Jerks and Jerky

By: DazeDawning

Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. He knew this, and if he stayed in any one place too long the entire neighborhood knew it too. Because of this, and because of his adventurous nature, he was often traveling. Right now he could be found in the merchant's shop of a small rural town, haggling the price of a satchel of dried meat as rain poured down the the darkened windows to the outside. The old merchant was having none of it; no matter how much Zane advocated a "discount for ruggedness" the man still insisted he pay full price and seemed almost amused by Zane's completely serious request. With a resigned sigh Zane handed him the 15 gold coins he was asking and was rewarded with the satchel of meat. He was tucking it into his knapsack when he heard the door open and several sets of boots thunder in. He looked in their direction to see a revolver aimed between his eyes.

"Where's the money, old man?" growled the man in the back of the group. Most of these shady-looking men were built like brick walls but that one was distinct in that he more closely resembled a mountain.

"I-I don't owe you anything!" squeaked the merchant, cowering behind his counter. "I paid you loan sharks back two weeks ago, you miserable piranhas!"

"Oi boss," said the one pointing the gun at Zane, "This'n looks brave, we should prob'ly take his things to teach 'im respect." To Zane's immediate dismay, the boss nodded.

"Yeah, cough it up, scarface, 'less ye'd rather cough up yer spleen."

Zane wasn't sure what happened in that moment. Something snapped in his brain at the idea of giving up all that delicious jerky to a disorderly gang of thugs. Images flashed through his brain, of them opening his knapsack, looking through his belongings, eating his food. Before he realized it he had thrown the thug and his gun into the gang still standing on the doorstep, sending them scattering like so many bowling pins. One ran up and tried to catch him in a headlock and received an elbow to the throat; another went for a tackle but was sidestepped, only his arm making contact with Zane, who promptly dislocated it and tossed the man to the floor. Slowly the group became less a gang and more a pile of sniffling sacks of potatoes. This was a lesson he had to teach once in a blue moon to anyone stupid enough to antagonize him: You don't get between Zane Legends and his food.

He lunged for the boss, but found the man had better reflexes than his horde; he found himself with a beefy hand around his throat and cold steel to his head. He only had a brief moment to reflect on this potentially fatal miscalculation when the boss leaned in close and looked him in the eye, gloating as much as it is possible for a human mountain to gloat.

"You've got some fight in ye, I'll give you that," he chuckled to Zane. "I think ye'll come to realize that the ones with the most fight in 'em become the ones with the least fight in 'em when we get done." The clicking of metal on metal told Zane the gun was now cocked.

Zane barely had the free space in his larynx to breathe, let alone talk, but he managed to cough out a quiet, gravelly sentence.

"You wanna know how I got this scar?"

The boss looked momentarily taken aback at these words and Zane used his moment of distraction to his advantage. With all his strength he heaved himself forward, bringing his head down sharply on the bridge of the boss's nose. There was a satisfying cracking sound and the man mountain fell onto his rear with a screech of pain. Zane was nearly deafened by the gunshot but his movement kept his head well clear of the revolver's aim, and the only victim was a window that now let the streaming rain trickle into the shop. Zane took the gun from the whimpering man's hand and tossed it out the hole in the window.

"The police will be here soon I think," Zane told the terrified shopkeeper as he picked his knapsack back up and slung it over his shoulder. "These burly idiots shouldn't bother you anymore."

Wordlessly the shopkeeper dug under the counter and extended to Zane another satchel of jerky. Zane accepted it with a smile and tucked it into his knapsack, satisfied.

"If you don't mind me askin'," the shopkeeper said nervously, "Where DID you get that scar?"

Zane chuckled and stepped out into the torrents of rain. "That's a story for another time."

Genre: Western
Setting: In a store
Character: Tall/large person