“Noble bull, defender of the weak and downtrodden
Righteous bull, heart of gold and skin of steel
I wonder, are you indeed a savior or do you merely hope to secure your own salvation?
Cowardly bull, will you ever again regain your heart?”
Chapter 2: No Rest for the Wicked
“Merrrow” cries a fat grey cat.
The little critter jumps up on Pete’s workbench and rubs up on his arm.
“Hey, big boy!” Chirps the large man
Pete gently places the rifle he was cleaning on the bench and cradles his fluffy friend. “I’m sorry bud, have I been neglecting you?”
“Meroow” The cat lovingly nuzzles his head into Pete’s mighty chest
“Aww! You did so good jumping up on the bench!” He scratches behind his companion’s little ears. “Took a while but looks like you finally figured out how tall it is!”
The distant sound of a roaring engine started to grow louder and louder.
Pete grins and shakes his head “Sounds like trouble is coming,” He continues petting his chunky cat without much more concern
As the groaning engine reached its loudest point, Pete hears a fist pound on the garage door.
“What’s the password?” He yells back at the door
A muffled woman’s voice sounds from the other side of the door, “Fuck you.”
“Yep, that’s her” Pete slaps a button on the wall and the garage door slowly, and noisily rises. The rumbling motorcycle engine echoes throughout the garage as a dust-coated woman walks her beastly machine inside.
“Well if it ain’t my favorite customer” Pete slaps the door button closed and continues stroking his cat’s soft fur.
The motorcyclist pulls off her helmet “How’s it shaking, Pete?”
“Come to ‘borrow’ some more of my tools, Laura?”
“Hey, you’re the one that told me to make myself at home.” She dismounted and stowed away her headgear.
“Yeah, I did, but I assumed my home would still be fully intact after you left.”
“Don’t be like that Petie besides you weren’t too attached to that wrench set were you?” She greats her old friend with a slap on the shoulder and saunters into the backroom
“You know how long it took me to scavenge a complete set that size, Laura? A long freakin’ time!” He yelled after her
“Yeah yeah, so I owe you one.” She popped open his refrigerator, “Got any beer?”
“Na, I’m out,” Pete shouted back, examining Laura’s ride
“What the hell kind of southern’ hospitality is that, Pete? Not having a beer at the ready for a guest.”
“The same kind you’ve shown me, little miss,” Pete lowers his furry friend onto the worn leather seat where he rests obediently
Laura returns with a glass of filtered water “How’s it going, Pete? Get any shit customer’s lately?”
“Nah,” Pete rubs his face, “Think I would even take a mouthy customer at this point.” Pete glanced around his empty shop. The work of a mechanic was typically a feast or famine market in these parts, and wartime was exceptionally good for Pete’s business. When rival warlords feud, there was never a lack of blown engines or plasma assemblies to reconstruct. While peace never indeed lasted in the Pit, Pete was having a longer dry spell then he cared for, and wished one gang would shoot the other in the face already.
“Get any crabs lately?” She sips her glass
“Not lately. They don’t usually come out to this part of the desert. Not that I would mind. They pay good money to get their gear worked on. Why you asking me about vault dwellers anyway?”
“Had a couple of dipshits give me some trouble back at Lee’s.”
“What did you do?”
“Hey! What do you mean, ‘What did I do?’ “Laura narrowed her eyes
Pete pinched the bridge of his nose, “Gee, I don’t know Laura. It could be because you have the shortest fuse of anyone I’ve ever met, or because you have the greatest blood lust for crab meat of anyone in the wasteland.” He threw his hands in the air, “Call it a guess.”
She scowled and crossed her arms “I’ll have you know, a jughead thought he’d get an easy pegging from the first Dusty he saw on his little patrol.”
“So, you killed a guy because he hit on you?”
She waved at him dismissively “I didn’t kill him,” then muttered under her breath “wanted to though.”
She continued, “No, Pete, I was a good girl. I just sent their asses packing. Lee wasn’t thrilled about it though,” She noticed the cat curled up in the seat of her ride “You still got that thing?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Pete leans down and strokes the cat’s head gently. It purrs happily.
“Maybe because it’s blind, dumb and old as shit?”
Pete covers the cat’s ears, “Laura, you know he’s sensitive about his disabilities.” He whispers curtly
“Oh, shut up, Pete. The thing is useless! You’d be doing it a favor by putting it down.”
Pete wraps his large hands around the cat and lovingly places him on his shoulder “First off, his name is Lucky, and he is not useless” he plucks a treat from a small container above the bench and holds it in front of Lucky’s mouth. The cat sniffs and snatches it up gleefully.
“Right, I forgot fucking Lucky is his name. You give that name to him ironically or what?”
“It’s not like he has always been this way, Laura. Besides, he’s always been my lucky charm. Wouldn’t be here today without him.” Pete plucks another treat from the small tin
“Here” he hands it to Laura
She scoffs and accepts it “If you say so, bud,” Laura holds out her open hand with the treat resting in her palm and lets the cat sniff. After a moment of consideration, he snaps up the gift and licks her hand in return.
“So, what brings you by my little slice of paradise?” Pete strides back over to his bench and continues polishing his firearm.
“Can’t I just pop by and see my old friend every once in a while?”
“I’m not your old friend, Laura,” He chuckles “I’m your only one.”
“Look,” She wanders over to his tool chest and pops it open “Just because it’s true doesn’t mean you get to be a dick about it.”
“I need to borrow your shit to fix my shit,” She noisily roots around the box.
“What did you break on it?”
“It’s just an oil change this time.”
“Huh” Pete utters in surprise
“What?” She pops her head up and looks him over
“Nothin’. Just the most normal thing you’ve brought that thing in here for.”
“Well, Pete, when you live in a shit-hole like the Pit, weird stuff tends to happen to your bike.” She continued wrestling around his selection of scavenged tools
“Weird stuff like bullet holes rupturing your gas line, or pieces of night vision goggles getting lodged in your wheel well.” He crosses his arms and considers, “You never did explain that one to me.”
“Not much to explain. A guy wanted a closer look at my bike. He got it. End of story.” She resurfaced with a wrench and a couple of screwdrivers “Finally.” Laura grumbled and grabbed a large pan from a shelf “It’s a miracle I found anything in your mess” She propped her bike up with the help of a couple of stands
“Sorry. I didn’t take you into account when I organized my gear. I only put things where I can find it. I’ll be sure to do better next time.”
“It’s all I ask” She slipped the pan beneath the motorcycle and drained the muddied oil.”
“What do you got going on later?”
“Getting plastered and seeing how far you throw rocks into the badlands?”
“The way you say it makes it sound stupid.” She wiped the oil off her face with a nearby rag
“I know you had a rough day with some Crabs, how do you feel about getting up to some fun?”
She swiveled out from under her bike, “I’m listening.”
“What if I told you I knew where the Crabs were having a drill tonight?” Pete grined deviously
Laura smiled ear to ear, “Oh Pete, you always know how to cheer me up!”
“Hold up. This is a zero murder mission.” He spoke with the authority of a teacher instructing a misbehaved youth
“But… come on, Pete, would they really notice if ONE disappeared?”
He erected his back at full height and scowled down at her
“Fine,” She pouted
He belly laughed and offered his hand down to her “Just because we won’t be cracking any skulls doesn’t mean it won’t be a good time.
She smirked and took his hand. Pete tugged Laura to her feet, “Sure hope your right about that.”
Enjoy the first chapter of The PIT? Want to learn about how you can get updates on its progress and even get your name in the book? Check out my Patreon and support The PIT’s creation!