Once in a Blue Agave Moon: “…but wait!…there’s More!

Chapter Seventeen, Part Two

(Jed):

“I have to admit that I’ve lost track of how many languages Amy speaks, but she usually manages to communicate or at least listen to make sure they’re not talking shit about us right under our noses.”

(Leigh-Ann):

”More often than not, somebody involved on the other end tries to ‘re-negotiate’ the deal at the last minute, but you won’t find a better haggler than her; in fact I’ve even seen her raise the price just to teach them a lesson for trying, with all of us ready to walk on her cue. But here’s the really beautiful part…she can argue any angle from either direction, and make it sound like the only option to take.”

“It works like this: she knows how to play the egos of any man she deals with because she always gives them a way to feel good about themselves when they do business with her because she never lets her real intelligence show unless she absolutely has to; but even if she has to put them in their place, she gives them some kind of out so they can pretend to have won by doing what she wanted in the first place.”

“She says that all those psychology courses gave her insights into channelling talents she already possessed.”

“All I can say is that it’s a gift she has; twenty years ago we weren’t exactly the best of friends, but we’ve both learned a great deal since then, and have developed a mutual admiration and I can tell you right here and now that to observe her working a deal is a thing of beauty.” 

“Rebel also brings her tattoo gear along. I don’t think we have ever made a trip out that somebody hasn’t wanted to trade something extremely valuable or desirable for one of her works of art. It’s getting so that people look out for us just to meet her. She has  a growing cult of fans that keep driving up the value of her work.”

“She is more or less considered the visionary artist of the Apocalypse. People are again starting to believe that certain talismans and symbols impart invulnerability to their wearers; hell, she won’t ever consider doing a tat unless she looks into their soul first; she calls it scrying…learned it from her grandmother.”

“But she picked up Wicca after she left Virginia; after her grandma died she started studying Shamanism from the local Cherokee, Algonquin and Chickahominy tribes.”

“There are places we go where we get safe passage just because she is with us. I’m not saying she doesn’t have some kind of miraculous talent, but  the worse that times get, the more that people turn to the Meta realm for protection.”

“Taken on balance, we are something between Santa Claus, a carnival, a traveling medicine, monster truck and gun show, and a flea market, except we are very scrupulous about making sure that everyone feels they got a fair trade for whatever they want, which is usually something nobody else has, or better quality than what is available elsewhere.”

(Rebel):

“We also give a lot of shit away to the locals. If we shoot a wild hog or a deer, we cook for everyone who shows up until it’s all gone. Our barbecues are famous. We also fix fish, ‘gator or frogs when they are available, as well as cabbage palm, which is called ‘swamp cabbage’ here in the Southeast.”

“We like to bring the party with us wherever we go, but the goodwill it generates is something we kind of stumbled onto while we were out on the road.”

 (Jed):

“Nobody with even a little bit of good sense wants to rob or harm us…and if anybody tried, the locals everywhere would come to our rescue (if we actually needed it) because we are loved, needed AND feared.”

(Rebel):

“In fact, about six months ago, this drunk asshole tried to put his hands all over Amy; it was almost sundown…called her a slut and ripped her shirt off…really big guy, a truly intimidating bully…with a very bad rep in that area…got used to getting his way with the locals.”

“He jumped her from behind, but before she could even get up, people came out of nowhere and beat the living shit out of him. They hog-tied him and said they were going to lynch him right then and there.”

“I sure didn’t have any problem wth that; if they hadn’t grabbed him first I would have taken him out right then and there, but Jed stepped up and told them all to stop…the guy was already beat so bad that I doubted that he could have survived anyway, but Jed not only talked them out of it, but then he had Leigh-Ann treat his injuries, set his broken bones and even gave him antibiotics.”

“I thought Jed was nuts at first; called him a pussy for not standing up for Amy…(not in front of anyone else of course) but I didn’t see the logic in doing that. I thought it would hurt our rep, but the guy also had a family; wife and kids, parents, brothers and sisters.”

“So Jed starts talking to what was for all intents and purposes a very self-righteous lynch-mob. The guy was still unconscious and bleeding very badly. Jed thanked them all for standing up to this guy that had intimidated them all for years…turns out he used to be the sheriff in fact…he praised them for their courage, but then he said ‘look…you proved that you don’t have to fear him anymore, but if you kill him, you better kill his whole family right then and there, ‘cause they will want revenge.’ Then he said mercy is a luxury of the powerful and the wise, and how justice is not compromised by kindness, so give him just one more chance to see the error of his ways.”

“But then Jed added that if he steps out of line just one more time, take out his whole family…even the kids, and if they think they can’t handle it, get on the radio and let him know because we will personally come back and do it ourselves…no mercy, no prisoners, no survivors, and zero possibility for revenge.”

“We stayed on until he was well enough to understand we meant business, and made sure his whole family knew the consequences if they didn’t all behave. His parents were elderly, and embarrassed by him because they already knew he was a cruel piece of shit. They were old-fashioned Southern Baptists, so Jed knew just how to  appeal to their Christian values, and the rest of the family was just glad to still be alive.”

“Now every time we go back there, the locals all come to Jed for advice, like he was fuckin’ Solomon or something, but that story has made the rounds all  over Florida, so most people know not to fuck with us,”

“A few have tried…but….(Jed’s voice trails off as he stares at Chiana.)

(Leigh-Ann smiles slightly, looks down and shakes her head, sighs, and resumes control):

“Rebel even does a full-body armor tattoo that involves having the subjects allow themselves to be bitten by a rattlesnake before she soul-gazes into their eyes in a sweat lodge.

“Apparently, it’s part of an Apache warrior’s ritual with just a touch of Yakuza and a dash of VooDoo.”

“She’s become the closest equivalent  to a rock star that these times have produced…so far…except for the ArchAngels, who were already famous.”

Elliott and Chiana exchanged glances at the mention of the ArchAngels; they had become fans of the band before the Armageddon Virus hit the reset button on all Western Civilization up to that point.

(Elliott):

“The ArchAngels!…are they still around?”…I mean, after the shit hit the fan, that was pretty much the end of mass media, I thought.”

(Leigh-Ann just laughed as she shook her head, smiling and wetting her lips with her tongue as she rolled her eyes.):

“Well, yes, as far as national sales of just about anything like that, I’d say you were right, but…but just stop to consider that where they live, they are the local talent…well, there’s a lot more to that story to be covered later. I didn’t mean to take us so far off topic just yet.”  There was a glimmer of a sly smile as she re-directed the conversation back to her original destination.

 

Chazz Vincent

05/13/2017

 

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