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[Open-M] Boll Weevil

#1
Quote:Well the farmer took the boll weevil
And he put him on the red hot sand
Well the weevil said this is a-mighty hot
But I take it like a man
This will be my home, this will be my home.

- Lead Belly

Buzzing in every cell, a feeling of moving-without-moving, the familiar creep of nausea. The world flashed with color, and felt far smaller: grass underfoot, a true horizon on all sides. Shrubs, trees, scattered pits of water, a haze around it all. There were people here, and they acknowledged him with the universal nod of "I see you and your eye contact, but am not much interested in talking, please stop looking at me."

Spike felt instinctively for a cigarette, but before his hand met his pocket he remembered he'd chewed it and dropped it back in the white. Times like these are why he'd started.

This wasn't a dream. Things were too detailed, consistent, and real. He was too self-aware. It was too unpleasantly hot. His soul shuddered at the thought: this wasn't a dream. His instincts kicked in and filed it away. It was too complicated a puzzle to solve right now.

This wasn't a dream. This wasn't a theme park for his id and eros. His stomach felt hollow; he was hungry. His palette was dry; he was thirsty. He needed to urinate. The sun was midway between overhead and the horizon, but who knows if that meant it was morning or evening. It could be noon. The ground was mostly sand, held together by water, memories of water, and ambitious roots. His shoes were meant for a dry sidewalk.

This wasn't a dream. Spike felt inside himself and found a warm glow. Omnilium. Rainbow matter that lives in your soul. Magical money? He wandered to one side, off the vague road, and sat in the sand. He felt back to the Omnilium. A curious feeling, a new sensation. He felt a spread of enlightenment: what it was, how to use it. He hadn't bothered much with religion beyond his own body, and he suspected he was being moved by a god. He filed this away too.

He needed boots, a gun, and food. He got to his feet, went back to the road and started following it away from the gate, keeping his footsteps to the peaks pushed up by other people's footfalls. Pointless, as his shoes were already half-full of sand, but he did it anyway.

Buildings rose in the distance, flickering in the haze. An outpost. The closest structures came into view, and a neon sign on one read 'BAR.' Perfect.

Three wooden stairs rose out of the sand onto a landing. If there was a foundation under it all, it was completely obscured. Spike stepped up, sat, and emptied his shoes, making two similarly sized peaks. Someone clambered up past him and opened the doors. Balding, bearded, short but hard. Spike knew this kind of place. A bar for those coming or going. No one would bother him, but the bartender should know quite a bit. If others were brought to this world in the sudden, contextless way that he was, they probably wouldn't think twice about questions that would be otherwise suspicious. He hated not to be armed, but that's how it was.

He slipped his shoes back on, laced them, and opened the doors. Tables to the left, a bar to the right, light barely sufficient to find your footing. He knew exactly this kind of place. He walked the length of the bar, toward a stool on the far end, offering an opportunity to sit with his back to the wall. He felt a couple sets of eyes, but no real venom.

A bartender wandered over, black hair, receding, mustached, tall, drooping eyes.

"Old fashioned."

The bartender looked upset, and Spike realized his mistake.

"Just gimme whiskey."

The bartender nodded, grabbed a glass, and poured out a meager portion from a label-less bottle.

"Thanks."

Wherever this was, they didn't know about old fashioned's. But they spoke English and they had whiskey. He could work with that.
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#2
"Two."

No tab. Instinctive knowledge again entered his mind from nowhere: finger. Spike touched the counter, both sure and unsure. Warmth shifted from his core to his tips, and a small rainbow ball appeared. Two units of Omnilium. If the bartender cared that he was a prime, it didn't change the well-masked offense.

"Got a question for you, before you go. Where's a guy find a weapon around here?"

"Up the road."

"Place have a name?"

"There's a gun on the sign. You'll find it."

"Well thanks."

Touchy. But that was all he needed. The beer sat in front of him, an excuse, frothy, warm, clouded. Spike stood, knocked it back, and clanked the glass on the table.

Two Omnilium. Might've been overcharged. Not worth worrying about.

===

It really was up the road, and it wasn't hard to find. A standalone shack, sturdy against the weather and sand but not much more, with cartons of cartridges visible from the windows below an OPEN sign, a small set of stairs rising out of the sand and an uneven patio of wooden planks wrapping the front and one side, a WELCOME mat rotted to almost nothing. The door open and closed with a satisying, old-timey bell jingle. A fat, humorless gray man sat behind the counter with that unique, easy relaxation of a gun dealer.

"How are ya mister?"

"I'm good. In the market for a pistol."

The man nodded and slightly pivoted to his right, Spike's left.

"I've got a variety there, depending on your needs. Revolvers if they're your arm. Semi-autos if you prefer, though those'll cost more. Ammo for everything you see, as you need it."

Four horizontal, wooden platforms held, like plates, one gun apiece. Two revolvers and two semi-autos.

"Is this all you have?"

The seller's eyes narrowed. "Yes."

That meant no, but they were illegal, and Spike wasn't known. All of the guns were non-descript and needed a deep cleaning, though they had a superficial shine. Spike suspected their history of ownership included some folks now dead.

The only real choice here was the Colt 1911. A true antique, but the newest of everything here. It'd be too much to hope for a Jericho, but he'd make do.

"How much for the Government?"

"I'm sorry?"

Right. Folks pulled from all over. Wherever this guy is from, there probably wasn't an Earth. Not a United States, anyway.

Spike pointed. "This is called a Colt, where I'm from. Government, since it's an army gun. What do you call it?"

"Ah, that explains the engraving. I'd just called it the 1911. It's 300 OM."

"Does it come with any ammo?"

"I can sell that to you cheap."

Spike nodded. "Mind?"

"Course."

Spike picked up the gun, popped the magazine and checked the chamber. Clear. Slide was janky but silent. Really just needed cleaning.

"I'll take it, and a box of ammo."

"Need a belt?"

"I'd prefer a bag. Got any of those?"

"'Fraid not. Tanner up the road has a stall. He sells good stuff, if you don't mind leather on your shoulder."

"Tanner. Sounds good."

The seller nodded and drew up the receipt. Old-style, big paper, large, cursive writ. A practiced hand. Everything paid for, everything handed off.

"Thank ya now."

Spike nodded. "Thanks."
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