Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 2)
Sunday, March 26, 2017

“Gentlemen“, Shepherd McGarrity started, “this won’t-“ . . . . “Shut it, preacher”, the leader snapped, turning his gun toward McGarrity. “Your services ain’t needed...” He raised his weapon. “…yet”. . . . . “Oh, that just won’t do”, Gerrin chided as he cocked his head. “I suggest you apologize to the Shepherd and take your leave before something bad happens to you”. . . . . “Take ‘em!” the leader roared as he whipped his pistol toward Gerrin and fired.


“Okay, what’re we lookin’ at, here?”

Gerrin, Reilly, Aldous, McGarrity and their guest sat at the end of one of the tables in the town’s main lodge. The man started with the story:

The man drew a breath. “A few years back this local guy sold our boss this land that wasn’t turning out the crops like he’d hoped. Us and the boss and a few others started workin’ the land and after a couple years the crops started growin’ like they used to. Now the old boss wants it back”.

Gerrin met his gaze. “And your boss doesn’t want to sell”.

The man nodded. “The old boss was offerin’ ‘bout half what our boss paid for it, said it was ‘dee-preciation’ and all, but everyone knows that’s a load of shiong mao niao (panda urine), and our boss don’t want nothin’ to do with it. Hell, we’re the ones worked and got that land to grow again”.

Reilly broke in “But the old boss won’t take ‘no’ for an answer”.

The man shook his head. “His boys been comin’ ‘round tearin’ up fences, runnin’ of cattle, tearin’ up crops – everybody knows who’s doin’ it”.

“How many’s he got?” Gerrin asked levelly.

The man shrugged. “Couple dozen or so, maybe. Nobody’s ever seen ‘em all”.

Gerrin shifted his gaze toward Reilly. “Wanna take a look?”

Reilly shifted toward him. “You taking this?”

Gerrin slid his chair back. “Doesn’t hurt to see it first”. Standing, he added “You coming?”

“No we got a ditch to dig, remember?” Reilly quipped as he slid his chair back and stood up.

“I thought so”, Gerrin mused as he turned to the door.

The four of them stepped out of the lodge in time to see Loomie round the corner, storming toward them, water dripping from her modest bath wrap and hair. “Nick, we got a problem”, she glared with fire in her eyes.

“Woah, woah, woah”, Gerrin started, holding his hands up. “What’s going on, here?”

Loomie was seething. “I was just in that shower we hooked up for the women’s boarding house and some of the kids had drilled a hole through the wall and were watching”. She paused angrily before finishing “including Lewis!”

“Shto?” Gerrin slipped into his native Russian, as he sometimes did when caught off guard. “You’re sure it was Lewis?”

Loomie nodded. “I got out of there just in time to see the little Se-LANG (pervert) scoot off around the corner”.

“Probably shouldn’t have built it by an outside wall”, Reilly mused.

“Shut it, Reilly”, Loomie snapped.

Turning toward Loomie, Gerrin held up his hands. “Loomie, I gotta go see about a job right now, but I promise you I’ll have a talk with him when I get back, okay?”

“A TALK?!” she snorted. "TYEN shiao-duh (in the name of all that's sacred), what the hell is that gonna do? How would you like it if he was watching you in the shower?”

“Well, different strokes and all”, Reilly offered.

“REILLY!!” Gerrin and Loomie snapped in unison. Turning back to Loomie Gerrin continued “Just go and dry off and get dressed and as soon as I get back from checking out this job I’ll deal with Lewis. Promise”.

Loomie let out an exasperated hiss. Turning and marching off she muttered “You don’t get to him before I do there won’t be much left to deal with”.

The four of them mounted horses and started toward the man’s farm. “Well, she seems upset”, Reilly commented.

“Oh, you’re wound tight today, ain’t you?” Gerrin snorted as they turned their horses toward the road that led into the hills.


The two-hour trip passed with mostly small talk between Gerrin, Reilly and their two escorts. An hour and a half into the journey, Reilly spoke. “Just out of curiosity”, he started, “let’s say you wind up taking this job. Just exactly how are we gonna get paid?”

Gerrin shrugged “Right now we’re just getting a feel for things”

“And then what? We go in and rescue these people?”

“We’ll see”.

“Hmph”, Reilly huffed. “We’re not exactly equipped to take on an army, you know”.

Gerrin sighed “There you go, throwing out pessimism before you even know the score”.

“That’s called being pragmatic”. Raising his voice Reilly called out “Shepherd, how’d you find out about these people, anyway?”

“Oh, I’ve taken a few people over there to help them mend the fences and help clean up now and then”, Shepherd McGarrity answered.

“So, what’s-“ Reilly was cut off as four men on horses bounded out of the brush lining the road and down onto the road blocking their path. “Well, that was quick”, Reilly remarked.

The front man, obviously the leader, chortled “Well, well, well, what’d you do? Go and get yourself a posse, now?”

“T’ain’t no concern o’ yours”, their guide stared petulantly.

The intruders laughed. “Lookit this, boys”, the leader bellowed. “This little jung chi duh go-se dway (steaming crap pile) thinks ‘cause he got friends with him he can talk back to us”. Raising his gun, he drawled “You need to send your lil' buddies home right now, ‘fore someone get hurt”.

Gerrin and Reilly whipped their guns out and aimed toward the leader. “Oh, we like it here”, Gerrin replied, mimicking the leader’s drawl, “so I think we’ll stay”.

The leader eyed him. “There’s four of us, old man”, he growled.

“You want us to wait while you go get more?” Reilly sneered.

“Gentlemen“, Shepherd McGarrity started, “this won’t-“

“Shut it, preacher”, the leader snapped, turning his gun toward McGarrity. “Your services ain’t needed...” He raised his weapon. “…yet”.

“Oh, that just won’t do”, Gerrin chided as he cocked his head. “I suggest you apologize to the Shepherd and take your leave before something bad happens to you”.

“Take ‘em!” the leader roared as he whipped his pistol toward Gerrin and fired.

Gerrin ducked sideways, firing his own weapon. The leader went down as his horse spun to the left. His three companions opened fire, barely aiming and missing their targets except for the guide, who was just grazed. The guide, also armed, pulled his weapon and fired, grazing his attacker as well. Reilly swung around ad fired on the guide’s thug. The thug grabbed his shoulder, wincing in pain, and fell from his horse. The horse, terrified, whinnied and reared up on its hind legs before bolting, dragging the screaming man by the still attached stirrup.

Gerrin continued concentrating on one of the two remaining thugs as his horse shuffled anxiously from side to side. The attacker’s horse nervously backed away as the man continued firing.

*Click*click*. Gerrin’s gun was empty. He rammed his hand into the utility pocket of his pants, frantically searching for a spare magazine as a bullet whizzed by his ear. As he yanked the spare from his pocket he noticed something hit his opponent in the head, knocking the thug from his horse.

The shooting stopped. Gerrin looked around: Reilly was bending over one of their attackers, binding the man’s arms behind him as he squirmed. Shepherd McGarrity and their guide were busying themselves binding the other man into a bundle on the ground, McGarrity with his knee in between the man’s shoulders tying his hands, while their guide bound his feet.

Gerrin turned to face McGarrity. “Shepherd, I take it you’re the one who threw whatever it was that knocked him off the horse?”

McGarrity nodded. “We had a baseball team at the abbey where I did my training. I was actually quite a good pitcher in my day”.

“Still are, from what I can see, but doesn’t the bible frown on doing harm to others?”

“You’re thinking of the Hippocratic oath, Captain”, McGarrity replied smoothly. “That oath applies to doctors”.

“ Whereas what’s happening here is more of that ‘neutralizing violence’ you keep talking about?”

McGarrity smiled. “Exactly”.

“Right”, Gerrin huffed. “Now what about these guys?”

“This one’s kinda leaky”, Reilly called out. “He might need a plug or two”.

Gerrin turned and trudged over to a tree by the side of the road where Reilly had bound one of the fallen thugs. Bending down over the squirming prisoner, Gerrin examined the moist red stain on the man’s leg. “Yeah, this one needs patching”, he remarked. “This just ain’t your day, is it, son?”

TCHU see bah NEE (Go to hell)!” the thug snarled.

“Now, now, now, be nice”, Gerrin admonished, pulling out his comlink. “Central post, this is Gerrin. Anybody there?”

Several seconds passed before a voice on the other end answered. “Go ahead, we read you”.

“We got a couple wounded here, get my medic on the horn”.

“Hold on”. The signal went silent.

The captive thug squirmed in his bindings. “You know the more you squirm, the more that’s gonna bleed”, Gerrin admonished the wounded man, who spat at him.

“Obviously not long on charm, is he?” Reilly quipped.

A minute passed. “Hey, cap’n”, Wilkins’s voice called out over the comm.

Gerrin looked at the radio. “Wilkins? Where’s Doc?

Over the comlink Wilkins answered hesitantly “She’s a little out of it, right now”.

Reilly heard it. “What, again?”

"Shh", Gerrin shushed him. “What, again?”

“Uh . . . yeah”.

“This is getting real old, real fast”, Gerrin growled under his breath. In his normal voice, he asked “Do you know where to find the town’s doc?”

“Yeah, he’s close by”.

“Get him. Tell him there’s a wounded man down the road, little over an hour out, leg wound, a little hostile, bring help”.

“Got it”, Wilkins acknowledged.

“And from now on Doc doesn’t go near any still till I say so”, Gerrin added sharply. “Got it?”

“Cap’n”, Wilkins objected, “she’s fine. She’s just working through a hard time”.

“Well from now on she can work through it without any libational anesthetic”, Gerrin responded sternly. “She’s cut off”.

“Aye, cap’n”

“Send a doc”. Gerrin shoved the comlink roughly into his pocket. Bending over their captive, he pointed to the thug’s leg: “Our doc’s out of it, so you might want to sit tight ‘till the town’s doc gets out here to look at that”.

The thug sneered at him. “Y’all think you’re so big an’ bad, don’t you? My boss gets ahold of you, he gonna make y’all squeal like pigs”.

“Keep telling yourself that”, Gerrin replied dismissively. Turning to his companions he announced “Okay, we’re done here”. ” As he started to walk toward his horse, the other thug snapped “What, you ain’t gonna just shoot us?”

Gerrin stopped and turned. “Some other time”, he answered and turned back toward his horse. Mounting, he turned toward their guide. “Lead the way”, he said.

The four of them turned down the road in their original direction. As they moved away they heard one of the thugs shout “Niao SE duh DOO-gway("p***-soaked pikers)! We’ll be seein’ ya again real soon!"

“We look forward to it”, Gerrin called back loudly over his shoulder.

As they continued down the road Reilly waited until the two thugs were out of sight before he eased his horse in beside Gerrin’s and motioned him to lag back behind their escorts. When they were far enough back he murmured “I think you just took the job”.

Gerrin hesitated before he surmised “Work’s work”.

“Hmph . . . we’re going to have to have a talk about this Good Samaritan thing you’ve got going on”, Reilly grunted as they continued down the road.




. . . . . . . . . . To Be Continued . . .



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Tales From the Nordic Troll #9: WIld Cards (part 6)
“Gentlemen, or – whatever”, Nick Gerrin announced, “Game’s over. Your boss split. Took all his money and vamoosed outta here. Some kind of Alliance trouble, I heard”. He paused before continuing, “Stand down. You ain’t gettin’ paid today. My friends and I got the high ground and you’ve been left high and dry”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 5)
“We ain’t gonna hold ‘em back, there’s too many”, Roy cried. - - - “Then it should be harder for you to miss!” Aldous shot back. - - - “I think we might need to get outta here”, Roy protested. - - - “Gorram it”, Aldous snapped, “just keep shooting!” As he finished loading and turned to fire he muttered to himself “Gos-se! This must be what it feels like to be Nick”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 4)
“People”, Gerrin continued, “we got things set in motion, we got a plan that’ll work, but we’re not going out there alone. Now, are you in or are you out?” - - - - The assembled farmers looked at each other. Five raised their hands. “I’m in”, they proclaimed one at a time. - - - - “What about the rest of you?” Gerrin demanded. - - - - The rest sat there, silent. - - - - Gerrin eyed them contemptuously. “Envy the country that has heroes, huh?” he growled. As he turned and stormed toward the door he added “Pity the land that needs ‘em”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 3)
The leader whipped out his gun and aimed toward Reilly. “Where’s my men?” He snapped. - - - Reilly looked around him. “Swallowed by darkness?” he offered. - - - “Gettin’ smart, huh?” The leader cocked the hammer on his weapon. “Well, I still got you now, don’t I?” - - - “Only two problems”. Reilly raised his hands holding the rope he’d been bound with. “I’m untied”. - - - The leader stiffened and cocked his head. “What’s the other one?” - - - Reilly gestured. “They’re here”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 2)
“Gentlemen“, Shepherd McGarrity started, “this won’t-“ . . . . “Shut it, preacher”, the leader snapped, turning his gun toward McGarrity. “Your services ain’t needed...” He raised his weapon. “…yet”. . . . . “Oh, that just won’t do”, Gerrin chided as he cocked his head. “I suggest you apologize to the Shepherd and take your leave before something bad happens to you”. . . . . “Take ‘em!” the leader roared as he whipped his pistol toward Gerrin and fired.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 1)
“Don’t worry, captain”, McGarrity called back, gesturing to the man beside him. “I think this gentleman might have something a little more in line with your crew’s particular set of skills”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 6)
Both ships were close enough to be clearly seen in the pilot’s window. “Might be a good time to turn”, Reilly commented nervously.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 5)
Bullets bounced off the hood and sides of the truck as Gerrin sped toward the far end of the building. Wilkins, perched on her stomach in the bed, maneuvered a small 10-liter plastic barrel with a fuse in the end toward the lowered cargo gate in back of the bed. Pulling out a lighter, she lit the fuse as Gerrin, firing from the driver’s seat, suddenly swerved away from the building.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - # 8: Business as Usual (part 4)
Whump! - - -
Reilly fought to keep from uttering a sound as the fist of one of Reznor’s men struck him in the stomach again. Reilly raised his eyes toward his captor and sneered “Trying to torture me or tease me?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 3)
Jacko slowly withdrew his hand from the box, producing a cigar, his eyes never leaving Gerrin’s. Placing the cigar in his mouth, he reached down and picked up a small, gaudy-looking lighter, which he also made a show of displaying for his unwelcome visitors. Producing a flame under the cigar, he puffed several times. Finally satisfied, Jacko leaned back in his chair and remarked to Gerrin “You don’t take instructions well, do you?”