. It’s always cold, even when it’s hot enough out to cook an egg on a shady stone. Desert folk know how to take the edge off a blistering day like none other.

The way Snake tells it, mercs have a job to do. Simple as that. Doesn’t matter what it is. Might be helping some poor bastard get across the Red Frontier. Might be getting revenge on some Ashlanders for wrongs they done to the local townsfolk. Might just be some good ol’ fashioned killing. It ain’t a merc’s job to question which side of right his next meal lies on. It’s just a merc’s job to complete the task. It’s a hard way of looking at things. And not every fella is apt to agree.

Snake’s reasoning is thus: If it ain’t you getting paid to do it, it’ll just be some other bastard. And at the end of the day, you might as well collect the coin and have some say in how it all went down. A man’s gotta eat, after all.

Does that make a merc bad? Maybe to some. But every day in the life of a merc is full of hard choices. We put our life on the line to collect the bill and try not to worry too much about the details. It’s up to the Almighty to sort out the rest.

Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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