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“We wuz expectin’ someone taller.”

Every rapin’ time, I get this. Seems that badass, galaxy-roamin’ lawgivers are meant to be at least six-foot tall and dressed like Wyatt Twerp over a build like Schwarzin-whateva. Me? I’m five-foot nuthin’ and three-foot six ‘cross the shoulders. My world don’t like gangly types. Heavy grav and storm systems fit to break a man and his all-terrain toys. We walked and wrangled our gear on Duressangs, the meanest omnivores ever lived. But they were the only thing bigger than a roach that was stubborn enough to exist on my homeworld. It made me tough. Like rocks an’ wolverines.

You could say I have issues. My mama calls it “down-home flavour” and my gal calls it “ooo baby”. My papa, devil take him, called it “spit ‘n’ grit”. Whateva. It got me through Engineer College, then Lawgiver ‘Cademy and got me into the arms of the gal all them taller trainees lusted after. An’ apart from my winnin’ ways with the only woman what counts, I got me some spark with buildin’ stuff, too.

“So you gonna draw yer lil’ pistolette, stumpy?”

“Nope. Don’t reckon I’ll be needin’ it fer the likes o’ you.”

“Well we sure as hael ain’t gonna be bendin’ knee to some rapin’ no-neck dwarf wit’ a tin badge.”

“Ah thought so... GISELLE!”


Behind me an’ off to the right, I hear a crash as most o’ the barn roof comes off. Now iffen I know my gal, she done that neat-like, usin’ an arm rather than smashin’ through the roof with her head. Well, not her head; the head o’ the Dude. I built it an’ she wrangles it. Forty feet tall and armoured all over, a knight in ceratanium plate - with a ball turret mountin’ a multi-barrel pulse blaster for a crotch. Now don’ be lookin’ at me. That lil’ perversitee was Giselle’s idea. Always seems to scare the locals somethin’ cruel. Along with the Dude bein’ man-shaped and eerie-quiet for all it’s size. Took me th’ longest time to finagle the joints exact, but it’s worth it.

“Hello, boys.”

Her voice is like butter ‘n’ honey an’ deep delta blues, “all husky but no fur”, as she described it to me on our first night.
I hear the blaster spin up as the turret comes to bear. I knows ah’m smilin’ fit to split ma head, but I can’t help it.

“Are we gonna be havin’ a problem, boys?”

“No suh.”

Eighteen badass boys bend their knee and toss their illegals into a pile. Guns, drugs and porn, I’d be guessin’. Giselle an’ I will itinerary an’ lock it down after they’ve gone. Then we’ll make camp in the remains of the barn an’ make a lil’ harmonee, because lawgivin’ gives us both a fierce need. Tomorrow noon we’ll load the Dude back into our cruiser an’ light out for the next steadin’. Hope they got someone dumb enough to put up a fight. Giselle gets a hankerin' to let rip iffen she don’t get to light some baddies up every four planets or so.

Oh yeah. Ma name’s Holler. Star Marshall Paul Holler. You ‘member ma name, cuz now ya bin warned.
Yet more fun over on the 365 Tomorrows forum with the 'write a flash fiction story for this title' game. A little western justice in space. Firefly has a lot to answer for. :D

This story will appear in my May 2015 science fantasy anthology, Infinity.

For further details, the Infinity page on my website is…
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SimonJM Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013
How to ruin someone's day ... :)
I wonder if he should build a big banjo to add a more trouser-wetting factor ;)
Rafellin Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Professional Writer
I thought the third leg plasma gatling was sufficient...
SimonJM Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013
LOL yeah, but the banjo'd tell 'em what the laser was gonna do ... ;)
Rafellin Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Professional Writer
If they're too thick to work that out without cues, they deserve the righteous lawgivin'-unto-death they are about to receive.
leyghan Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
A nice slice. I love the protagonist's description. :)
Rafellin Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Professional Writer
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Submitted on
December 6, 2013


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