I was looking through old Word documents saved on my computer from ages ago. After skimming through a fun title called "Dear Future Self," I found the first thing I ever wrote, schoolwork aside. I remember the experience well. The party life wasn't quite cutting it. All my friends were in the business of slamming down peach vodka and chasing it with equally sweet juice, which would have justifiably garnered several jokes of the homosexual nature if not for spraying their seed all over campus sl00ts like a god damn pressure washer during their nightly escapades. No way. I was going to be better than those fools. I was going to do something meaningful with my life and write Fallout fanfic. LOL. Thank our lord and savior on this day of his birth that I didn't join the site then.
The air around him hung heavy with smoke as he pushed the remainder of his caps into the center of the table. The two players around him smirked, one human and one ghoul, as they had been first-hand witnesses to the luck he possessed that night. Luck always seemed to be on his side, but something was different this night. Something was off. The dim lit tavern was filled with shady characters. Since the bombs fell, formal law was rare. Anyone who was brave enough to wear a badge usually ended up with a bullet in his back.
“All in”, the Stranger spoke in a calm, but confidant voice as he eyed the ghoul sitting to his right. The man to angrily threw down his cards on the table signaling he folds.
“I’ll call that bluff”, the pudgy kid to his left said as he pushed his stack of caps into the pot matching the stranger. No one knew who he was, but it wasn’t hard to figure out he came from wealth as he tossed caps around carelessly.
The Stranger fingered the brim of his Militia Hat, covering the majority of his facial features. The minuscule section of his face that remained visible displayed a thick, but well kept dark beard, as well as long, black hair that was a result of wandering the Wasteland. “Are you sure, Kid? Wouldn’t want to anger your Father by taking all your allowance.”
“Just shut up and show your hand,” the spoiled Kid answered.
As the Stranger slowly revealed his hand, card by card, the pudgy Kid’s eyes widened, as he knew he had been beat. For the first time that night luck had been on the Stranger’s side.
The kid screamed, “You cheated!” as he was not used to things not going his way. Spit flew out of his mouth as he threw a tantrum. His fists slammed on the table rocking the caps in the air as the Stranger reached towards them. Rage filled his eyes as he attempted to stop the Stranger from taking the caps. In the blink of an eye, the Stranger grabbed the Kid’s wrist twisting it downward, forcing his whole body to collapse on the table otherwise risking a broken arm.
The tavern stood quiet and still. The spoiled Kid was a regular and no one dared cross him because they knew the resources he had at his disposal. Not a second later, two figures emerged from the shadows, and with a deafening click pointed their revolvers at the Stranger holding the spoiled Kid to the table. Time stood still. The Stranger took in his surrounding with incredible precision. He analyzed how the Figures held their pistols. He would know, almost before they knew themselves, the moment the bullets would fire.
“You just made a big mistake, Mister”, the closest figured spoke in a low, graspy voice as he walked toward the table. The shadowy Figure’s arm tensed signaling to the Stranger bullets were about to fly. With a flip of the wrist, the Stranger put pressure on the spoiled Kid tossing his body between him and the two figures.
The first bullet slammed into his chest knocking the Kid’s body out of the Stranger’s grip. The second whirled past the Stranger as he rolled to the right. Mid roll, two laser pistols appeared from within the long overcoat of the Stranger. With a deep hum, two beams of blinding red light lit up the Tavern, hurled from the low posture of the Stranger. The smoke in the tavern radiated a red glow from the lasers. One beam struck the figure that spoke slicing his arm clean off from the elbow down, his blood contributing to the redness of the Tavern.
Mmm. So great. If only it fit the current contest theme, I could make an entry out of this great green jewel of a story. I wrote that sitting at a pizza place late at night, nursing a few cold ones. I was sitting alone in a booth, empty glasses next to my laptop, near the back of the joint of course--I didn't want anyone to view my screen and plagiarize the fanfic to rule them all. Strangely enough, some random dude took the otherside of the booth was I was a few paragraphs in. After sucking my dick orally (1. by means of speech; verbally.), saying something along the lines of "everyone's out partying, while you're working--you must be highly successful with a work ethic such as yours," he randomly asked to crash at my place. Now even though I'm writing this intentionally gay for the lolz, I wasn't getting a gay vibe from the dude. Obviously I told the fucker no. If that wasn't enough, I told him I was busy writing Fallout fanfic, and that he shouldn't mess with one so badass. Either because he was intimidated or knew that it's best to not associate with fanfic writers, he left me in peace.
Which brings us to today. Christmas motha fuckin' Day. Here, three years after dropping a steamy Brahmin pile in the form of fan fiction, I leave you with a quick rewrite of the original scene, the one that started it all, the one that staved off a potential rapist. If it feels like the literary equivalent of getting coal in your stocking, good. That's what I'm going for. Merry Christmas, my talented fucktards.
Heavy smoke hung in the air of the tavern. The patrons inside didn’t seem to mind it. It sure as hell was easier to breathe than the air outside, a byproduct of the big ol’ bombs. Before the war, people hung their hats as they walked into an establishment such as this one. Now, they simply removed their gas masks.
Blackjack. Not even atomic bombs could stop the game from being played. The world was nuked to hell, and men still gambled whatever was used for currency. That came in the form of bottle caps nowadays, a handful being more valuable than a stack of American benjamins. Green felt lined the poker table, ripped in more places than one, a nice distraction from a few questionable stains. Four players sat, eyeing one another. Three men and a ghoul, not unlike the beginning to an unsavory joke.
“All in,” the Stranger spoke in a raspy whisper. Not that his voice wasn’t filled with strength. Rather, it was just the right amount of volume, scarred by ancestors of his cigarillo, which puffed out a consistent stream of smoke with his words.
To the Stranger’s left sat a pudgy kid on the verge of manhood. His face wore inexperience along with more than a few red dots of testament to his youth. “I’ll call your bluff,” the kid answered, joining his stack of caps with the Stranger’s. The ghoul folded. As did the remaining man at the table, one with an incredible plain face which held no defining traits of their own.
The Stranger’s fingers touched the brim of his Militia hat, adjusting it ever so slightly to glance at the table better, his face remaining shrouded by its shadow, amplified by the heavy smoke in the air. If uncovered, the gamblers would see a man with a dark beard. It could be cleanly-shaved in the morning and still make an appearance by the evening.
“You sure you want to do that, kid?” the Stranger asked. “I’m just passing through these parts, and leaving with heavy pockets would only slow me down.”
Pudgy cheeks turned towards the Stranger. “Then why gamble such a large amount?”
White teeth shine underneath the Militia Hat’s brim, contrasting the shadow. “Because it’s damn fun. And whiskey ain’t free.”
“Just shut up and show your hand,” the youth answered, a slight voice-crack inflection nearly accompanying.
“Obliged,” the Stranger said, revealing his cards, a straight flush against the kid’s two pair. They’re aces, but still not a winning hand.
“You cheated!” the kid yelled, motioning to prevent the Stranger from taking his caps from the table. In response, the Stranger grabbed the kid’s wrist with one hand and drew his laser pistol with the other. Instead of an armful of caps, the kid was met with a face full of pistol.
“Now, now. Let’s not get hasty,” the Stranger rasped, finger on the trigger. “These are mine. And I’m sure as hell not in the charity business.”
“Are you brain dead? Do you know who my father is?” the youth spat. The other gamblers kindly removed themselves from the table, obviously knowing who the kid’s father is. “You’re a dead man for laying a hand on me.”
“Nothing I ain’t heard before. And nothing I probably won’t hear again,” the Stranger said, narrowing his eyes on the crowded tavern. Movement. Two figures, reaching into their inner jackets. Bodyguards of the kid. Babysitters, in reality. Armed ones at that.
Red beams of light filled the tavern. Two shots fired by the Stranger hit their mark, not fatal by any means, but enough to drop both assailants. The Stranger wasn’t hired to shoot them dead. You know what they say about being good at something. Senses high, hat brim low, the Stranger scanned the tavern a second time. Its inhabitants were in an uproar, rushing to escape the gunfight, collecting whatever caps they could on the way out. No one else seemed to be drawing a weapon.
The Stranger returned his attention to the youth. “You might not know it, but today’s the luckiest god damn day of your life.” He slammed the butt of his pistol against the kid’s nose, sending a spray of red into the air. Its shade is of a darker red than the energy cells just fired.
With a forefinger and thumb, the Stranger pulled the cigarillo from the corner of his lips, adding to the tavern a final time, breathing in the smoke while he could. Where he’s headed, the air won’t be as fresh.