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theoldaeroplane ([personal profile] theoldaeroplane) wrote2016-02-26 03:39 pm

Efficiency

Inspired by this post, I give you around 900 words of Scout being Scout.


Scout knew from spending so much time around Sniper and Engineer that the most efficient way to do this would be to pick off the biggest guys first, let them fall like dominoes. Those two were always about efficiency, conservation of energy, whatever. Point was if Scout showed the bosses who was boss the rest would fall in line real quick.

Scout also knew that the most efficient way was almost never the most fun way. He couldn’t wipe the smirk off his face when he tapped his mark on the shoulder and said, “Yo, ugly.”

The guy turned halfway. He was ugly, with watery eyes and a bald spot, patchy-looking and fat. This guy was in here for something white-collar, or something domestic maybe, Scout knew the type. He looked like a sick rat. That was a good name, Scout thought. “You say something to me?” Rat said, giving Scout the once-over. “Toothpick?”

It was a gray day in Teufort, and the slate skies stood flat and dark over the dusty prison yard. On the edges and near the doors, Scout could see guards, and orange figures dotted the landscape in clots of threes and fours. Scout didn’t know the dynamics of this particular correction facility, but the other prisoners seemed to group off into tiny tribes more than form gangs. That suited him, really. Rat had been sitting here all by his lonesome. Scout hummed, long and low, and glanced around for Spy. Nowhere. Of course.

“Yeah,” Scout said, dropping down onto the seat beside him to sling his arm over his shoulder. “See, I got me a problem.” With his other hand he walked his fingers along the splitting wood of the picnic table, over the lunch tray and past its garbage-laden paper plate, right up to the warped cardboard box by Rat’s right hand. He paused with his index finger resting on it. “I need me some’a these. You wanna be a pal and hand ‘em over?”

“Screw off, kid,” Rat growled, snatching the cigarettes away from him. Scout lifted an eyebrow. “You think you’re a big shot cuz you’re one of those damn mercs, huh? Get your own.”

“That’s funny, cuz, see, that’s what I’m tryin’ to do here. Look, I’ll even say please.”

“Get off me,” Rat said, pushing Scout’s arm away.

In the same motion Scout caught his wrist, and twisted. Rat yelped. “Scuze me, what was that?” Scout said, laughing. “C’mon, buddy, I said please!”

Rat tried to yank away, staggering back from the picnic table. Scout dug in his heels, and relished the look of surprise on Rat’s face when he realized he couldn’t just out-pull this guy half his weight. “You might wanna think that over some more is all I’m sayin’ here,” he went on, reaching forward and fisting his hand in Rat’s orange collar. “Cuz I mean yeah, you’re right, I am one’a those damn mercs, and that means I’m batshit nuts, y’know?” He tilted his head to one side and grinned. “Ain’t you seen the papers? Pretty sure they had to operate to get the clothespins outta the guy what arrested me.”

He got a sneer in answer. “Let go, brat.”

This time Scout raised both eyebrows. “Alright, I think we got a misunderstandin’ here,” he said, leaning sideways far enough to reach the table again. “You’re gonna give me the smokes,”—he plucked the gnawed-clean corncob off Rat’s plate, and twisted it between his fingers—“or this is goin’ in some places you reaaally ain’t gonna be happy about.”

In the corner of his eye Scout could see the guards shifting, looking their way, looking for a fight. Nah. Nah, not yet, Rat wasn’t even worth hitting. Not that he needed to bother. “So,” he said, locking eyes with Rat again, “what’ll it be?”

“J—just take ‘em, shit,” Rat muttered, fumbling to shove the pack of smokes into Scout’s chest. He grabbed them and let Rat drop into an ungainly heap on the ground.

While he was scrambling to get back to his feet, Scout pocketed his prize, gave him a little salute with the corncob. “Pleasure doin’ business with ya.”

One down.

“Dare I ask.”

“Call it a present,” Scout said, dusting his hands off on his now-stained jumpsuit. What the stains were exactly he wasn’t sure—mud, blood, grass. Anyway. “Cuz you just looked so sad without somethin’ puttin’ tar in your damn lungs.”

Spy, sitting on his cot with his elbows on his knees and his hands steepled in front of his face, exhaled slowly as he studied the three-foot-high pile of cigarettes that Scout had dropped on the cot next to him. “You realize Camel and Newport are not exactly to my taste?”

“Hey buddy I had to break a whole buncha faces to get those for ya, a little gratitude’d be nice is all I’m sayin’.”

“Hmm,” Spy said, slowly reaching out to pluck one from the mountain. “Well. Beggars cannot be choosers, I suppose.”

Scout leaned in about two inches from Spy’s face. “Annnd?”

“… thank you, Scout.”