"Gas masks and pajama pants"
Dust, dirt, rocks- everything is hitting my stupid ass. I hate falling from rooftops. I look up to see... ok I can't see anything. Sun in my face and I'm so dizzy I'm about to lose the eggs I ate for breakfast. It's gotta be in the 90's today. The concrete is burning me in all the places my kakhis are ripped, mainly my legs. Boots, Kevlar and helmet are good to go. Time to get up before I get swarmed.
Ninjas are everywhere but I've got my M4 as the great equalizer. I fire off a couple rounds and drop one. I run behind an old F-150 and dip down the alley to the west. This is my life now: gas masks and pajama pants
"Easy job, right Mister Ded? Yo, Jon! Hello, Jon Ded!" God Yasaki is fucking annoying.
"Yes, easy job," I say matter-of-factly. "Kill the man and woman and bring the baby to your fine Lieutenant."
"Captain," fatass Yasaki replies.
"What?" I need the supplies but this guy is just on my fucking nerves every damn time.
"My Captain, not my Lieutenant," fatty chokes out between eating his beans. In Rek City, a man with a cold can of beans is "the rich guy." I miss prison. Before the explosion that wiped out half the country.
"Got it. Your boy better have my shit when I bring this baby." I act tough but there's not much I can do if he stiffs me. "You got my loot crate?" Yasaki's a stingy asshole but he comps me ammunition, which is a huge perk of working for him. They hand me boxes and I stuff them in my backpack.
I don't know what's worse, that I'm stealing a baby or that I'm giving it to Yasaki. He'll probably eat the damn thing.
It's 3 nights later and I'm chilling in an abondoned mechanic garage. I don't even need to say that. Everything's abondoned. Finding the target was easy. Yasaki told me nothing, but I found out the father is a high ranking official in a rival gang. The mother is probably already pregnant with another little slug. There's not much left to do in this city besides steal stuff and have sex.
I'm conducting surveillance from across the street as they enjoy a meal at a popular restaurant. What passes for a restaurant nowadays is more akin to a soup kitchen, but whatever. They have ok lighting with candles and whatnot, but being limited on resources, I don't have night vision or even have a scope for my M4. The cover of night is a bonus, so I guess I still prefer doing it this way.
I wait for them to finish their meal. I want to get clear shots, so I wait for them to stand and get ready to leave. The woman is holding the child. I figure the guy is the biggest threat so I take him down first. I fire once, hit him in the body. He stumbles and falls. Probably not dead. I've got to hit the girl quick before all hell breaks loose. I sight on her. I need a headshot so I don't hit the baby. I fire.
Shoulder blade. Oh. Fuck.
I. Am. So. Fucked.
I just killed the baby.
"One bullet, two bodies and an asshole"
Oh god, I passed out. Looking over at the restaurant, I can't see anybody through the window. I haul ass across the street and go in.
Only one body, the woman. She's wheezing and bleeding out. She won't make it. The cooks and waitress are milling about, trying to figure out what to do. I must have only been out for a few seconds. I hear commotion in the back room.
I bust through the back and I'm knocking over pans and I hurdle an island table. I hear the back door slam. The dude must have grabbed the kid and ran. He's got to be pretty fucked up from the round I put in him. God, I hope the baby makes it.
I run out the back door. The guy falls to the ground in a puddle of blood, holding the kid. At first I thought he'd make it, he's a pretty sturdy dude. But he's looking pretty rough right now. I raise my rifle to end him, just as I hear car tires screeching. I look to my left and right and I see old hummers and henchmen with guns. Mr "Almost Dead" yells out, "Kill him!" Which I think is a mistake, because they should capture me and torture me for information. But whatever.
I turn to my left, just because it's more natural, and I fire off a couple rounds. I don't think I hit anyone. I'm pretty stressed out at this point. But my mood is improving because as far as I can tell, the baby hasn't been shot. I gotta get out of here.
In the movies, every asshole with a gun can count out every enemy and their exact location in the middle of a firefight. I haven't even been shot at yet and I'm counting... 6? 10? It doesn't matter. Fuck Jason Statham, I'm out this bitch.
I run back through the restaurant, and of course I'm surrounded now. Goons all up in this place. A shotgun blast partially hits me but my jacket somehow caught it all. I raise my rifle and pull the trigger on him. Right through his head and into the next guy. Holy shit, that's weird, considering recent events. That opens up a gap and I run through it like O.J. Simpson in his prime.
I'm out on the street again. It's dark enough, and with no street lamps lit, I manage to slip away.
I setup camp on the roof of a local storefront for the night. The rival gang's henchmen are dumber than Yasaki's ninjas. They won't find me tonight. In 6 hours I'm going to miss my meeting with Yasaki's Lieutenant. In hindsight, I maybe should have taken the kid hostage to make my escape. Then again, I might be dead right now if I had tried.
I'll come up with a plan in the morning. Or I'll just make a run for whatever's left of the west coast. I lay my head on my backpack and doze off, dreaming of past failures. A common theme in my life, I guess.
I'm back before the bomb hit. Or whatever the fuck happened. Life was better, but it still sucked. Me, Donny and Roberto step out of our trash ass "getaway" vehicle. If we could afford a new car, we wouldn't need to be doing this right now. I've got a shotgun under my trenchcoat. I don't even know if Donny and Roberto are carrying. We don't bother with masks because I guess we know we're probably going to either get caught or a miracle will happen where Jesus just shines a light down and gives us free money to escape to the Bahamas or wherever the fuck you go to retire after robbing banks.
We roll in and I hit the clerk's desk with the barrel of my shotty. Ain't nobody gonna try shit so I don't even look back to see what the boys are doing with the civilians. I look the girl in the eyes and just spit, "The money."
I fire two shots under the register hoping to randomly hit some shit to disable the silent alarm system. Holy shit that was loud as fuck. My ears are ringing so loud, I'm almost deaf. We fill 3 bags with cash and zip out the same way we came in.
We hop in the car with Roberto behind the wheel and me and Donny in the back seat. I think about calling "shotgun", but how corny can you get when you just robbed a bank? None of us could hear anyway. Looking back, I wish I yelled it and shot Roberto in the back of his fucking head.
I guess the alarm system worked because the cops were up our ass before we even hit the street. I fire 5 slugs through the back windshield. Not much effect. Everything I do is movie shit that's 10 times more effective on the big screen. I guess Roberto drove us 60 mph into a brick storefront. I wouldn't know because I got a worse concussion than Tyson gave Biggs in '87. The next thing I remember is maximum security.
Ever since then, my speech is slurred and I forget things. Sometimes my limbs go numb. Roberto deleted his skull on impact. Me and Donny got a billion years in the clink. Luckily a catastrophe happened and erased half the country, including most of our wonderful correctional facility. I escaped through the wreckage and now I work for Fucktard Yasaki as his bitch - I mean bounty hunter.
I feel like maybe I don't get enough sleep.
Remember the prologue? Something startles me awake. Which is good because I'm about to die and my heist dream sucked anyway. I throw on my backpack and grab my rifle.
I missed my curfew. Not good. Yasaki's boy is the typical Asian badguy: immaculate shiny hair, a suit and sunglasses. "Jon, where is the child?"
I look around and pretend like I can count ninjas. I use that new math from like 2018 and it adds up to several. "In his crib going night night...?" I'm stalling. Badly.
I'm standing here with a rifle and this dude in a suit and tie straight up front kicks me clean off the damn roof.
Prologue, then I'm running for my life. I hit the corner and it's smooth sailing. Like O.J. in the open field. Except with 20 lbs of extra gear and one-fourth the athleticism. So maybe Bo Jackson AFTER he ripped his hip apart.
Anyway, pajamas are gay and ninjas love rooftops. It's like running a gauntlet of shurikens, bullets and smoke bombs. I keep my head down and start juking. I'm hit with some 9mm rounds and I go down. Adrenaline is so strong, I don't even feel the pain. Or maybe I'm going into shock. Either way I'm up and moving as they swarm in on me.
Reaching in my backpack, I pull the pin on a grenade and drop it behind me. BOOM! I somehow clear most of the shrapnel and I'm gone. See you soon, fuckers.
"Two armies vs two fists"
Time for a shakedown. I need to learn everything there is to know about this baby and its connection to Fat Bastard. So I roll into the local hangout, The Saloon I guess they're calling it. Everything's got ass backward wild west names n' shit now. They bring back everything terrible, but no arcades. Fuck the 2030's.
Chick at the bar is a hot blonde. No fake parts or surgeries. Some things in Rek City somehow remain pure. Not me though. I'm about to cause some havoc.
I spot the bouncer. Hard to miss 'cause he's built like Yasaki. Big and ugly. I throw a sucker punch and land square on his face. Hardest punch I've ever landed and I wasted it on King Hippo. I threw southpaw, in case I need my trigger finger this decade. Good thing I wore my tac gloves, because I busted his front teeth out. He goes down like a sack of potatoes. Don't think I mentioned it, but I used to amateur box. I wrestled in high school but I was pretty average. I tried some jiu jitsu but all the sweaty, hairy sex was just too much for me.
Goddammit my hand hurts. I'm high off the rush of dropping a dude with one punch. I peek at the barkeep and give a wink. Ok I don't, but it would be a lot cooler if I did.
Rifle time. Lotta hardasses in here with knives and guns. Even some crazies with mohawks and barbed wire bats like in pro wrestling. I don't wanna waste any ammo, but I ain't fucking around either. "Who knows Fuckface and his baby mama?" I blurt out. I say his actual name but I can't remember it in the retelling. Sue me.
Guys start getting restless when you pull firearms for some reason. I hear a shotgun pump behind me. Its the hottie. Fuck me!
I spin on her and she drops me with buckshot. I'm messed up and I go down. Next thing I know, I'm getting stomped in the face and the nuts. Sooo... I guess I'm not getting any information for my troubles?
I hear the chick yell "STOP!" and suddenly I'm just lying there alone in the worst pain of my life.
"Oh God, I'm gonna die," I say as I choke on my own internal blood. Not gonna lie, I'm about to start crying. Girlie helps me up and sits me at a table. I'm all slumped over. I'm probably not going to make it. I ask her what she's doing. Well mostly I mumble and blood pours out my mouth like I'm the Kool-Aid Man.
She calms me down. "I'm an EMT. I don't kill people. You pulled on me so I had to shoot you. The Saloon is kind of my side hustle, I guess you could say. We deal in money and information. You can find out things here without punching Tommy's teeth out."
"I'm fucked," I say. "I'm done. Throw me outside."
She laughs straight in my dead face. "You're fine. Your jacket and helmet caught literally everything on your upper body." She looks down. "... As long as I didn't hit your testicle..." There's blood running down the inside of my leg. I got lucky, she caught my inner thigh.
"After my last couple encounters, I can't take too much more of this, honey," I complain.
She's pretty satisfied that I'll live. "Tommy will be ok. He's not cut out for this job. He's way too nice, and doesn't take anything personal hardly ever." I look over and Tommy's already up and about. He's tending to the bar almost as much as his teeth. I've never been in this place before. Guess I fucked up by not scouting it first.
"So what's your name, toughguy?" she asks as she's doing some basic first aid on me.
"I'm Kelly. If you're done with The Punisher routine, I'm happy to have a civil conversation with you."
"Yeah, I'm done," I say. "I learned my lesson. Now, about that information trading...."
Kelly says if I apologize to Tommy, we can go in the back and talk business.
He's got gauze in his mouth and looks understandably grumpy. I walk up to the bar. "Look man. My name's Jon. I fucked up. I'm sorry I punched you. Let me make it up to you."
"How?" Tommy asks. I don't know what Kelly's talking about, this dude seems pissed.
"Well, I got a couple safehouses nearby. How about if I get you one of these," I pat my M4. "And enough rounds to take on a small army."
His eyes brighten a bit. "Tell you what. You get me that rifle, a vest and cut me in on whatever vigilante hustle you got going on, and I'll run with you. Help keep Yasaki off your back."
I'm like WTF, "You know about Yasaki and me?"
Tommy's hard to understand right now, but I'm getting the gist. "I saw you fighting the ninjas. We all hate Yasaki, but most people are scared to death of him. Not me, though. Truth be told, I'm getting restless doing this barfly thing."
"It's a deal, bro." I reach out and we clasp hands. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers from Predator. Whatta ya know, old Toothless gonna be my bodyguard.
Kelly waves me into the back room. I'm still dizzy and stumbling around. This bitch really an EMT? We sit down in some kinda lounge area. Looks to me like people been having sex back here.
Kelly grabs a bunch more bandages and stuff to patch me up. She gives me an ice pack. "You've got a black eye."
As we work together patching me up, Kelly starts spilling some info. "Listen, Jon. The people here aren't what you think they are. This isn't some seedy establishment. We're a little rough around the edges, but all the real bad guys are at The Razor's Edge further downtown. If we go there, we can get the answers you need."
I look Kelly in the eyes. "We?"
She smiles "Jon, we all hate Yasaki and his hipster ninja clan. We're just afraid. But one man like you can make a world of difference in this city."