Merc Rule 47

Written by J. D. Wiley --- Art by J. D. Wiley

Merc Rule 47: Blue-Collar Merc: A merc who gets paid just enough to dig a latrine.

COYOTE JOE: Now, blue-collar boys get a bad rap a lot of the time. But they need work just the same as the rest of us. Thing is, most of ‘em don’t have the licenses that the more qualified fellas have. Sometimes that’s on account of mistakes they’ve made, or people they’ve inadvertently—

SPIVEY: Or advertently…

COYOTE JOE: —screwed over. Advertently?

SPIVEY: Sure.

COYOTE JOE: That ain’t a word, Spivey.

SPIVEY: Sure it is. Means heedfully.

COYOTE JOE: That ain’t a word either. Where was I?

SPIVEY: Blue-collar boys.

COYOTE JOE: Right. Sometimes they’re just poor folks without the means to buy proper gear. And that means some of ‘em are eager bastards that will do the dirtiest work for the best price. Never forget that even the surliest freelancer started somewhere. And that somewhere was more’n likely as a blue-collar merc.

Reminds me of a time me and Spivey were up north. Running with Logan’s Outriders. Was up there with good sized merc crew. Helping build the outposts that the Outriders are stationed at now. The job was mostly protection. Keeping the area clear while battlements could be put in place. But we helped build and fortify ’em too. Some of the younger fellas, blue-collar boys, got left with the shitty jobs.

SPIVEY: Pun intended.

COYOTE JOE: Yes sir. A young buck named Garrett Alston was left digging ditches and latrine pits. But you never did see a more eager kid. Some mercs get salty about doing dirty jobs. Not Garrett. Whistled while he worked and the whole nine. Slaved away under the hot sun with a pick and shovel like he was born to do it. Not every merc likes to see that kinda thing. Makes ’em look bad. So some of them older fellas took to laying into him. Crowing and hurling mean-spirited insults. Kid took it all in stride. Ain’t that right, Spivey?

SPIVEY: Yep.

COYOTE JOE: After three weeks of ditch work with nary a complaint, Logan was so impressed with the boy that he kept him on and trained him as an Outrider. No more blue-collar status for him. Young Garrett Alston was moving up in the world.

Let that be a lesson to anyone looking down on the blue-collar boys. Some of ’em have more work ethic that seasoned hands getting paid twice as much. Employers take that into account when putting together a crew, and a hardworking merc can move up through the ranks as fast as he can prove his worth.

Last I seen Garrett he was training new recruits. Still has that same work ethic and mentality. Still whistles too. As Logan’s Outriders expand their reach, they’re always looking for more blue-collar mercs to do their dirty work. But few and far between are the ones that do it with a smile on their face and a tune in their heart.

Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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