BOOTLICKER

Putsch

2009-08-13

You know today I saw some men walking down the street with a big gun. They had clean clothes, and they had boots. They had new boots. They were black and I swear I saw my face in them. I saw the clouds and the sun and the sky in those boots. Ten boots.

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Their gun was big and black, but it was greasy. It was enormous, that’s why they needed five of them to carry it. I’ve seen the guns they carry around the mines. Miners are worked very hard, you know. Mining teams spend weeks underground and get very bad food. Ever since I’ve known, everyone’s always known that its just a matter of time before there’s a breakout. A young man, an old man, two mothers and their daughters - they use the big guns to punish the whole team for their disunity. You’re unlucky if you live from being shot at with all that shrapnel, you might lose your arm or your leg and still have to mine.

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Its lucky we Gremano are so many - if the northerners decided to kill as many of themselves as the Leaders do, their world would end, surely. I think we like the taste of gunmetal. A man once held a gun to my mouth while I slept. I woke up because I realised two of my teeth had been knocked out that that I was bleeding onto my arm. The warm blood woke me up, I thought I was swimming in a hotspring. I opened my eyes and I saw his long rifle in my face, my mouth powdery and metallic. I didn’t feel like dying so I gave him all my money.

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The bank was down the street. My feet moved after the gun, and I lazily followed the dust cloud of the hurried carriers. The bank was closed, the leaders were dead. The carriers put the cannon down on its stand, loaded it, and fired. It took only a moment for this to happen, and the bank facade crumbled, and the ground shook. My ears rang almightily, the five men moved into the rubble, re-emerging soon after, as the dust settled, the sky dissolving back into blue. They were laden with gold and paper money, and they loaded it all into an iron steam-carriage that arrived at the scene of the rubble the moment the heavy men stepped into the middle of the street.

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The steam-carriage groaned into gear and it hissed angrily into gear as the five men took their leave. They’d have a long trek through the jungle in the direction they were headed - steam-carriages don’t turn without a loss of speed that takes hours to build. I heard stories of men murdered near the Great Impassible Jungle. I was told it might’ve been the local Lords, or the purposeless High Guard maurauding the borders, waiting for them on a manor’s rumour.

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Or it could’ve just been another miner’s breakout. People die all the time, mostly by the sword, these days.