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No. 3125
This fic was inspired by actual events. The names in the story have been changed to protect the innocent.

My Lurky McLurkerson Anon friend was the awesome beta. Maybe if we ask real nice she'll write something of her own for us.


Those? Those are cows. Why are there wooden cows in the courtyard? No no, I wouldn't say that's a a stupid question. I built 'em, along with everything else around here... I'll tell ya, but I'll have to kill--

Sure, sure. All right, there's a missile complex under there, whole fort's bad camouflage. Them cows are a black and white and red herrings.

Aw, you're no fun.

I can tell you all about it. You might want to sit down, though. Want a beer? It's a long story. Do I--? No I ain't got nothing else. You drink beer or don't drink nothin'. Do I look like a bartender?

Anyway, I'll start ya at the beginning...

When he joined up with RED, Scout was about eighteen. He had to be at least that much I reckon, technically an adult. I don't think that's much of an adult but the legalities of employment are certainly none of my business. Later on, Scout would tell me he was twenty but that seemed a bit far fetched, given the boy's general demeanor. He was still just a kid. He certainly got bored like any other kid. Sometimes he'd ask for me to come out and play catch with him. Showin' up with an extra glove and being real pushy about it. Then I'd have to shoo him out until I got done workin'. Can't say I ever got around to it. I think Heavy and Demo entertained him sometimes, you could hear them whooping and hollering from just about anywhere inside the two forts. Eventually, they did lose patience with him and then he'd come sniffin' 'round my workshop.

That boy asks a lot of questions. One right after the other, just like he was a little level one sentry. There was one night, I went past his room on the way to my own-- seein' as I had forgotten my copy of Statistical Thermodynamics back on my bunk. I must admit to some bouts of insomnia now and again, so most nights I stay up pretty late. My brain won't slow down for sleep, I get maybe four hours a night. Anyway, I was heading past Scout's room and I hear a weird little static crackle and a sports announcer. The door was open a crack, I just had to push it a little and there's Scout, curled around a radio and frantically scratching at a buncha bugbites inside the most pathetic little blanket fort I'd ever seen. It just wasn't structurally sound-- there weren't enough pillows. "Can't sleep?"

He just shook his head. I motioned for him to follow me and he did.

We got to talking about the animals in the desert.

"I never see 'em! Are there any out here? Everything here is fuckin' dead. And itchy! And hot." He squinted along with these declarations and wiped at his redden cheeks. "What kind of animals live out here in the middle of no-freaking-where?"

"It's not that there ain't any animals out here, Scout, it's just that they got ways not to be found. There are... well, let me see. There's ... mule deer. Gray foxes. Hawks, owls, jackrabbits--"

"How do I catch one?"

"Catch one what, boy?"

Scout got to fidgeting, rolling his sleeves up and scratching at his mosquito bites as we ambled about the fort's interior defenses. His pajamas consisted of a faded Red Sox shirt and too-big jogging pants. "I dunno, maybe I wanna catch something, keep it as a pet-- Ooh! I want a coyote. Like the one that's chasin' the roadrunner and shit."

Endearing though the sight, the boy lookin' after a livin' thing wasn't the most safe idea I'd come across, for him or the creature. Still, it'd be hard to deny the kid something of his own out here... "You can't keep a coyote in here, even if you found one. You could go talk to Sniper about animals, though. More his area of expertise..." I rubbed my chin and got to thinking. "Maybe something smaller. Like an armadillo?"

"Yeah yeah, Sniper's told me all about vicious koalas 'n shit. I think he said he punched a kangaroo in the mouth but I've never seen a armadillo. They're small, right?"

That struck me as strange, "You've ain't never seen a armadillo?"

Scout was quick to get defensive, "Nah, shut the fuck up, I know what they look like! I think like, once maybe I saw one. They're not as big as dogs, right?" He picked and picked at the bugbites on his arm until one began to bleed. I grabbed him by the elbow and lead him over to a dispenser.

"Just lean on that for a second. I used to keep animals, ya know."

He always had this look, like he never believed a word I said. "Oh yeah, like what?"

"Cows. Lotsa little chickens."

"You owned what, a whole fucking cow?"

Hard not to humor the poor city kid. "Yes, a whole cow. We only had about ten of them. After I left home, I think my Pa ended up getting more." I looked over at Scout. His elbows were up on the dispenser and he was looking down at his toes, getting bored. I needed to rile him a bit. "You know, cows are bigger than sentries and they've got black spots--"

"I know what a fuckin' cow looks like!" Scout licked his thumb and slid it over the the bloody spot from his arm. "Can't you can tip them over when they're sleeping?" A silly little grin spread over his face. If I knew him when I was a youngster, I'm sure he would have got me in a lot of trouble.

Part of me wanted to tell a good story. The other part can't tell a lie. "Naw, they don't sleep standing up."

Scout nodded slowly like he understood. Then he pressed his forehead down between his arms onto the dispenser. "It's hot in here. There's too many goddamn bugs--" As if on cue, he twitched as something flitted past his ear, "And I miss..."

There could be a whole list here, things he never knew he could miss. His mama, his brothers, Boston creme pie or whatever they eat up there, but no. Scout's too proud and stupid to say what he's thinking.


I couldn't help but smile. "You miss stuff?"

He just nodded again.

With a sigh, I put down my wrench. Picked up my guitar. "C'mon, boy, let's go outside."

I went about building a small fire while Scout demonstrated some sort of bizarre gestures he claimed gave you better strength, "See, man, we were watching Star Trek the other night and this dude named Khan, I don't know who the fuck he was or nothin' but he'd do this and then he'd get super strong." Scout waved his arms around, then brought them slowly together to meet in the middle with a sort of concentration not normally witnessed on the boy's features.

I'm sure I was looking at him like he was stupid. Or maybe that I felt sorry for him; I don't mean to, it's just how my face reacts to him sometimes. "That don't seem possible."

Scout was offended by this. "WELL IT DID. Geez, Engie, it's a tee-vee show!" He sat down in the dirt and leaned against a crate. It was a fine enough point, framed by stars on the lee side of the fort where we'd have cover and less of an infestation of wildlife. I set up something of a small bonfire to ensure a bug-free evenin' and sat opposite him, just strummin' my guitar. No real song, just soft chords. My favorite chords, but that's not the point. The point is I watched the fire flicker in Scout's eyes until his lids drooped. I watched him bob his head gingerly until it made a quiet thud against the crate. I also watched a mosquito land smack dab in the middle of his nose but again, that's not the point.

So I read a few pages of my book by the firelight. Medic always tells me I should have adequate light to read and woulda been mighty sore, using the flickering firelight as I was. The fire died down and I shook the boy awake. He was a little wobbly and swayed like a drunk. I walked him back to his room with my arm slung over his shoulder. I felt a strange sense of peace and decided maybe I should go to sleep as well.

No battle called the next day and I ended up sleeping in. When I woke up, I went straight to my workshop. I didn't hear from Scout; I think someone mentioned that he and Sniper were out looking for snakes. All the better. I kept the doors locked ...which means I only had to kick Spy out once.

I drew up some blueprints. Even a simple job like this had to be perfect and by lunch, I had two large wooden cows. I attached a few pieces to the legs so that they could stand up. By dinner, they were painted white with black spots.

The boy and the Aussie didn't return until long after dinner was over. I was actually starting to get worried, wondering if maybe one had strangled the other. I was sitting out in the courtyard when I heard the camper before I saw it. Sniper exited the van and went straight to his room, looking more annoyed and sunburned than ever. Never understood why he had a room when the man owned a perfectly good camper, but maybe it was just his way of being social with the rest of us. Not likely. Scout ran right over to me and started to tell me all about his day.

It's strange to think about where he is in his life. He kills for fun, kills for money. He loves his job and yet here he was, sitting there jabbering on to me about a fox he saw like he'd just gotten home from a school trip. It just ain't right. Scout has scars upon scars but no wrinkles. He's seen things I didn't even know were possible at that age.

Scout stopped talking because he noticed me staring at him. The face he made was nothing short of nauseated. "What's up with you, hardhat?" I looked over at the cows and Scout followed my gaze. He popped up like a cork and ran over to the farther one with a grin as big as all outdoors. "Lookit me, I'm tippin' a cow!" With a little shove, the bovine effigy took a tumble with no resistance.

After dinner, I found the boy at my heels again, just one question after another. Scout sat on the ground next to my seat on the crate. His sentences got further and further apart until they didn't come at all. He slumped over asleep, cheek against my knee.

I never picked the fallen cow back up. The other remaining cow stays untouched by the rest of the team. I think I saw Pyro conversing with it one time but it's hard to tell with that one.

And that's why. I told you it was a long story.
Marked for deletion (old)
>> No. 3130
this make me d'awwww like there's no tomorrow
If I knew him when I was a youngster, I'm sure he would have got me in a lot of troubleand this made me grin, just imaginin it
cow tipping, hehe
>> No. 3140
d'awwww this is such a good story. Can I have more please?
>> No. 3144
This is great, Zuul. You're quickly becoming one of my favorite writefags on the chan.
>> No. 3150
This is adorable. I love it.
>> No. 3152
This is so great. You nailed the voices and the whole thing is adorable (hee, cow tipping).
>> No. 3160
Aww... Just, aww. This makes me feel all warm inside.
>> No. 3161
This is a huge thing for me. Makes me want to write more IN ORDER TO WIN YOUR LOVE.

Thanks, guys. :3
>> No. 3163
You got Cat Bountry love! Zuul has made it to the big leagues!
>> No. 3171
It's strange to think about where he is in his life. (Cutting out a bit of the paragraph, for shortness' sake) He's seen things I didn't even know were possible at that age.

This entire paragraph for some reason made me go d'aaaaaw in quite an over the top way. Well, actually, the entire thing made me go d'aw. This part though, tugged at my heartstrings in a kind of "it's rather sad, I want to hug him" way.

And then there's that:

"Lookit me, I'm tippin' a cow!"
I snorted and laughed. I'm tempted to draw that for the laugh.
>> No. 3172

You keep churning out good fics, I will love you forever.

>> No. 3176


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