A Gun Called Comeuppance by Danny Hogan
April 1, 2011 Fiction
In a post-apocalyptic Texas, Jezebel St. Etienne faces a world filled with herds of bestial mutants, brutal bandits, violence and tragedy, yet still manages to take down the unrighteous.
I don’t expect you to be on my side from the get go. But, give it some time and you just may be. I’m round the back of the titty bar by Friendship Station buying a bunch of weeping kids from some traffickers. Ain’t on my side yet are you?‘You see they’re all in prime condition, ain’t been broken in yet,’ says Choctaw McGraw, my primary contact. A bearded bastard with a growing out Mohawk, who looks like the kind of fuck who wouldn’t think anything of stealing the pennies from a vagrants arse. He can’t take his eyes off me but that’s the point. His gaze never goes above my neck. I’m wearing my battered old trench coat open just enough to show of my nastily short min-skirt and a tank top that’s way too small and threatening to lose the fight for keeping my tits from busting free.‘Just pay us bitch so we can get out of here.’ This from Shady Jane, a skinny mare with a fat girl’s attitude. My outfit ain’t working on her. For some reason I didn’t figure on her being here. She only turns up at the really big deals.One of the kids, there are three in all, two boys and a girl, looks at me hopefully, her mouth contorts and she begs, ‘please miss’.Shady Jane smacks the kid hard around the back of the head and tells her to shut up.
I think about a deep blue ocean for a second and then say, ‘I ain’t taking no damaged merch.’
‘You can shut up, too. Ain’t you done this before? These shits are gonna need more than that if you want ’em to work for you,’ replies the delightful Jane.
There are two others with Choctaw and Jane but they don’t say nothing. They just stand there looking menacing. Who they are, I don’t know and I don’t give a fuck. I suppose they’re there to make sure I ain’t gonna pull a fast one. Yeah. They’re boys so they’re just gawping at me like Choctaw. I’m small but my chest didn’t seem to take any notice of that when it was growing.
‘Got my pay?’ Choctaw asks my tits.
‘Yeah, I got your pay all right,’ I say reaching into my trench coat.
People tend to laugh when they see me wield my .44. True it looks way too big for me. I suppose they imagine that the recoil will blast me back quicker than the slug going in the opposite direction. To some people the whole scene in front of them may seem strange. A 19 year-old, 5’3” (well 5’10” if you count the twin Mohawks that run parallel on my head) pointing a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum with a 7-and-a half inch barrel at ’em. It always begins the same way, they laugh. It always ends the same way too. I pull the trigger, they ain’t laughing no more.
All this and, the way I’m dressed, none of these bastards pull their pieces, not even that bitch Jane. They’re stunned for a second or so. The kids stop weeping. Then Choctaw begins the smirking. What do you know? The others follow suite and then the full on laughing starts.
‘What the hell’s that, penis envy?’ says Jane.
‘You ain’t got the guts, kid,’ says Choctaw wiping tears from his piggy eyes. ‘I can see you shaking from here. Besides,’ he struggles to get a grip, ‘you won’t hit us with that cannon unless you’re point blank,’ and to illustrate his point he stands with his hands wide apart, offering up an open target.
True I was shaking. But not with fear. I’m still learning to compensate for the adrenalin.
He, like the others is still laughing. I pull the trigger. Boom. Choctaw’s head comes apart like a Christmas bauble full of hot sauce. Beautiful. See, I learnt to compensate for recoil a while ago.
Now they’re stunned again, dumb bastards. Which gives me time. This god damned gun I love so much is only single action, see. The kids are squealing and its putting me off.
Jane draws first, which pisses me off because I wanted to save her until last. She’s the one they use to lure these kids, see, plus she’s a cunt. Oh well, can’t always have what you want. She’s there, weapon half drawn, glaring and threatening all kinds of shit. You know how legend says that a .44 can take someone’s head clean off? And then some ballistic experts say, well, no it can’t? What I’ve found is, if you aim for the throat, just under the chin, you can make a person’s head flip right back like it’s on a hinge or something. The boom, smack and crack sound it makes is cool as fuck. OK, so it’s not clean off, but it sure as Hell shut Jane up.
I was expecting this to be an uphill struggle but the two, so-called muscle only go and down-tools.
They whimper shit about not being anything to do with this, about how they were just told to turn up for a job. How, when they discovered what it was all about, they were /going/ to pull out, yada yada.
I could go into all sorts of crap about how they are as guilty as Choctaw and Jane, so on and so forth. But I really can’t be fucked. I decide to let Comeuppance, my .44, do the talking. She tells them to fuck off, permanently.
Yeah, I’d like to say Vengeance is my middle name, but it ain’t. It’s Misery. Jezebel Misery St. Etienne, that’s me, and I’m here to level some shit up.
You’re probably expecting me to save these damn kids now ain’t you? What do I look like, a nanny? Leave them there too fend for themselves, it didn’t do me no harm.
I look around and behold the image of sorrow in these three urchins, snivelling and generally making a god-awful noise. Oh Hell.
I know a safe haven on the other side of town. That, by the way, is a sure path to damnation. Thugs, thieves, mercs, fascists, bounty hunters and raiders are all waiting for me down that road. Speaking of roads, most of them are impassable, too. This was a city once. And, with three kids too small to fight in tow, it’s going to be a long old trip through Hell. Bring it on.
‘Come on, I’ll take you somewhere safe,’ I mutter.
I begin to walk but the kids just stand there. I turn around to see what the fuck is going on and two of the kids are just trying to stop their snivelling while the bigger one of the boys glares at me purposefully.
‘Miss, you’re mean. We know you was trying to buy us, maybe you never had no money and you was trying to get us for free? Why the Hell should we go with you?’
‘Fine,’ I say, ‘stay here and become entertainment for whichever lowlife comes wondering by. If you’re lucky, you’ll starve to death before then.’ I take a hit of rum from my flask and begin walking. I decide to head to the other side of town anyway. I’m still up for a fight and in the mood for some sex and violence.
I wish there’d been someone around to place a wager with. I’ll be damned if I don’t hear the patter of small footsteps behind me. I admit it OK, I’m glad. I ain’t a complete cunt.
It’s not that I hate kids, I don’t. They just can’t drink or fight worth shit or anything else that interests me. They also don’t shut-up. Even when they’re not yapping away they make noises.
I’ve been told, the journey across town used to take around 40 minutes. Now it takes the best part of a day and, when I say day, I mean 24-hours. Well, I’m encumbered and these kids look hungry. Hungry kids make more noise, it turns out, be damned. Mercifully my city safe house is on the way. This’ll serve three functions. Feed myself and the brats, get ’em some rest because they’re gonna need it and pick up equipment.
My abode’s a dank utility base
ment at the bottom of an abandoned building that has been left half demolished. The room itself is lovely. It has fixtures that I scavenged from a hotel that was left to rot. I even got some plastic plants, fairy lights and all sorts of fancy bric-a-brac I picked up along the way. My single bed is in one corner and opposite the main door is my desk. Next to the desk is my rack of guns.
I take a slug of whiskey, some cheap shit I pilfered, and get to the task of cleaning my .44. I look over at the brats, who commandeered my god damned bed straightaway, and are now fast asleep. I hate feeling stuff.
Yeah, I’ve been in love, once. He was famous, too. A legend to peaceful folks. A scourge and no-good to the shit, filth, scum and traffickers.
I used to be a raider myself, see. Going around as high as fuck, robbing stealing, murdering, you name it. Then one day I was out with my crew and he came along. We knew who he was. He’d been around for decades, before most of us were born even, bringing justice to this justice-less world. I tell ya, I was even more full of myself then than I am now but, on seeing him, my heart started beating so hard I thought it was going to break free of my chest and make a run for it. It wasn’t fear this time either. Four quick shots from his repeater and my crew belonged to yesterday. I had never seen such shooting.
Oh man, when I think of that moment. Him standing there in his duster and wide awake, pointing that thing at me with the new day’s sun coming up behind him. His looks were so rugged. A real, true man, not like the others. The admiration and lust I felt then, well, I ain’t never felt anything like that before or since.
They say being out there reverts you back to your animal side. Well, I guess it does because he must have smelled me or something as he lowered his weapon. He had probably put paid to hundreds of girls like me in the past. Out there in wastes we were ten-a-penny. But, lucky for me, the attraction was mutual. Well, we did it there and then in the dirt and dust.
He taught me about the importance of compassion and understanding. That normal folks, who were just trying to cut a life out for themselves from nothing, needed protection. About how damned wrong things were.
He talked a lot about this guy Gilberto, his nemesis or something.
About a year ago, he was cleaning his guns at this very table with me kneeling under it sucking him off. Just at the moment the floodgates opened some of Gilberto’s boys burst in and blew his head to pieces, leaving me on my knees with a mouthful of dead man’s cum. Dunno how they found us but it was news to them that we were an item. One of the bastards reckoned he had a sense of humour and put a gun to my head and forced me to swallow. Yeah, then they raped me to hell, beat the shit out of me and left me for dead. I still get the ringing in my ears and them awful gut cramps. They should have shot me there and then. All I know is, one day I’ll get that dirty bastard Gilberto and his boys.
I kick the kids awake and feed them some of my precious rations, goddamnit. Then I equip. OK, I’m gonna need my man’s old repeater, for range work; four grenades for laughs and of course Comeuppance for the hurt. You may think that there’s no way the repeater, one of them old Henry rifles, would have survived and be serviceable after all these years, and you’d be right. It’s a real Washington’s hatchet effort with all of the parts having been duplicated and replaced over the centuries. I don’t give a fuck. It shoots strait and brings the pain.
We set off at a good pace but it doesn’t take long for this, escorting kids to safety routine, to get old. Stupid little varmints’ legs are too short for most of the terrain, clambering over ruins is all part of the game, see. Add their constant grumbling and you’ve got some idea of what level of hell I’m in.
After many uneventful, prattleful hours the safe haven is in sight now, but this here is no man’s land. Anything could happen between here and there. We are making our way through some craggy rocks, heading down this ridge on a hill towards a monstrous concrete affair surrounded by corrugated iron fences that is the safe house, when I discover how right I am not to let my guard down.
I hear the laughing first; I recognise it from a year ago. It makes my skin crawl and the adrenaline pump. Appearing from behind some burnt out vehicles are the three bastards who killed my man and raped me. With them is that fat, evil bastard Gilberto.
Those fucks must have tracked us.
I have never known him to walk around with such a small contingent of muscle to protect his overstuffed, used up couch of a backside. This is too perfect but then again it isn’t. Sometimes I hate the way things turn out. This could be the best opportunity for me to get revenge that I will ever have, if it wasn’t for these damned weak little kids cowering behind me. They make far too good a target for that evil dick Gilberto to pass up on, knowing full well that a dying, squealing kid’ll distract the Hell out of me. But it is a stupid, stupid move to ponder all this for too long. With my attention on Gilberto, I don’t notice that one of his boys must have levelled a gun at me until I hear a bullet crack though the air.OK, so my coat’s bullet proof, but it don’t do nothing to stop the impact. I feel at least two of my ribs get pulverised. And I do mean pulverised and not broken. I double over and try to bawl at the kids to take cover, but I can’t get no breathe and what comes out is a strangled rasp. I feverishly point at the crags. Either by instinct or because of me the kids finally flee and take cover among the rocks. I drop, crawl on my hands and knees and hunker down with them, just escaping a couple of shots that would have finished me.‘Jezebel, /Jezebel/. You just ain’t got the class or brains of your predecessor. You know the one that bought it with his shrivelled old cock in your mouth, you skanky, corpse fucking bitch.’ I hear Gilberto shouting.I look at the kids. The kids look at me, all wide eyed and open mouthed like I’m about to fucking explain it or something.Breathing is the most unnatural thing at the moment, and I feel like I’m dying.
‘Jezzy Bell, I’ll distract’em and you can shoot at’em from another place to trick’em,’ says Sarah, all of a sudden jumping up like she knows shit. She’s gone and grown some balls at exactly the wrong fucking moment. Am I role model now? Am I fuck.I shout and try to grab her but the little nightmare is too fast. She’s standing there in plain view doing a stupid little dance. I feel sick to my stomach.
It’s a gift to those fucking scum and there is no way in Hell they could stop themselves. The shot rings out and the little’un is stronger than I thought. She doesn’t budge or even make a sound as the bullet passes right through her.
OK, so it isn’t the squealing that distracts me in the end because there is none. But it works none the less. Even better I’d say. I slump back and can’t even look at her. The colour goes out of everything and the world doesn’t even stink anymore. There is just a kind of nothingness. I can’t hear, I can’t taste the bile in my mouth. Nothing. It may seem strange but I feel really tired, like super lazy even. I just can’t be fucked no more.
Now the two boys are whimpering like dying dogs and I can hear those, cruel, wicked bastards down the knoll laughing at what they’ve done. My eyes are starting to burn and well-up and I realise that I, that we, are done for. The last time I cried it was over my dead man with one of those rat bastards’ cocks up my arse.
I summon the courage to at least look at t
he girl. She coughs and splutters, she’s still alive. That’s kind of worse in a way ‘cos she needs medical attention or it’s gonna be a slow and painful passing for her.
I clutch the repeater and looked at the skies, but you can be sure there’s no answer there. I rest my forehead on the barrel. This cannot be it. Fuck.
I’m all about ready to throw it in and give up but something weird is starting to happen. My head is beginning to throb and my arms are shaking and I feel real hot. Then, my God, do I start to feel pissed off. Hatred, hellfire burning, white hot hatred, along with the undying need for a vengeance pushed out of Nemesis’s own cunt are the best healers a woman can have, as I said before.
I can’t control myself now.
‘You bastards, you fucking bastards think you can go around and fuck with people like this and just nothing happens? Think you can shoot kids that ain’t even had a chance to fuck up for themselves yet?’ I’m shouting.
‘Shut the fuck up, bitch,’ One of Gilberto’s goons shouts back at me.
Oh yeah, it’s on now.
Right, time to take hold and get things into perspective. Fact, this is fucked up. Fact, we have one down and she’s just a kid. Fact, there are more of them than me. Fact, these bastards have no hope ‘cos I love killing.
I get up and put myself in plain view. They can take as many shots at me as they like ‘cos you can bet all you got that I’ll be shooting back. I’m not as clear headed as I thought and I’m facing the wrong godamned way. I spin around guns at the ready.
Sometimes, just sometimes, luck works in my favour. Not only have I found myself perfectly balanced but the repeater seems to swing so that the sites are lined up just right to take a shot at the first fuck that’s got his weapon aimed at me. I am Jezebel Misery St. Etienne.
The fuck raped me, so I blow his nuts through his arsehole. I pump the handle to chamber the next round as a bullet gives me a haircut, and get the next man well acquainted with an antique as I rip his heart out with a .44 rimfire. The third gets a good old gut shot. He’ll have plenty of time to realise he fucked up as he dies slowly and painfully, poisoned by his own shit.
That leaves that dirty fat fuck Gilberto, who’s peeling shots off at me like there’s no tomorrow. I drop the repeater and run like a crazed bitch diagonal of his position. Most of the shots whiz past but, smack, and I feel like someone’s hit my shoulder with a sledgehammer. There’s fucking blood everywhere. I’m stumbling and can’t help falling onto my hands and knees. I don’t know what he’s firing but it’s gone right through. I use every bit of strength I got to push myself up and carry on but the next one is gonna finish me off. I’m wrong, oh shit, right in my butt cheek, fuck.
I’m spinning around now in fucking agony, but I’m close enough and it’s all or nothing. I get my bearings, aim Comeuppance, and take Gilberto’s knees out.
Ha, I knew it, he’s a pansy. He drops his weapon and collapses to the ground, squawking pathetically.
I’ll do it just like my old man wanted me to. No prettying it up. No big last speeches, just do it.
I hobble up to him (my shoulder and arse are killing me, and breathing is a real drag). Hmm, something occurs to me. I press the business end of the barrel to his forehead and I wonder if, perhaps now, I can get the answer I’ve been looking and I pull the trigger.
Nope, his head doesn’t come clean off. I guess the .44 magnum just can’t do that after all. There’s a neat whole plum in the middle of his forehead where the round went in and the rest of his head is a red mucky smear on the ground behind him. Ha, good enough.
A shot rings out. Oh Christ, I’ve been hit. I hear another shot but I can’t feel anything. I don’t know, what the hell’s happened? I’m face down in the dirt and I can hear small foot steps making their way towards me double time. Ahead of me I can see someone, not a kid, running towards me, oh shit, damn and fuck.
I wake up and I’m in a bed with some damned bright light shining right above me. Well, I realise pretty quick that I’m in the safe haven. Pottering around me I can see the usual folks you get peopling these places, you know, the shit don’t stink types with their stupid haircuts and identikit outfits.
My clothes are gone and I’m wearing some kind of flimsy gown that ain’t doing what it aught to. I’m also bandaged up to fuck.
‘You saved those young ones, child,’ says some grinning idiot woman in scrubs.
‘Yeah, the girl?’ Goddamit, my throat feels as dry as fuck. I need some rum or something. She’s putting her hand on me, oh so gently as she says, ‘Sarah’s fine, they’re all fine thanks to you.’ She carries on in that pussy, butter wouldn’t melt tone. ‘You’ve been here two weeks. We were just worried you wouldn’t wake up’.
I look her dead in the eye. ‘Great, so I can go. Suppose you’ll be willing to take care of the kids, because I sure as fuck ain’t.’ That takes the smile off her face.
‘Our resources are very limited…’
I glare. She looks worried.
‘…but I am sure we can find something.’
I ain’t going to be recuperating in this place, no fucking way. I am as weak as fuck but I grab my things, ignoring smiley, get changed and make my way to see the kids. I want to make sure they’re really OK. I find’em, all smiling and jumping around, like nothing ever happened. Except, that is, for the dopey Adam. He seems a bit withdrawn. I ask him if he’s OK. The James pipes up instead.
It’s then I find out what happened out there. The guy who I’d gut shot, managed to lift his gun and he shot me in the goddamned back before he collapsed. That’ll learn me. James says he ran to get help from these safe haven halfwits. Bastards were glad to come out, once they knew the coast was clear. Turns out they had been watching the whole scene from the safety of their compound. They probably had the popcorn out and everything, cunts. Anyways, while he was running, James says the youngest boy, Adam, picked up a gun and, very efficiently, eliminated the threat of Mr. Gut Shot. Shit. Ain’t no disease more infectious than violence.
The kids are OK. Maybe the young one’ll forget this ever happened after a few years of being locked up safe in here. Time for me to go get some decent booze and do a bit of that brawling, bragging and booty chasing I was so looking forward to.
I am Jezebel Misery St. Etienne, junky, psycho and tart; though I’m sure you’ve noticed I do have some flaws. You may be with me now, you may not. Either way I don’t give a fuck.
You can enjoy more of Jezebel St. Etienne in Jailbait Justice: The Girl With The Big Iron On Her Hip, Danny Hogan’s full-length novel.