Roleplaying > The Hard Way

The Hard Way

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Nothing for hundreds of miles but interstate and cornfields...

He walked into the seedy motel bar and skipped the stools for a small table in the corner of the room, his back to the wall. Always with his back to the wall. This was his way. He could see the whole place. See everyone who came in and out, nothing behind him, no surprises.

An old man in disheveled clothing and a red-veined alcoholic's nose approached.



The old man scratched his balding head.

"You know this is a bar, right?"


Another pause.

"Can i get you something else?"


"Sugar? Milk?"


The old bartender paused again.

"You with the program?"


"Yeah, you know, I figured, guy your size, around these parts..." the bartender trailed off, as the stranger looked up at him for the first time. His eyes were cold, black motes, like those of a shark.

"You mean football?"

"Yeah, that's what I mean. You a cornhusker coach or something? Play in your day?"

"No. I don't play."

The way the stranger said these last words, made the bartender's hairs stand on his neck.

"You're not much for talk."

The stranger said nothing.

"I'll, uh--get your coffee now"


The old man shuffled back to the bar. Who the hell was this guy he thought as he poured the coffee. He was trouble, thats who. No doubt about it.


60 miles east of motel...

"How many rounds in the victim?"

"Two. Both in the head"

"Nine millimeter?"

"Almost certainly. I'm waiting for the report."

"It's a common round."

"I know."

"Geography work?"

"Not sure."


"There has to be a vehicle involved too."


"Wait until you see the photographs."


"So we ready to roll?"

Siren no Orakio:
As the old man returned to the table with the coffee, Frank Castiglione was nearly as still as a statue of himself. Only the faintest of nods even acknowledged the man's presence any further, at least until he lifted the burnt, scalding liquid to his lips. Bitter and painful. Just the way he'd rather have it.

No, he reflected, too, he wasn't trouble. But trouble liked to find him. It was why he had finally gotten himself a half a dozen bounty hunting licenses across the Midwest. Enough that when trouble showed up, he could beat the snot out of it, and chuck it back into the can, and maybe even get paid for it. Almost all of it did get chucked back in.

Brooding over that thought, the bit that never quite wound up back where it belonged, Frank scowled into his coffee, ever so slowly draining the cup, until something more caught his ear, and eyes.

20 miles east of motel...

A gun-metal gray, sleek yet muscle-bound F150, flareside, with a turbo kit, droned along the interstate, whatever engine noise there was, drowned out by the squeeling and screeching of Giddy Lee on the radio...

"'s Tom Sawyer mean, mean pride.....his mind is not for rent, to any god or governement..."

The driver paused from trying to match Giddy note for note, and glanced in his rearview. Four state trooper cars, lights on, were crusing at about 85 miles an hour, and gaining on the truck quickly.

The driver tapped the plastic fingers of his left hand on the steering wheel.


"20 miles to target."

"Roger that."

Siren no Orakio:
The last bastard he had broken up and hauled in was a dealer. Wheezy little bail jumper had thought his connections were gonna take him down to Mexico real fast -  Turned out the gangs were tired of him too. Frank'd barely even gotten any stress relief out of the man. Police had to to rely on his dentals to recognize him by the time the Kings were done with him, and that's never good for the paycheck. It had seemed like a good time to get out of town.

And now, Frank was just driving, and waiting. Waiting for the smell of trouble. He usually hated waiting, but that was because waiting usually came from someone else's choices. But this was his choice. Another slurk of the bitter black tar that passed as coffee. It hit the ticket, as his eyes came up to look around once more, and he lifted one little bud to his left ear, and thumbed the power button. The miniature police scanner had been a smart purchase. Helped him keep his ears to the ground.

Most of the time former Lieutenant John 'Cutter' Foster was the sort of guy that the police overlooked. He could usually get away with a mostly sincere 'sorry officer, my last ride could only do 30 mph' The VFW and Desert Storm Vet stickers told the rest of the story. The 'My other truck is a Tank' sticker was so faded no one could read it. He checked his speed, sometimes he did let the turbo carry him away. But even in the soggy gut of the country it didn't take 4 troopers to nail a speeder. Well there were some places in Alabama where driving while black did get that sort of attention. Cutter eased over to give the po-po's a clear shot through.

His bladder was getting full, the gas tank was getting low and his supply of Dasani and pringles were about out, pit stop next right.


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