*Frank, Lynch, Bob, Dave, Will and Robbie’s Flat*
Deep within the flat now solely belonging to the largest contingent of males within Beale Street, the darkness swallows all. Barely anything is visible, due to the sun remaining huddled below the horizon, casting a frozen abyss over the desert. All through the house, nothing is stirring, not even a mouse.
In Lynch and Bob’s room, Lynch is sleeping in the left-hand side of the bed, which has been sawn away from the other side of what used to be a double bed. Lynch gives a deep, bellowing snore, grunting loudly before rolling onto his stomach, the faint sound of jingle bells in his head as he succumbs to a dream..
Lynch opens his eyes, a swimming feeling claiming his body as he looks around, sitting in a small room with Coach Con Cussion, Coach Callahay, Father Mercenary and Mother Mercenary. He looks down at his feet, which are placed near a fireplace, and then at his right hand which holds a glass of dark whiskey with several icecubes bobbing lazily in the glass.
Lynch [Happily]: Sweeeeet.
Mother Mercenary: Lynch. Are you alright?
Lynch looks over at Mother Mercenary, who still has her dour bulldog expression etched on her face, despite wearing a Santa hat.
Lynch: Yes Ma’am.
Cussion yawns, stretching in the leather chair next to Lynch.
Cussion: Man, this is great! Expensive whiskey, a warm fire, and Ocelot’s dead corpse!
Lynch raises his head, looking above the fireplace at Liquid Ocelot’s head stuck to a plaque, the mouth open and the eyes glasses over. Lynch nods, raising his glass.
Lynch [Barely containing his happiness]: Sic semper tyrannis.
Father Mercenary: Indeed, Indeed. We won the war.
Callahay [Whooping]: YEAAHHH!!! DAMN RIGHT!!
Mother: Calm down, Callahay, it’s only a dream.
Lynch’s head snaps towards Mother.
Lynch: Say what?
Cussion [Sighing]: Dammit, really?
Mother: Yes, the benefits of those psychoanalysis and mind screening classes are the ability to dream in sequence with others.
Lynch: Really?..[Face falling]…...Fuck.
Mother: Too bad we never honed the psychokinetic technology…..But, this’ll do for now.
Callahay [Laughing]: Lynch! How are your rejects doing?
Lynch: Waiting for a mission.
Father [Calmly]: They’ll get one soon enough.
Lynch: They better fucking do!
Lynch looks down at his feet which start to disappear.
Lynch [Angrily]: PISS!!
Mother: Goodbye Lynch.
Callahay [Cruelly]: HAHAH!!
Lynch lunges at Callahay, only to suddenly have the dream vanish.
Lynch [Mumbling]: …..Fuck.
Bob rolls over on the bed next to Lynch, hopping out of the bed and pulling on a pair of jeans, grabbing Lynch’s side and shaking it.
Bob [Excitedly]: WAKE UP! IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME!!!
Lynch [Grumbling tiredly]: Fuck off and go back to sleep.
Bob [Cackling inanely]: BUT IT’S FIVE IN THE MORNING!!!! AND IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!
Lynch opens an eye, glaring at Bob.
Lynch: Why the fuck are you in such a good mood?
Bob reaches into the pocket of his jeans, grinning brightly and shaking a white canister of pills.
Bob [Grinning brightly]: VALIUM AND PRO-PLUS!!
Lynch swings his legs out of the bed, throwing the cover aside and getting to his feet.
Bob: What’s up?
Lynch: Stand still, because I’m going to kill you.
Lynch lunges at Bob, who screams, spins around and runs out of the door. Lynch bursts through the doorway, glaring down at Dave and Robbie who are sat in front of a small pile of presents at the foot of a tree that is made of five toilet paper tubes stacked on top of eachother and covered with green tinsel. Dave and Robbie turn their heads, looking at Lynch.
Dave: Hey boss.
Lynch [Raising an eyebrow]: ….How long have you idiots been sitting there?!
Dave: One hour.
Lynch: …..So where’s Frank?
Dave: Oi vey, now there is a sad story..
Lynch: How come?
Frank [Sobbing]: MANTIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!
Will groans loudly, shoving open his door with a pillow wrapped around his head. He stops in the middle of the room, throwing the pillow down and sitting on it.
Will [Bitterly]: That fucker just will not. SHUT. UP.
Will [Venomously]: All he does is cry..cry..cry…CRY!!!
Frank slowly stumbles through the open doorway, his eyes red and puffy as he makes his way towards the tree.
Frank [Sniffling]: ..So cold..
Frank stands near Dave, sniffling as he sits near him. Dave looks at Frank, slowly shuffling away.
Dave: Wow. That’s ugly.
Will [Looking down and grinning]: HEY! PRESENTS!
Will quickly sits down near the pile of presents, suddenly grinning brightly.
Will: Christmas! Free loot! Someone gimme something!
Frank [Sobbing]: I’M SWIMMING IN A BOILING POOL OF DEJECTION!!
Robbie [Impatiently]: Can someone just shoot him?
Lynch: Negative!...We need a meatshield.
Robbie [Shrugging]: Guess we better start the…festivities.
Robbie shoves a box wrapped in scarlet towards Will, who snatches it up and tears off the paper.
Will: Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s….a…What the hell is this?
Robbie: It’s from me, I gave you a present no-one will top.
Will [Unimpressed]: …It’s a mirror.
Robbie: Exactly, I gave you yourself. [Darkly] Merry fucking Christmas.
Will [Sniffling]: …It’s the best present I’ve got..
Dave reaches forward, pulling a box wrapped in greaseproof paper towards him.
Dave: Woah, what’s this? From Ivan?
Dave rips off the paper and pulls the box open, revealing several sticks of dynamite.
Dave reaches in, shoving the sticks aside and pulling out a silver Zippo lighter. Dave grins, flicking it open.
Dave [Grinning]: Sweet.
Lynch: Anything for me?
Dave: Yeah, Jerry got you something boss.
Lynch: This better be good , I don’t babysit you bastards for underwear.
Dave pulls out a present wrapped in tinfoil, handing it up to Lynch. Lynch snatches it, tearing off the foil and looking at a small, blank, cardboard box. He opens the box, reaching in and pulling out a handful of silver bullets before dropping them into the box.
Lynch: The boy never fails to scare me.
Dave: You know what those crazy Limeys are like..Speaking of crazy Limeys, Robbie. Present from…Phil.
Dave pushes a small, almost triangular, present towards Robbie, wrapped in tinfoil. Robbie tears off the tinfoil, revealing a solid wooden butt with a metal clip towards the narrow end.
Robbie [Chuckling]: Nice, a stock for my Luger! Now I can full auto without snapping my wrist!
Dave: Oh, Lynch man, thanks!
Dave reaches into a small hessian bag, pulling out a bracelet that appears to be nothing more than the fuel cap from a Harley Davidson Fat Boy tied to a dog-tag ball chain.
Lynch: No problem, Jackscar…By the way, you can tie it over your knuckles, makes for good punching!
Dave looks down at the top of the fuel cap.
Dave [Smirking]: That explains the blood, then.
Frank [Crying]: WHERE’S MANTIS??!?!?
Bob: Will someone just give him a present already?!?
Bob pulls on a red silk shirt, having pulled it from a pile of paper addressed to him from the garage.
Dave: Damn, we’ll be getting clothes from them, I guess.
Dave grasps a lumpy parcel wrapped in gray and pulls it towards him, with a tag indicating that it’s from the garage. Sure enough, he rips it open to reveal a leather vest, covered in various patches.
Dave: Beautiful. Although Santa still hasn’t given me that fucking bike I asked for!!
Robbie pats him on the back.
Robbie [Soothingly]: We just haven’t found anyone to steal one from..
Frank sighs, kneeling next to Bob. Dave gives a small grin, reaching into the shrinking pile and pulling out a medium-sized box wrapped in khaki green wrapping paper, handing it to Frank who takes it half-heartedly.
Frank [Darkly]: This present won’t replace the hole in my heart…
Dave [Suddenly perking up]: Oh, it will!!
Frank tears off the wrapping paper, reading the box dully.
Frank: “Latex Lucy. A doll ready to pleasure your—“ FUCK YOU, DAVE!!
Dave [Laughing]: A MAN CAN TRY, DAMMIT!!!
Lynch: Hey, try it out, maybe you’ll actually get a smile.
Dave: I mean, she can’t even reject you!
Dave, Lynch, Will, Robbie and Bob laugh loudly as Frank throws the box aside, pouting.
Will [Patronisingly]: Oooohhhhh! He’s pouting!
Dave leans forward, poking Frank’s nose.
Dave [Smirking]: Beep. C’mon! Smile, rummy!
Frank [Darkly]: I hate you all.
Lynch: Jeez, then we better get him back: Bob, give him your present.
Bob reaches behind him, grabbing a bottle of Jack Daniels and throwing it to Frank. Frank catches it, his expression brightening instantly as he kisses the bottle repeatedly.
Frank [Ecstatically]: I LOVE YOU ALL! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Lynch: Jeez, is that all it takes?
Dave [Shrugging]: That and a few porno’s.
Bob: C’mon Robbie, open another present!
Robbie looks down at his own small pile.
Robbie reaches into the pile, pulling out a white envelope and looking at it.
Robbie [Sighing]: Oh, look, an envelope from the garage.
Robbie pushes his thumb under the flap, sliding it across and ripping it open, pulling out a piece of card.
Robbie [Reading aloud]: ‘Compadre, the constructions have been completed. She is ready to launch, you crazy bastardo. Best wishes from all of us.’
Dave: Wow, how stingy.
Robbie [Turning his nose up]: Not really..he did write the message on a….photo..of himself.
Robbie looks down at the grinning photograph of That Hispanic Guy before scoffing and throwing it over his shoulder. Will pulls out one of his presents, looking down at it and narrowing his eyes.
Dave: That’s mine.
Will: ….I’m scared to open it.
Will: Because I know you. I know your penchant for gag gifts.
Dave [Smiling]: It’s not. It’s a gift that you will LOVE.
Will sighs, ripping the paper from his gift and looking down at it.
Will: ….Great. Lube…..aaaand….
Will throws aside the tube of lube and looks into the paper.
Will: ….A photo of a goat.
Dave [Laughing]: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Will lunges over the pile of gifts, locking his hands around Dave’s throat.
Will [Angrily]: I’LL KILL YOU! I’LL KILL YOU!
Robbie: Well, now this is entertainment!
Dave chokes as Lynch grabs Will’s hands.
Lynch [Angrily]: STOP! IT’S GOODWILL TOWARDS MEN TODAY! NO KILLING WITHOUT PERMISSION!
Will: CAN I KILL HIM?!?!
Lynch [Sharply]: NO!!!!
Frank: Guys..you’re ruining the moment.
Frank caresses his bottle, ignoring his other presents as Bob watches, laughing and clapping.
Bob: Are you kidding me? This is brilliant!
Robbie grabs another present, pulling it from his small pile as Lynch continues to try and pry Will from Dave.
Robbie: Cool, from Jericho.
Robbie rips off the paper, tipping the scraps upside down and allowing several brass bullets to fall to the carpet.
Robbie: Hollow Points..Perfect.
Lynch pulls Will’s hands away from Dave’s throat and Dave sits back, coughing slightly as Will rubs his wrists.
Dave: Could try and convey the excitement to your--
Robbie [Sharply]: I SAID THEY’RE PERFECT!
Dave: Alright, alright!
Will: Dave, open yours. From me.
Dave takes a small box, presumably Will’s gift, and tears off the wrapping paper, looking down at it before looking at Will, holding up the box to reveal a set of stick-on moustaches.
Dave: What the fuck is this?
Will [Snidely]: Well, you wear gay biker vests, so I gave you gay biker moustaches.
Dave [Sarastically]: Gee, thanks Will! I guess you have to hand down your title of “Gay Moustache Wearer” one day.
Will lunges forward, but a knock raps against the door.
Lynch [Darkly]: Fuck around and I will snap your neck like a chicken bone.
Will quickly pulls back as Lynch grunts loudly, getting to his feet, turning around and walking over to the door, pulling it open: Standing in the doorway are Johnny and Tim, the cameraman and the boom-mic operator for Rex.
Lynch: Hey, it’s!..[Taken aback]...uh…..You guys!
Johnny: Johnny and Tim.
Lynch: Yeah, whatever. What do you idiots want?
Johnny: Well, there’s one thing we want for Christmas.
Lynch [Narrowing his eyes]: I don’t like the sound of it. It sounds like I’m expected to do something other than drink and eat.
Johnny: Well…We’ve been here a good few weeks now, and we’ve actually..well, come to grow to like this place.
Tim: It’d be better staying here with the risk of death than staying with Rex.
Johnny [Hastily]: We want to be mercenaries!
Lynch suddenly falls silent, a small smirk appearing on his face. Frank, Bob, Dave, Will and Robbie swiftly turn their attention to the door, looking surprised.
Lynch: Are you guys serious? They don’t just let anyone into the academy.
Johnny: We graduated, though.
Lynch’s eyes widen and he glares at them.
Lynch [Bluntly]: …….What?
Tim: Yeah. Only the one year course, though. Not like your team. We can handle assault rifles, shotguns and sidearms. Not proficient in anything else, though. No training in explosives or the like.
Lynch: …I see.
Tim [Quickly]: But we are good with footsoldier work! We do have decent grades in target practice! We can show you them1
Johnny: And we even talked it over with Mother, and she said it was your decision! She said to count it as an apprenticeship!
Lynch [Darkly]: We didn’t sign up for that scheme, not after we saw the trouble it got Charlie Company into.
Dave [Laughing]: Didn’t Charlie Company end up being all but wiped out during the Battle of Hue City a few years back? You know, when the Pieuvre Armament PMC got stuck into Vietnam?
Lynch: The very same.
Will: Yeah, slaughtered aside from two men. Those apprentices didn’t know their own asses from their elbows, it was an embarrassment! Even the Seventh Polish Squadron had a laugh at their expense, and they generally like everyone!
Bob: Didn’t work out well for any company that took it. Beta Company only managed to see the light of day again because they took recruits from the Alpha and Gamma Companies. All they had left was six men after the Saint Petersburg incident.
Frank [Darkly]: Even Ocelot was hesitant to open fire…but he did anyway.
Johnny and Tim’s faces fall.
Lynch: Look, I appreciate the enthusiasm, men, but I have enough mercenaries hands to hold without you two adding an extra burden.
Tim [Pleading]: PLEASE?!?!?!?
Dave sighs, hanging his head slowly walks over to Lynch, slapping a hand on his shoulder and leaning into his ear.
Dave [Quietly]: Lynch, we could use a few saps to guard the town while we’re away.
Lynch [Mumbling]: Don’t we have Dibbley for that?
Dave [Hissing]: That’s one lonely penguin, boss! And with the Unit gone, we really need an extra few on the streets!
Lynch [Hissing back]: I don’t think they’re handled to fight off an invasion, idiot!
Johnny: Mother said she was thinking of adding incentives for the apprenticeship scheme.
Dave [Muttering]: Look, all I’m---[Looking up] Hang on, incentives? What kind of incentives?
Johnny [To Tim]: She told us it’d work, didn’t she?
Lynch: Are you two Mother’s little pets or something?
Johnny: No, but we fell into favour after we, y’know, helped Rex complete the interviews Mother has always wanted, but now? We have nothing. No jobs.
Lynch [Shrugging nonchalantly]: It’s a tough economy, kids.
Tim: She said she’d add an extra payment of one hundred dollars a month into every mercenaries envelope.
Tim: She said you’d get a first-choice of new weaponry at the armory—
Lynch’s eyes widen suddenly.
Lynch [Quickly]: Welcome aboard.
Johnny and Tim stand there, stunned.
Lynch: Look, I could spend hours talking over the rules, but it’s Christmas, so let me get one rule straight right here and now: Do not piss me off……I’ll explain the rest later.
Tim [Laughing]: WE’RE ACTUALLY A PART OF A COMPANY?!?!?
Johnny [Ecstatically]: WE DID IT!! WE FUCKING DID IT!! WE’RE MERCENARIES!!
Dave: Yeah yeah, alright.
Johnny and Tim whoop loudly, hugging eachother and jumping up and down before Lynch slams the door.
Lynch: Dumbasses. Don’t do they know that no-one wants to join us voluntarily?
Dave [Counting off names on his fingers]: Tavi, Courtney, Robbie, Dean, Samuel..
Lynch: Okay, I’m sorry: No-one with a functioning brain.
Robbie: I resent that remark.
Lynch: No, you RESEMBLE that remark.
Dean’s Voice [Angrily]: GODDAMMIT, WILL YOU PEOPLE SHUT UP??!?!? PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SLEEP HERE!!!
Jericho’s Voice [Angrily]: SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
Lynch: MAKE ME, FUCKBAGS!!!
Tavi’s Voice [Ecstatically]: CHRISTMAS! IT’S HERE!
Jon’s Voice: GODDAMMIT!!!
Sal’s Voice [Extremely distant]: YAY! CHRISTMAS!
Lynch shrugs, turning to Dave.
Lynch: Well, at least they’re up.
Lynch walks nonchalantly past Dave, sitting on the couch.
Dave [Laughing and shaking his head]: You really are a bastard, you know that?
Lynch gives a small nod, reaching into the pocket of his gym shorts he was sleeping in and pulling out a kidney flask, looking at his housemates.
Lynch: Merry Christmas, lads.
Lynch tips his head back, taking a swift drink.
On the top floor of ReLoaded, a lone light on the endtable to the right of Courtney’s bed has been flicked on. Tavi is standing with her arms pinned to her sides as Courtney starts to wind a roll of golden wrapping paper around her legs, pausing occasionally to tear some sellotape with her teeth and stick the paper to her. Tavi sighs slightly, her ears bristling as her head constantly brushes against the red and gold paper garlands strewn across the ceiling.
Tavi [Impatiently]: Can you hurry up??
Courtney: SILENCE! This requires patience! Patience and skill!
Tavi: And you’re sure this’ll work?
Courtney: Look, when they see the size of the present, those greedy bastards will let us in.
Tavi: But does it have to be me?
Courtney: I’m not spending Christmas stuck here. It’s the one time of year when we’re expected to be around others.
Tavi [Whining]: But the shops warm!!
Courtney: I already took the liberty of moving our presents to their flat, though!
Tavi: ..How the hell did you do that?
Courtney [Smirking]: Love, those guys could get hit in the face with a brick from two inches away, and they’d still have to look around to find who did it.
Tavi [Bluntly]: I don’t think that Phil, Jericho, Ivan or even Steve are that dumb.
Courtney: No, really, you should try it some time, especially after they’ve inhaled poisonous amounts of alcohol. It’s fun! The brick just bounces off of their skulls!
Tavi [Sighing]: Look, do we really have to?
Courtney: So, you don’t want your prese—
Tavi [Quickly shaking her head]: Alright alright, just wrap me up….
Courtney hums, continuing to wind the paper around Tavi’s chest.
Tavi: And stop touching those.
Courtney: But they’re so soft!
Tavi: Yes they are, but just stop.
Courtney pokes her left breast.
Courtney [Giggling]: Beeeeeeep.
Tavi sighs, rolling her eyes.
Tavi [Darkly]: I will slap you.
Courtney: You know you enjoy it!
Tavi: Not really..
Courtney: Didn’t hear you complain when Wolf used to suc—
Tavi [Darkly]: Finish that sentence and I will tear your throat out.
Courtney giggles, poking Tavi’s nose.
Courtney [Cheerfully]: Can’t say that! It’s Christmas!
Tavi [Quickly changing the subject]: I mean, couldn’t we have gone to someone else’s house?
Courtney pulls back, sitting on the edge of the bed as Tavi stands there, motionless aside from her breathing.
Courtney: Alright then, let’s go to Frank’s flat..Oh wait, Frank’s neurotic, Lynch is an asshole, and Will would probably drug us with an aphrodisiac. We could go to the Dog and Handgun, and risk being beaten unconscious by Jon and his shovel and forced to dance for him.
Jon’s Voice [Through the wall]: Hey! I use baseball bats, dammit!
Tavi [Angrily]: SHUT UP!
Jon#s Voice: MAKE ME!
Tavi hops over to the right-hand wall of the room.
Tavi: I WILL!
Jon’s Voice: FINE!
Hearing Jon’s voice, Tavi gives a sudden, shrill crabbing noise. Courtney watches, utterly surprised by Tavi never having made that noise before.
Courtney: What the fuck?!?!?
Tavi [Hissing]: Shut up. Do you think being genetically modified doesn’t come without its perks?
Tavi listens carefully as Jon, presumably caught off-guard by the nigh-on demonic noise, screams, scrambling to her feet and hopping to the left, looking out of the window as Jon, on a wooden ladder, falls back, smashing violently through the window into the top-floor bedroom of the Dog and Handgun with a sickening crash. Tavi grins as Courtney suddenly talks again.
Courtney: We could go to the Lamb and Flag which is under lockdown with Moe guarding it, and might I remind you that it was Moe who won the Academy Amateur Wrestling Championships for four years running during his tenure there, along with Maurice who could crush a battleship. Oh, we could go to Sal’s mansion, which is a long drive away, and there we’d have to deal with a man who even FRANK considers incompetent. We could go to the Kebaborama—
Tavi [Sharply]: Nothing wrong with them.
Courtney: Oh yes, remember the last time we were there? We fought zombies. Rotting zombies. Rotting ANIMAL zombies.
Tavi gives a deep sigh, wriggling slightly.
Tavi; Fine, but the moment anything stupid kicks off, we’re grabbing our presents and leaving.
Courtney [Nodding]: Of course, dear, of course.
Tavi hops over and Courtney starts placing wrapping paper over the lower half of Tavi’s face, winding it around her skull. Tavi sighs, standing there patiently.
Tavi: Although I do have a present for you under my bed.
Courtney immediately drops the roll of paper, diving onto her stomach and looking under Tavi’s bed, reaching under and pulling out a small box wrapped neatly in golden wrapping paper.
Courtney [Happily]: FOR ME?!?
Tavi nods, wobbling slightly as Courtney tears off the wrapping paper, opening the long clamshell box to reveal a black lace choker with a red pendant set into the middle of it.
Courtney: …It’s beautiful…
Tavi [Slightly muffled]: No problem. Can you finish wrapping me so we can get this done with?
Courtney places the choker around her neck, fastening the clasp at the back.
Courtney [Smiling]: …So pretty..
Tavi collapses backwards with a loud thud onto the floor, wriggling slightly.
Tavi: Uh, little help?!?? HELLO?!?!
Courtney runs her hand across the choker, smiling slightly as Tavi scoffs, wriggling her legs violently.
Within the Chop Shop, the garage operated by the team of mercenary mechanics, the mechanics are sat in a circle around a makeshift tree, made of shards of scrap metal and spraypainted wheel rims stuck to a trunk made from an iron girder. Under the ‘tree’ is the usual pile of gaudily-wrapped presents, which the mechanics seem to be eyeing with great interest. Johan, sat in the shadow of what appears to be an unpainted Apache cockpit, complete with a completed control panel, installed driving mechanisms and a leather seat, clears his throat.
Johan: Good morning, gentlemen. Today…is a very special day.
That Hispanic Guy [Smiling]: Si, Jesus’s birthday! The savior was born on this day!
That Random Guy: I wasn’t born today.
That Random Guy gives a small grin, only for Johan to lean across with a vicious cross punch, slamming his fist across the side of That Random Guy’s face and knocking him out.
Johan: Bad joke. Really bad joke.
Bobby: Do you guys seriously have to punch him? He can’t take any more brain damage. All he needs is a few more punches and he can be legally classified as a single-celled organism.
Johan: But it’s fun.
Bobby [Smiling]: …..You have a point.
That Hispanic Guy: Before we open our presents, let us join hands and recite a prayer to our Lord!
The circle of mechanics join hands around the tree, closing their eyes as That Hispanic Guy bows his head.
That Hispanic Guy [Reciting a prayer]: Padre nuestro, que estás en el cielo. Santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino. Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Perdona nuestras ofensas, como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. No nos dejes caer en tentación y líbranos del mal…..Amén.
The mechanics open their eyes, looking around at their brothers-in-arms.
Johan: …I feel warm inside.
Stoofer [Sighing happily]: That is the benefit of a good prayer, and a glorious day.
That Hispanic Guy: Time to reconstruct the giving of gifts by the Three Wise Men….Also known as time to open the presents given to us.
A loud rumble of chatter goes up. That Hispanic Guy leans forward, taking a small box wrapped in gold.
That Hispanic Guy [Smiling]: From Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve. Must be a good gift if they’ve all given me it!
That Hispanic Guy tears the paper off, opening the box and pulling out frankincense aftershave.
Mustafa: Look, there’s a note.
That Hispanic Guy tilts the bottle, looking on its base at a small note.
That Hispanic Guy: ‘We know how much you celebrate Christmas for the actual importance of Christ, so we hope this gift is meaningful for you, and also stops you handing out Bibles to us when we cross the street every Christmas. Phil’s Pagan, Ivan is atheist, I’m Mithraic, and Steve’s just confused.’
Mustafa [Raising an eyebrow]: …Jericho’s Mithraic?
That Hispanic Guy: Explains those weird handshakes he gives people. I thought it died out. But this is a great present! I shall pray for them in return!
Mustafa shrugs, reaching towards the pile and pulling a long box wrapped in scarlet paper onto his lap, tearing the paper off and reaching into it, pulling out a sharp machete.
Mustafa [Chuckling]: Woah..thanks Stoofer!
Stoofer [Nodding]: Keep it sharp.
Bobby: Like my suit.
Bobby holds up a white dress jacket from Sal, grinning brightly.
That Hispanic Guy: The moment you get oil on it, compadre, is the moment you discover a real mans pain.
Johan [Bluntly]: I thought a real mans pain was taking a wrench to the testicles.
That Hispanic Guy: Well…that too.
That Other Random Guy [Quietly]: Sal, Billy and Vince got me….a moustache comb…Hold on.
That Other Random Guy ruffles the pile of red wrapping paper at his feet, causing a note to fall from it.
That Other Random Guy [Reading aloud]: ‘From us three, it goes with Bobby’s present’..Bobby?
Bobby tears the paper off of a circular present, looking down at it and reading the label.
Bobby [Laughing aloud]: Moustache wax?!....Sweet.
That Other Random Guy: Great, and they went and got me a comb.
That Other Random Guy throws the comb over his shoulder.
That Hispanic Guy [Tutting]: Now now, *Beep*, it’s about giving, not receiving. At least he gave!
That Other Random Guy: Says you! He gave you a silver mirror!
That Hispanic Guy looks down at a mirror that he recently pulled from a box covered in silver wrapping paper, kissing it lightly.
That Hispanic Guy [Chuckling]: The very essence of beauty looks back at me!
Johan: Now THAT’S scary.
That Hispanic Guy: SILENCE! THIS IS ALL ABOUT JESUS’S BIRTHDAY!
Johan: Ave Maria.
Mechanics [Automatically, in unison]: Ave Maria.
The mechanics all look around, surprised.
Bobby: Woah, tandem prayers. We could enter a competition!
That Hispanic Guy [Darkly]: Stoofer doesn’t like vicars. If any protestant vicar showed up, they’d be dead.
Bobby: …Dare I ask why?
Stoofer: Just don’t like them.
That Other Random Guy: Charming man.
Stoofer [Darkly]: Got something to say, little man?
That Other Random Guy: Yeah, I do!
Stoofer: Then say it!
That Other Random Guy [Inanely]: I THINK I WILL! [Suddenly grinning] MERRY CHRISTMAS, STOOFER!
That Other Random Guy grabs a bundle wrapped in silver wrapping paper, pushing it towards Stoofer who nods politely.
Stoofer: Gracias, compadre.
Stoofer pulls off the wrapping paper, revealing a pair of full-hand leather gloves with screws and bolts sewn into the lining, poking prominently from the knuckle region.
That Other Random Guy: I made them myself!
Stoofer [Smirking]: Do they hurt?
That Random Guy sits up and That Other Random Guy takes one of the gloves from Stoofer, pulling it onto his right hand and hitting That Random Guy roughly in the jaw. That Random Guy collapses to the floor, spitting out a small plume of blood as That Other Random Guy hands the glove back to Stoofer.
Mustafa: Damn, didn’t even have time to get out a whimpering ‘Momma’.
That Other Random Guy [Winking]: Glad you like ‘em.
Johan reaches forward, taking a small bundle wrapped in red, the tag indicating that it’s from Sal, Billy and Vince. Johan tears the paper off, revealing a bundle of white vests, one of which he shrugs out and looks at.
Bobby: Man, that all you get?
Johan [Calmly]: I asked for them. I am a man of simple pleasures.
That Hispanic Guy: Merde! You asked for a jet last year!
Johan [Smirking]: Well, we have an Apache this year.
Johan motions behind him at the cockpit which he sits in the shadow of.
That Hispanic Guy: Aye, we’ll complete it one day.
Mustafa [Bluntly]: Soon. Just the final few adjustments, which reminds me..
Mustafa reaches into the pile, pulling out a large, oddly-shaped bundle covered in red wrapping paper, labelled to him from ReLoaded. He pulls off the paper, revealing several Sidewinder missiles.
Stoofer [Surprised]: Woah! Those are some hot burrito’s!
Mustafa: They shall be put to good use one day.
Mechanics [In Unison]: Raining fire down on the heathens.
The mechanics look around, surprised once more.
That Other Random Guy: Okay, THAT was weird…ly awesome.
Bobby: Yeah, that was odd.
Stoofer reaches forward, pulling a long, tube-shaped present onto his lap as That Hispanic Guy pulls a bundle wrapped in red towards him.
Stoofer: …What the hell is this?
That Hispanic Guy pulls the paper off the present, revealing a bullwhip tipped with a silver cap. That Hispanic Guy quickly coils the whip before snapping it towards That Random Guy who yelps, suddenly scrambling backwards as he regains consciousness..
That Hispanic Guy [Laughing]: Gracias…GRACIAS!!
That Random Guy [Whining]: C’mon man! Cut that shit out!
That Other Random Guy: Man, I wonder what Billy got me. Hope it’s as cool as yours.
That Other Random Guy tears the paper off his present, revealing a black plastic comb.
That Other Random Guy [Sadly]: Awwww..
That Hispanic Guy snaps his whip at That Other Random Guy with a deafening crack.
That Hispanic Guy [Cackling]: NO-ONE HAS A BETTER PRESENT THAN ME! NO-ONE!
Stoofer clears his throat, pointing to the Strela-3 Rocket Launcher at his feet laying in a pile of torn paper, grinning brightly.
That Hispanic Guy [Face falling]: …..Dammit.
*Sal, Billy and Vince’s Mansion*
In Sal, Billy and Vince’s Mansion, the three inhabitants are sitting in black leather chairs surrounding the fireplace. Vince is sat to the right, a pile of various manga books, anime DVDs, action figures and even two bottles of Sake placed on his lap as he giggles manically, while Billy, sat in the chair next to him directly opposite the stone fireplace, pulls off the powder pink wrapping paper from his last present, revealing a small glass bottle filled with clear liquid. He takes off the top, smelling it.
Billy: Ach, home-made aftershave from tha ladies..
Sal: What’s it smell like?
Billy [Smiling]: Home!
Sal [Snidely]: So sweat, piss and vomit?
Billy: …..and whiskey.
Billy: Aye, it is!
Sal: That was sarcasm, Billy.
Sal takes a deep drink from his glass of Drambuie, giving a small sigh of peace as he looks down at the shreds of paper at his feet.
Billy: Aren’t yeh gonna wear the present I gave yeh?
Sal [Sighing]: Later, Billy: I have no urge to soil my bloodied sheepskin sporran by wearing it in the house.
Billy: And the Sgian Dubh?
Sal: Or the Sgian Dubh.
Sal looks down at the sporran on his lap, a white fur-covered sporran dotted with red bloodstains. Sal gives a small sigh, taking another drink.
Sal [Calmly]: Shall have to thank Maurice for the Drambuie, though.
Billy [Snidely]: Pussy.
A loud bang slams against the cast-iron door behind all three of them as Vince fiddles with a small Rock Lee action figure.
Vince [Quietly]: Oh Rock Lee, so fully posable..
Sal: That’s…quite disturbing.
Vince [Quickly]: There is nothing disturbing about being able to pose Rock Lee in any pose you want!
Sal: The moment I see broccoli bent over, I’m burning it.
Vince [Scoffing]: ..It’s Rock Lee. ROCK LEE. Not ‘broccoli’.
Sal: At least no-one bought you a Japanese schoolgirl—
Vince grins, leaning down into his small pile and pulling free a box with a suggestive picture of an innocent looking Japanese schoolgirl on it. Sal squints, leaning forward.
Sal [Reading aloud]: ‘Yomiki, the doll who loves co—‘ VINCE! YOU SICK FUCK!
Vince: Will bought me it!!
Billy [Chuckling]: Baggsy me not cleanin’ his room anymore!!
Sal: Man, that is sick!
Billy [Shrugging]: But he’s easy to buy for, at least.
The banging pounds against the door once more.
Sal: Who the fuck is that?
Billy’s eyes widen.
Billy [Angrily]: What the fuck does that bastard want now?!?!?!
Sal: What? Don’t you like Santa?
Billy: I hated tha fucker!!
Sal [Sighing]: Billy…Santa isn’t real. It was probably your father laying gifts under the tree.
Billy: …Well, that’d explain why Santa came in smelling like malt liquor and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’. [Angrily] AND NEVER GOT ME THA BIKE I WANTED!!
Vince: Wow, Father issues much?
Billy: He used to beat me with his sack.
Sal and Vince fall silent, exchanging odd looks.
Sal [Coughing]: ..Uhhh..Bill—
Billy lunges from his own chair to Sal sitting opposite of him, grabbing his collar.
Billy [Venomously]: Finish tha’ sentence and I’ll hang yeh with yehr own intestines.
The banging pounds against the door a third time. Billy lets go of Sal, leaning back in his chair and Sal sighs, kicking the wrapping paper away from him and leaning down, pulling out a oak cricket bat with a red ribbon tied around the handle.
Sal: Vinnie, I need to use your present.
Vince [Whining]: ..But what if it’s Santa?!
Sal: I’ll hit him twice in the head.
Billy: And if it’s a mercenary??
Sal [Thinking]: ….Four times in the head.
Sal: Once in the testicles.
Billy [Grinning, giving the thumbs up]: Atta boy!
Sal pulls himself from his chair, walking around it and strolling over to the door. Grasping the two iron handles, he pulls the doors open with a rough creaking as iron scrapes against stone. The head of Bill, grizzled, unkempt, unshaven and ridden with dirt from the sands, pokes through the gap.
Sal simply stands there, blinking as he pulls the door open even more, revealing the flannel-shirted Bill with his hands behind his back.
Sal: What do you want?!
Bill [Bluntly]: Christmas.
Sal [Snidely]: Yes, well done, you can say two syllable words, now go home.
Sal grasps the side of the door, pushing it forward roughly. Bill simply watches, blinking rapidly as Sal grunts and groans, breathing heavily.
Vince: Doesn’t have the same effect as slamming it, does it?
Sal [Strained]: I’M……TRYING!!
Bill: Guys, can I bunk here for the day? Pretty fucking lonely out there and I brought some whiskey.
Billy’s head suddenly snaps up.
Billy: …..What kind?
Bill moves his hands from his back, looking down at the black box embossed with the image of a gold stags head.
Bill: Dalmore, eighteen years old—
Billy [Inanely]: OHMAHGAWDHEHASHTHEGOODSTUFFCOMEINCOMEINCOMEIN!!!!
Sal grunts loudly, sliding down the door and onto his knees.
Sal [Opening one eye]: Fuck it, come in.
Billy grins, sliding between the door as Sal presses his back against it, forcing it slowly shut as Bill sits on the floor between the chairs of Vince and Billy.
Vince: What’s Dalmore?
Billy: Dammit, otaku! It’s one of the best damn whiskies out there! Which suddenly doesn’t explain how someone who comes from a race of people who’d find peanuts soaked in piss appetising came to get ahold of it..
Billy looks down at Bill.
Bill [Shrugging]: Well, it’s a long story—
Bill: …….Queen’s Own. Never saw me coming.
Billy [Eyes widening]: YEH KILLED ‘EM?!?!?
Bill: What? NO! I just stole from them. And maybe took a dump in one of their supply crates………………[Smirking]…………and maybe replaced a few pieces of medication with boxes of tic-tacs.
Bill looks around at all of them as they all look critically at him.
Bill: So, you guys opened presents yet?
Vince [Happily]: Yep!
Sal: We’re onto the drinking stage now.
Billy: Aye, we skipped the breakfast stage, though.
Bill: Awesome! What’s the poison?
Billy: Single Malt..
Bill [Smiling]: Great!
Bill grins as the other three sit in their chairs. Vince flicks excitedly through his manga while Sal takes a quick sip from his glass.
Bill: ….So, what do you guys do while waiting for the Lamb and Flag?
Billy: We wax Vince then use his body as a surfboard down the stairs.
Vince [Whining]: Man, not again! I thought it was Sal’s turn this year!
Sal [Eyes suddenly widening]: OH SHIT!
Billy lunges out of his chair, grabbing Sal by his shoulders and pulling him roughly to his feet.
Sal: BILLY! If you let go, I’ll give you money!
Billy [Calmly]: But Bill hasn’t got a present.
Bill looks up, grinning.
Bill: …And I’d really like a present, with it being Christmas..
Sal [Breathing raggedly, panicking]: COME ON, BILLY! WE HAVE ALCOHOL! CAN’T WE JUST DRINK?!??!
Billy stops for a moment.
Billy [After a short pause]: Bill, grab his legs. Vince, grab the wax.
Sal: NO! STOP!
Vince shoves the presents from his lap, leaping to his feet and running through the door to the right of the fireplace as Sal struggles violently. Bill watches, grinning before getting to his feet and grabbing Sal’s legs, pulling him off his feet as he struggles.
Sal [Quickly]: BILL! I’LL BUY YOU BOOZE!!
Bill: Sorry Sal, but it’s Christmas and I demand a present!
Sal [Panicking more]: NO! STOP! COME ON, GUYS!
Vince returns, clutching several paper strips in his hands.
Vince: Gentlemen, present arms.
Bill looks around, still holding Sal’s legs.
Bill: …Left my gun in my other jeans—
Vince [Sighing]: I MEANT HIS ARMS! HIS ARMS!
Billy grabs the sleeves of Sal’s dress shirt, pulling them up as he struggles violently.
Sal: C’mon! Bodysurfing down the stairs is so last year! We could..play Tic Tac Toe!
Bill: How about…Fick Fack NO?
Vince pulls one of the strips apart, revealing a pinkish wax that Vince places on Sal’s left forearm.
Vince [Grinning]: For the spirit of Christmas, Sal! For the spirit of Christmas!
Sal [Screaming]: NO! FUCK NO! I DON’T EVEN LIKE CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS SUCKS! I HATE CHRIST! I WANT TO PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!
Vince grasps the strip, ripping it off.
*Phil, Jericho, Steve and Ivan’s Flat*
A loud, bloodcurdling scream fills the air. Ivan groans, rolling onto his stomach on his moth-eaten duvet and lets out a small cough, groaning loudly.
Ivan [Groaning]: ……Damn…Christmas…
Ivan yawns, rolling onto his back and opening his eyes, watching as Steve glares down at him, an eerie grin spread over his face as he clutches a gaudily-wrapped present to his chest.
Steve [Quietly]: Christmas.
Ivan screams loudly, scrambling backwards as Steve continues to glare at him.
Ivan [Cursing]: MUDAK!!! YOU SCARED ME!!
Steve [Bluntly]: Christmas.
Ivan [Eyeing Steve]: I know.
Steve [Smile slowly spreading across his face]: ……..Christmas.
Ivan sighs, swinging his legs off of the mattress and placing them on the floor, pushing himself to his feet with a cracking of his bones. He gives a small groan, stretching tiredly as he pulls the door open, looking into the dark living room. Set upon the small cardboard box which acts as a coffee table in front of the plasma television is a small tree, consisting of nothing more than a shrub in a terracotta pot with a few baubles placed on it, underneath which are a few presents, most of which have been hastily wrapped. Ivan groans loudly, turning right and walking over to the small area for the kitchen, reaching up and into a cupboard, pulling out two packets of bacon.
Ivan: Da, Steve, it’s Christmas, but I am cooking some breakvast virst..
Ivan stretches his back, reaching into the pocket of the jeans he slept in and pulls out a small syringe, jamming it into his neck as he uses his free hand to set the bacon in the pan. He presses down on the plunger before turning the gas on.
Steve [Calmly]: Christmas.
Ivan [Blinking rapidly]: …So, yes then.
Ivan switches the hob on, letting loose a small ring of fire underneath the pan. In a few seconds, the pan crackles, which is somewhat swiftly followed by two giant thuds against the door in Phil’s room.
Steve [Grinning]: …They’re up!
Ivan shakes his head as the door is pulled open violently, with Phil being thrown out of the room and straight over the couch, sending him front-flipping to the floor, followed by Jericho running in, turning to Ivan.
Jericho [Pumping his arms]: CHRISTMAS, LADS! IT’S CHRISTMAS!
Phil [Retching]: Put some damn pants on, Jerry!!
Jericho looks down, quickly covering his groin with his hands and sidestepping into his and Phil’s room.
Steve [Inanely]: CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS!
Phil: Yes, yes it is! A great Yule for all!
Ivan [Suspicious]: ….Present pile seems awfully large.
Phil: Indeed, but that’s because people like us!
Ivan switches off the gas on the oven, turning around and walking over to the pile, squatting down and examining some of the presents laid beside the table, eyes narrowing as he smells the air.
Ivan: …Ze sugar demon.
Ivan [Darkly]: DA.
Phil: And you could tell that just by smelling?
Ivan [Nodding]: Da..
Phil: Could’ve checked the tags on the presents, mate.
Ivan looks at the tag on one of the presents wrapped in pale red with holly graphics on it. Sure enough, the tag reads “Courtney”, scrawled in Dean’s handwriting.
Ivan [Quietly]: Home invasion..
Jericho stretches, now wearing a pair of royal blue chinos and a black t-shirt as he walks into the living room, clapping his hands together.
Jericho [Grinning]: Alright, me lovelies? Let’s have a look at this years loot!!
Steve: JERRY!! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!
Ivan: Da, let’s look bevore Steve gets even more hyper!
Jericho [Laughing]: Someone switch the heating on, get the bacon between some bread and we can get this party started!!
Ivan gets back to his feet, turning around and walking back over to the pan before leaning down, reaching into a cupboard to his left and pulling out half a loaf of bread, throwing it over his shoulder. Steve catches it as Ivan turns around, holding the pan and setting it down on the couch.
Ivan: Breakvast is served.
Jericho: Real classy, Freddy Blassie.
Phil [Raising an eyebrow]: Wow, you’re certainly happy this morning.
Jericho: Yes I am, my good man! Yes I am! I feel alive! Good nights sleep, woke to the sound of jingle bells, and I feel in the Christmas spirit for sure!
A small squeak pierces the air. The men look around.
Steve [Quickly]: Wasn’t me!
Ivan: Who smelt it, dealt it!
Jericho looks at Phil, whose lips are curling slightly as he looks at Jericho.
Jericho: ..Bit cold in here, isn’t it?
Phil [Sniggering]: Hey, Jerry..look at your shoulder.
Jericho sighs, closing his eyes.
Jericho [Darkly]: Fuck…I thought it was a bit breezy..
Jericho opens his eyes, looking down at his left shoulder where the pale white transparent form of a rat is currently nestling.
Jericho: Phil, there’s a ghost rat on my shoulder.
Phil’s eyes widen as he stares at the ghostly form of the rat.
Steve [Giggling]: DAWWWWWWWWWWW!!! IT’S SO CUTE!!! I WANT ONE!!
Phil, Ivan and Jericho exchange quick, uneasy looks. Ivan shakes his head.
Ivan: I am not buying him a vat.
Phil: I refuse to buy him a ghost rat. Absolutely. Refuse it, I do.
Jericho [Hissing]: ….Crumpet….go away..
Jericho hisses at his shoulder, only for the ghostly rat to slowly turn its head, looking at Jericho who gives a small whimper.
Ivan: Vell, Jerry..stand still..
Jericho [Hissing ferally]: IT’S FUCKING HARD NOT TO!! GET IT OFF ME!!
Phil: Stand still.
Jericho lets out a small whimper as Phil grabs one of the nearby wooden chairs from underneath the plastic card table a few feet behind the motheaten couch.
Jericho[Unimpressed]: …Phil. It’s a ghost.
Phil raises the chair into the air.
Phil [Sharply]: PHIL SMASH GHOST RAT.
Jericho screams violently as Phil brings the chair down, only for Crumpet to vanish instantly. Phil quickly halts, stopping the chair mere centimetres from Jericho’s skull.
Jericho [Flinching]: ……..FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!!
Phil: HA! YEAH! I WASN’T GONNA HIT YOU! It was a trick to scare off the rat!
The chair suddenly throws itself out of Phil’s hands, landing over Jericho’s head and being sat neatly on the floor. Jericho looks over his shoulder, giving a frightened squeak.
Ivan [Laughing]: ….I have never heard a man make noise like that in my entire life.
Jericho takes a deep breath in, before letting a deep breath out.
Phil [Patronisingly]: Aw, ickle baby Jewicho..Would woo wike a pwesent?
Jericho [Snidely]: Ickle baby Jewicho will kick you in your fucking testicles if you keep up the baby talk.
Phil leans down and grasps a present, looking at Jericho. He shoves the box, roughly wrapped in powder blue wrapping paper, into his chest. Jericho snatches the present from him.
Phil: Have it, ya bastard.
Jericho tears the paper from the box, pulling open the box and pulling out a new pair of brown leather gloves.
Jericho [Smiling somewhat]: Thanks, cunt!
Phil: No problem, bitch.
Jericho: Good load of presents this year, isn’t there?
Phil pulls off the scarlet paper from one of his presents, pulling out an electric razor.
Phil [Sighing]: I think Lynch is trying to tell me something.
Jericho: Yeah, it’s called SHAVING.
Phil: Man, fuck you, there’s nothing wrong with my beard.
Steve grabs the pile, pulling several presents towards him as Jericho puts a bacon sandwich together, chewing on it greedily.
Steve [Ecstatically]: ONE! FROM PHIL!
Phil gives a thumbs up as Steve tears off the bottle green wrapping paper, revealing a ball in a cup toy.
Steve: JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED!!
Phil: Yeah, Steve’s been hankering for one for a while. He’s a man of simple pleasures.
Phil tears off the tinfoil from a tube-shaped present, revealing a bottle of Glenfiddich single malt whiskey.
Phil [Laughing]: Cheers Ivan!
Ivan: Vish you had simple tastes.
Phil: Well, I reciprocated! Open yours!
Ivan leans down, grasping a bottle shaped present wrapped hastily in gaudy red wrapping paper.
Ivan [Rolling his eyes]: Gee, I wonder what it could be.
Ivan tears off the paper, revealing a bottle of Smirnoff Silver Private Reserve vodka.
Ivan [Eyes widening]: JESUS!!
Jericho: Phil mate, where do you get the money? Those things cost around a hundred quid or so.
Phil: I save my money, Jerry, unlike you who pisses it away on booze and women.
Jericho: You piss yours away on booze!
Phil [Laughing triumphantly]: But not on women! That’s our key difference!
Steve tears off the red paper from a lumpy present, revealing a Swiss Army Knife. Steve grabs one of the tools, pulling it out to reveal a sharp blade.
Steve [Grinning]: Wow! A Swiss Army Knife! Thanks Jerry!
Phil: Great, now you’ve given Steve something sharp.
Jericho: He wanted it.
Phil: We’re doomed.
Ivan: Vill you ladies quit vighting? Eesh..
A small knock raps against the door.
Jericho [Sighing]: Who the hell could that be?
Phil: Dunno, you expecting someone?
Phil: Then let’s ignore it!
The knock raps against the door again. Phil curses, turning around and pulling open the door. Standing before him is Courtney, her arms carrying a large present wrapped in golden wrapping paper. She gives a small grin.
Courtney [Grinning inanely]: GUUUYYYYYYYYYYYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!
Steve [Ecstatically]: HIIIIII!!! WOAHMAHGAWDBIGPRESSIE!!
Phil: ..ing hell.
Courtney: Not happy to see me? [Inanely] YOU LIE! YOU ARE! I COME BEARING GIFTS!
Phil: Does this have anything to do with your gifts mysteriously appearing here?
Courtney [Sighing]: ….Look, I won’t lie. Tis empty at ReLoaded, so I wanted to join a house where there would be some life..So I took the liberty of sneaking in my presents.
Phil: And why should we let you in?
Courtney gives a small sniffle.
Courtney [Sadly]: Big pwessie?
Jericho: Oh jeez..
Ivan [Sighing]: Goddamn..
Courtney: …Pwease let me stay?
Courtney’s eyes glisten and she pouts.
Phil [Groaning]: Can’t. Resist. Puppydog. EYES.
Jericho: Damn. It. All.
Ivan [Angrily]: YES! SHE CAN STAY! Damn veaklings..
Courtney squeals, running in and dropping the present roughly on the floor as she claps her hands together, jumping onto the couch in a laying position and putting her arms behind her head.
Courtney [Grinning]: SO BOYS!!! LET’S OPEN!!!
Jericho looks uneasily at Courtney.
Jericho: We’ve..opened most of them..
Phil takes up one of the presents on his pile.
Phil: Oh gee, it’s from Karab. I wonder what it could be.
Phil tears off the paper, revealing a miniature curved Karambit knife.
Ivan [Smiling]: Ooo, it looks sharp.
Jericho rips off the paper of his own present, pulling out a second Karambit knife.
Jericho: Ooo, it looks sharp.
Ivan: That’s what I said—
Courtney: YAY! KNIVES! WHO DOESN’T LOVE KNIVES?!?!
Phil looks uneasily at Courtney. A muffled sneeze blurts out from nowhere.
Phil [Looking around uneasily]: …The fuck was that?
Courtney [Grinning]: Ghost sneezed.
Jericho hastily looks over his shoulder before wincing violently, clutching the back of his neck.
Jericho [Angrily]: FUCK! I’LL SUE THAT BITCH FOR WHIPLASH!
Ivan: He vasn’t talking about you. Ve veally are haunted.
Courtney: ……………You’re haunted.
Ivan [Calmly]: By the ghost of a Victorian avistocrat who vas locked in an asylum for being sexually devious.
Courtney blinks rapidly.
Courtney [Glaring at him]: ………And that doesn’t sound weird to you?
Ivan: It IS veird.
Courtney: Just when I think I’ve heard it all..
Another sneeze is heard.
Phil [Looking around]: Seriously, where is that coming from?!
Phil looks down at the thinning pile underneath the tree, staring at the large, lumpy parcel Courtney carried in, which appears to be several feet long. Courtney leans down beside the parcel, grabbing one labelled to her and pulls it onto her lap, shaking it slightly.
Phil: One of these presents is not like the others.
Phil glares down at the writhing, glittering golden parcel.
Phil [Darkly]: I have the sudden urge to bludgeon it.
Courtney: Phil, don’t. It’s a surprise…..Oh! Yay! Lynch got me some nightvision goggles!
Phil: I don’t like surprises—Hang on, nightvision goggles?
Courtney straps a pair of nightvision goggles over her head, grinning brightly.
Courtney [Grinning]: Yup! Helps me spy on people!
Ivan: …Ve von’t ask.
Jericho: I will: Who the fuck are you spying on?
Courtney: Oh, no-one in particular..
Phil grabs a smaller, lumpy parcel wrapped in white wrapping paper, tearing it open to reveal a rabbit-fur sporran.
Phil: Nice one, Billy.
Courtney [Smiling sweetly]: Awwww..he gave me a matching one!
Courtney points down at her lap at a second rabbit-fur sporran, smiling cutely.
Jericho: Lucky bastards, he just gave me a kidney flask. ANOTHER ONE.
Ivan: That’s like..your vourth, isn’t it?
Ivan: And you use every single one of them.
Jericho [Narrowing his eyes]: And?
Ivan: Quit whining.
Jericho rests his eyes on the large, lumpy parcel, eyes narrowing.
Jericho [Shuffling forward]: …Is that moving?
Phil sets his sporran aside and uneasily kneels down next to the present, placing his hands on the parcel which shudders.
Phil: Funny. It feels warm.
Phil: And slightly soft. Maybe I should hit it.
Courtney [Impatiently]: OPEN IT!!
Phil uneasily takes a handful of paper, pulling roughly at it. The paper tears off in a small strip, revealing Tavi laying there, a smile spread across her face.
Tavi: Hello there.
Phil: ………You know, that’s an ingenious Trojan horse right there.
Tavi: Did it work?
Courtney [Laughing and clapping her hands]: LIKE A DREAM!!
Tavi: WOOHOO!!! Now untie me, please.
Phil steps back slightly, raising an eyebrow.
Ivan [Shoving Phil aside]: Move, you baby!
Ivan leans down, grasping the paper and tears it off of Tavi in one fell swoop. Tavi bounds up to her feet, bouncing slightly.
Tavi: FREE! FREE! Now give me a present.
Tavi turns her head to Ivan.
Ivan [Taken aback]: …Vat?
Tavi grasps both of his cheeks, leaning in and kissing him roughly. Ivan quickly pulls back, wiping his mouth with the back of his forearm.
Ivan [Coughing]: VUCKING HELL!!
Tavi grins, turning to the small pile and leans down, pulling up a small present wrapped in red.
Tavi: Phil, what did you get me?
Phil: Hopefully not what you gave Ivan.
Tavi tears the wrapping paper of the present, revealing a small hunting knife with a staghorn handle, specifically with the words “Don’t Kill Me” etched onto the handle.
Tavi [Whooping]: Wow! Sharp!
Jericho: Everyone seems to getting sharp things for Christmas.
Tavi turns and places a foot against Phil’s sternum, pushing him backwards onto the couch before placing the foot on his lap.
Phil [Angrily]: You do know where your foot is, don’t you?!?!
Tavi: Yep. That’ll be fifty dollars.
Jericho laughs loudly, clapping his hands as he kneels down, taking a present from under the tree: A small box, papered with red and wrapped with a golden ribbon.
Jericho: Man, what a Christmas..
Courtney: Yep, it’s great! Now cough up some dough.
Phil [Angrily]: I don’t have that kind of money!!
Tavi gives a small grin.
Tavi: Oh goody. Watch how hard I can push.
Steve [Clapping his hands]: Ooooo! Sal gave me nice shirt!
Steve unfurls a purple silk dress shirt, looking at it and rubbing it between his thumbs and fingers.
Steve: SO SOFT!!
Jericho tears the paper off his present, revealing a black velvet clamshell box.
Jericho [Chuckling]: gee, thanks Phil!
Phil: Open it.
Jericho opens it, revealing a ruby set into a silver pendant shaped like a claw.
Phil [Bluntly]: Yeah. The Ruby Claw.
Jericho takes the pendant from the clamshell box, pulling it out and revealing a silver chain. Jericho gives a triumphant laugh, stroking the ruby with his thumb.
Jericho [Sighing in relief]: Finally! No more haunting!
Jericho looks over his shoulder at Phil, who is grinning a lot more broadly than he should be. Jericho’s face falls.
Jericho: Oh fuck, what?
Phil: You owe me BIG.
Jericho: …How much?
Phil [Grinning]: One hundred thousand pounds.
Jericho suddenly pales.
Jericho: …Phil…WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!
Tavi [Shocked]: Where the hell did you get the money??!!
Phil [Sniggering]: And that’s just for telling me how to get rid of Emilie.
Jericho [Angrily]: PHIL!! THIS ISN’T FUNNY!!!
Phil: Jericho, mate, you wanted her gone, she could go…Unless I give the pendant back as-is.
Jericho [Sighing]: ….What does it entail?
The grin on Phil’s face widens.
Phil: It requires your blood, mixed with the powdered bones of Emilie’s body.
Jericho [Nodding]: Good enough..
Tavi: Wow, this is just plain weird.
Ivan: You haven’t seen veird til you’ve been at our house.
Phil: Anyway, yeah, your blood, and semen, mixed with Emilie’s—
Jericho: …MY SEMEN?!?!?
Phil looks ahead blankly.
Phil: Freshly made, apparently.
Tavi, Courtney and Ivan: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Phil: Mix it together, then spread the paste on the pendant. Recite an incantation. Ground up the skull, mix it with salt, burn it all, and BINGO! You’re home free. That’ll be one hundred thousand pounds.
Jericho walks over to Phil, grasping his shoulders and pulling him to his feet. Both men glare at eachother before Jericho hugs Phil tightly, patting his back.
Jericho [Calmly]: …Thanks mate..
Courtney: TAKE A PICTURE!!!
Tavi reaches into the back of her jeans, pulling out a mobile phone and taking a picture of the scene.
Ivan: Yuck. Bromance.
Jericho pulls away, patting Phil’s shoulders.
Jericho: Cheers. Where’s her body?
Phil reaches into his back pocket, pulling out a scrap of folded paper and looks at it.
Phil: Out in the Romani Desert somewhere. Buried in an unmarked grave…Mostly unmarked. A lone pile of three rocks marked where she was buried after a brutal murder.
Jericho [Darkly]: Oh.
Courtney: …It’s Christmas! Why are we getting so sullen!
Phil hastily tucks the paper into his pocket, whistling to himself.
Jericho is suddenly tripped up, landing stomach-first onto the floor.
Phil: Well, good luck: She’s still around until then, and knowing that her brave savior will attempt to send her to peace? Well, let’s just say…
Jericho is suddenly twisted around onto his back and dragged into his and Phil’s bedroom.
Jericho [Screaming]: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!
Tavi sighs, shaking her head as the room falls silent.
Tavi: Can we just have a normal Christmas?...
Ivan clears his throat as he unscrews the top from his bottle of Vodka, raising it into the air.
Ivan: To the women! And to our health!
Phil raises his bottle of whiskey, uncorking it and raising it.
Phil: To everlasting pain!
Courtney [Smiling]: To….sugar! Lots and lots of sugar!
Tavi uses her foot to nudge a large box, covered in golden wrapping paper, towards Courtney, coughing slightly. Courtney leans down, tearing off the paper to reveal a case of Monster Energy Drink. Courtney’s eyes suddenly widen.
Courtney: Oh. My. God.
Tavi: But don’t drink them just ye—
Courtney opens one of the cans, taking a huge gulp from one of them.
Tavi [Gulping]: --t.
Phil: Well, we’re boned.
Tavi quickly jabs Courtney in the neck with a syringe, causing her eyes to glaze over.
Courtney: What was that for?!
Tavi: Ivan, you’re a lifesaver.
Ivan [Laughing]: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Tavi grins, grabbing Ivan by the shoulders and forcing him down to the floor as he screams wildly. Phil laughs, sitting back into the couch and ruffling Steve’s hair as he kneels on the floor near him.
Phil [Smirking]: Man, you can’t buy this kind of happiness.
*Lamb and Flag*
In the Lamb and Flag, Maurice and Moe, wearing their pyjamas, are sitting in the middle of the pubs floor. The tables and chairs have been shunted to each side of the room in preparation for the meal later, and their focus is instead on the small pile of unwrapped presents between them. Above them, a new addition to the pub, is a metal box, inside which appears to be a projector with various cables protruding in loops. Ignoring the projector, Moe pulls out a small, curved knife from a bundle of red wrapping paper, grinning as he examines the polished blade.
Moe: Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Where do you think Karab got it?
Maurice: Who knows, kid? Who knows? Proper mint though, giving me his spice mixes and like.
Maurice taps the top of what appears to be a small metal drum, grinning brightly.
Moe [Grinning]: Great haul this year, Wor Maur…Great haul. Even got another shirt from Sal!
Moe holds up a small red silk shirt, grinning slightly.
Maurice: That’s all he gets us.
Moe [Shrugging]: Hey, best getting them for free instead of having to go to specialised retailers.
Maurice: Aye, every store I go to for people my size always has Hawaiian shirts, like…Dave’s present was nice, though.
Moe: Oh yeah, a few bottles of Jim Beam? Not bad, certainly goes with Ivan’s present..
Maurice: ..You mean the beakers made from human bone?
Moe [Bluntly]: Yep.
Maurice: I’m thinking the kid has a few problems in his head.
Moe: Think it? We practically know it!
Maurice: ..Anyway, cheers for your present, kidda.
Moe [Nodding]: Glad you like it. Pretty easy to get boxes of American candy..Just a case of getting a decent five-fingered discount, considering that most of the American troops have gone home for the winter per the agreement.
Maurice: Whose staying in the Middle East this year, like?
Maurice [Hissing through his teeth]: Man, y’know they’ll be wrecking American camps and shit, pissing on the floor and the like.
Moe: Yeah, well, the UN forces knew what they were getting into when they signed the deal.
Moe reaches into the pile, pulling out the present Maurice got him: A red and orange sunburst Gibson Les Paul guitar. Moe sets it on his laps, tuning the strings.
Maurice [Smirking]: Glad ya like it.
Moe: Gibson..The Elvis Presley of the guitar world, and the Les Paul: The Elvis Presley of the Gibson line. Mans greatest achievement is this machine.
Maurice: I thought fire was mans greatest achivement.
Moe: This is better.
The door to the kitchen flings open as Dick walks out, already tying his jet-black apron around his body as he looks down at Moe and Maurice, then down at the pile of presents, his eyes narrowing.
Maurice: ‘Ow do, Dick! Pressie?
Dick [Coldly]: You unwrapped all of them.
Maurice: Aye, but we wanted to make sure they weren’t bombs!
Dick: …And were they?
Moe [Grinning]: But you got a new apron from Will!
Moe reaches into the pile, pulling out a bright pink apron with the words “Kiss The Cook” on it and unfurls it, showing it to Dick.
Dick [Scoffing]: Not. Fucking. Funny.
Moe: C’mon Dick! I mean, Billy got you some whisk—
Dick [Tutting]: Why aren’t the tables set up???
Maurice [Laughing]: It’s Christmas, kidda! A time to relax, like!
Dick: But this is most important day of our business lives!
Moe: You’ve said that the past few Christmases: It doesn’t make a difference.
Dick [Impatiently]: IT DOES! IT DOES!
Dick stands there, blinking.
Dick [Pounding his fist against his chest]: ASSERT DOMINANCE OVER HALF MOON—
Maurice: But you already have! Remember? The incessant fucking around installing useless things like the karaoke stage and foam machine, kidda? How you had to, like, pay him just to get your customers back, moosh?
Moe [Impatiently]: You. Already. Hold. THE MONOPOLY.
Dick: Say wha’?
Moe [Growling]: THEY COME TO YOU FOR DRINK! END OF!
Dick: Well, this is even more important.
Moe: For fucks—Alright, WHY?!
Dick: Because Mother Mercenary is coming.
Moe and Maurice gasp, falling silent. Dick gives a small nod as Moe squeaks.
Maurice [Taken aback]: Fuck. IT’S TODAY?!?!
Dick: Indeed. She’ll be mighty wary about this place. She takes a very dim view on failure…A violently dim view.
Moe [Gulping]: My God, really?
Dick: Yep. So get off your asses and start setting things up.
Dick blinks, and Moe and Maurice vanish, the sound of pots clanging in the kitchen.
Dick: Why does that name always instill fear in mercenaries?
Dick takes a deep breath, an unmistakeable smell of pants-shitting fear in the air. Dick looks over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow.
Dick [In disbelief]: …..I soiled myself? WHAT KIND OF DEMON IS THAT WOMAN??!?!
Inside the darkened bedroom within the Kebaborama, with the black curtains drawn tightly shut, Dean, Samuel and Karab are already awake, sitting on the middle of their beds. On the wooden box next to Karab’s bed which acts as a nighstand, Lavender incense is being burned. Samuel hops off his bed, shutting the white wooden door opposite of his bed tightly, turning around and walking back over to his bed, climbing on and laying down, yawning loudly.
Samuel [Tiredly]: So…what? We just wait here until Christmas dinner?
Dean: Pretty much..
Karab [Quietly]: And a Gurpurab dinner.
Dean: And his Gurpurab dinner. He reflects on Guru’s wisdom, you know.
Dean: And what is the Guru’s wisdom telling you?
Karab [Calmly]: That if you don’t shut up, I will break your neck.
Dean: Charming man, this Guru. And do you have to burn that stuff?
Karab: Helps me relax..
Dean: I think Johan takes this Christmas thing seriously..
Samuel: Christians do, Dean. It’s an important time for them: Christ’s birth. The recreation of the gift-giving by the Three Wise Men. The reflection on—
Dean [Rolling his eyes]: Alright, alright….SLENDER MAN.
Samuel’s head snaps up, and Dean cackles loudly.
Dean [Cackling]: Made you look!
Samuel: I thought my gift would at least fucking calm you for today!
Dean reaches toward the foot of his bed, pulling out a Colt M1911 with an ivory grip, polishing the slide lightly.
Dean: Thanks for it anyway.
Samuel: No problem, brother.
Dean [Shivering]: Don’t call me that! You know it makes my skin crawl!
Samuel: Can’t believe people remember about me, though. Phil even gave me a bronze backscratcher!
Dean [Scoffing]: Pretty crap gift—
Samuel: Hey, when I have an itchy back, it’ll come in handy. I could even combine it with Sal’s present: His coat of many pockets.
Samuel holds up a black dress jacket, pulling it open to reveal many pockets sewn on the inside lining.
Dean [Rolling his eyes]: Yes. Truly a brilliant gift.
Samuel: Jealous, Dean?
Dean: Fuck you, troll.
Samuel [Eyes darting around]: WHERE?!?!
Karab [Calmly]: You know what a nice present was? Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve giving me earplugs.
Dean: Wow, is that it?
Karab: No, they also gave me an iPod to go with it, but the earplugs will do just fine for now.
Samuel [Happily]: Even got an encyclopedia of paranormal monsters from Lynch.
Dean: Useful, considering we’re [Angrily] HUNTERS AND THOSE THINGS ARE FUCKING SHIT!!
Samuel [Smirking]: Nice thought, though.
Dean: I guess.. [Muttering]..Pussy..
Samuel: What? Don’t you like your presents? Not many people get a gold bullion doorstop…made from actual gold.
Dean: Sal’s always been one to show off. I do like Brick giving me that sign that used to hang above the bar, though.
Dean jabs a thumb over his shoulder at a circular disc showing a bulldog with a pair of pistols between its droopy jowls, with the words “Dog and Handgun” emblazoned around the chipped, red edge.
Samuel: Old owners sign?
Dean: Yep. Poor bastards. We told them not to give guns to a dog with rabies…
Samuel: They get bit?
Dean [Sighing]: Yup.
Samuel [Ignoring him]: And I also got this cool aftershave from Will…. ‘Eau Du Geek’.
Dean: Suits you perfectly, then.
Samuel: It was a…decent gesture.
Karab shoves his fingers deeper into his ears, humming loudly. Dean sighs, reaching under his bed and pulling out a straw-bristled broom with the Lamb and Flag logo on the wooden shaft, jabbing it at Karab. Karab screams, falling off his bed and to the floor with a heavy thud.
Dean [Grinning]: Man, thanks Dick!
Karab resurfaces with a frying pan, the Lamb and Flag logo emblazoned on the bottom. Karab flings it, hitting Dean in the side of his skull with a clatter and sending him collapsing off the bed.
Karab [Laughing]: Yeah, thanks Dick!
*Dog and Handgun*
Inside the Dog and Handgun, the main room is dark, but music fills the room as “Always Gonna Be That Way” by Trace Adkins blares out from the pair of speakers on either side of the stage to the right-hand side of the room. Brick, wearing what appears to be a new leather jacket with his jeans tucked into his boots to reveal the handle of a hunting knife peering from the boot, walks around the bar, clapping his hands to the music as Jon, his hair unkempt, his eyes baggy and wearing nothing more than a white vest and a pair of jeans, stands behind the bar, a bottle of Scotch in one hand and a glass in the other. He pours himself a glass, taking a quick drink as Brick whoops loudly.
Brick [Singing heartily]: OH, IT’S CHRISTMAS! IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME! LORD JESUS LOOKS DOWN UPON THE HEATHENS WHO DON’T CELEBRATE HIS BIRTHDAY TODAY!!
Jon: You do realise this was originally a Roman and Pagan holiday hundreds of years before Christianity existed, right?
Brick: Boy, are you insulting my faith? Cause I will stick you in your kidney!
Jon [Bluntly]: Whatever dude.
Brick [Growling]: STICK YOU IN YOUR FUCKING KIDNEY.
Jon: Try it, then!
Brick: Don’t wanna get my new knife covered in unbeliever blood.
Jon hisses violently.
Jon [Hissing]: Fuck off.
Brick: Now now, put a smile on that there face, it’s Christmas! Don’tcha like the present I got ya?
Jon reaches into the back of his jeans, pulling out a hunting knife with a stag horn handle and a five inch sharpened blade.
Jon: Yep. I like it. It will make for some fun on the next mission.
Brick: What about yer other present?
Jon [Coldly]: I am not wearing it.
Brick: But it’s Jack Pyke!!
Jon: No means no.
Brick walks over to the bar, slamming the tip of his knife into the wood.
Brick [Impatiently]: PUT. THE. JACKET. ON.
Jon narrows his eyes, squatting down and pulling up a thick hunting jacket with an oak camouflage print, sighing as he pulls it on, looking at Brick, spreading his arms.
Jon [Angrily]: HAPPY??!?!? I LOOK LIKE YOUR COUSIN BILLY-BOB NOW!!!!
Brick: Not ‘til you put Frank’s present on.
Jon growls, leaning beneath the bar and grabbing a plaid deerstalker hat, pulling it on his head and glaring at Brick, folding his arms. Brick laughs, pulling the knife out of the bar and starting to pick between his front two teeth with it.
Brick: Lookin’ good, Jonny!
Jon: I look like a fucking redneck!!!
Jon [Mumbling]: I hate you..
Brick: Oh, hush up and enjoy the music!
Jon pulls an iPod Nano out of his jeans pocket, shoving the headphones into his ears and sighing.
Jon [Sighing happily]: Thank you, Sal.
Jon [Angrily]: WHAT DID YOU SAY??!?!
Brick: I called you a pussy.
Jon: How about I stab you?
Brick [Sharply]: Whatever dude. Just get ready cause we is leavin’ to eat soon!
Jon sighs, kneeling down behind the bar as the double doors to the bar shove open. Standing in the doorway is the emperor penguin that is the eccentric Mr. Dibbley, a red bowtie around his neck as he waddles into the Dog and Handgun. Jon hops up to his feet, his face blanking when he notices Dibbley.
Mr. Dibbley: Greetings, Jon.
Jon blinks, slowly looking at Brick.
Jon: Dude, there’s a penguin here.
Mr. Dibbley [Calmly]: That I am.
Jon: And it speaks English too.
Brick: You’ve never met Dibbley?
Jon [Shaking his head]: Never wanted to. Never needed to.
Mr. Dibbley: Charming, Jon. Very charming.
Jon: It knows my name??!!
Mr. Dibbley: It’s my job to, being the sniper.
Jon [In utter disbelief]: AND IT’S A SNIPER?!?!?
Mr. Dibbley: I’ve saved your rear-ends plenty of times.
Jon blinks a few times, before ultimately giving a nonchalant shrug.
Jon [Shrugging]: Meh.
Jon turns around, walking back behind the bar.
Mr. Dibbley: …Well, you took that well.
Jon: I’ve seen it all……….No, I haven’t, I’ve heard it all, but I WILL see it all.
Brick [Smirking]: Oh, you will! You will!
Jon: Goddammit, why am I even looking forward to the next mission?!?!?
Brick: The money. The women. The insanity. Getting to shoot things. Being with the people you love—
Jon [Quickly]: The people I tolerate.
Brick: The people you toler—[Saddened]--Hey, don’tcha love me?
Jon looks at Brick, staring at him.
Jon: You are fucking weird, friend.
Brick [Whooping]: YEAH! I’M A FRIEND!
Jon sighs, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head, turning to the bar.
Mr. Dibbley: Don’t mind if I duck here for now, do you? I’d rather not show up late for the meal.
Brick: Fine by me!
Jon [Shrugging]: Yeah, fine by me.
Mr. Dibbley: ..Good Christmas so far for you?
Brick: Oh yeah! Got a new jacket, a new knife, some new boots, some moonshine, some jerky, and even a few new CD’s, as you can hear!
Mr. Dibbley falls silent as “Semper Fi” by Trace Adkins begins to play.
Mr. Dibbley [Sarcastically]: Ah yes, Pro-American country music. Such joy to my ears.
Brick: Hey, I love my country, Land of the free and home of the brave!
Jon: …That sent us here to help fight their battles.
Brick [Angrily]: You sayin’ something ‘bout my country? CAUSE I WILL STICK YOU IN THE KIDNEYS WITH MY STICKING KNIFE!!!
Jon: Whatever Brick. If you stick me, then who runs the bar competently?
Brick [Narrowing his eyes]: ….You win this round.
Jon [Turning to Dibbley]: Oi, penguin.
Mr. Dibbley turns to Jon, tilting his head.
Mr. Dibbley: The names Dibbley. Alphonse Dibbley.
Jon and Brick fall silent.
Brick [In disbelief]: …Woah, your first name’s Alphonse?!?!?
Mr. Dibbley: Is that a problem?
Brick: …..I’m saying nothin’.
Jon [Uneasily]: Well…..Alphonse, since it’s Christmas, I may as well give….you…..a Christmas present.
Mr. Dibbley: Oh, it’s quite alright, chap—
Jon: Shut up and accept the kindness of this almighty and powerful God-King.
Brick looks around the room.
Jon [Laughing]: ME!!
Brick looks at Jon, bursting out laughing,
Mr. Dibbley: Well, if you’re offering..I’ll have the Cointreau.
Jon: A fine choice, sir!
Jon grabs the bottle, coughing as touching it causes a cloud of dust to roll through the air. Jon blows off the dust, a thick cloud being sucked into the air-conditioning as he turns to Mr. Dibbley.
Jon [Grinning]: Hasn’t even been opened.
Mr. Dibbley: Then why have you got it?
Jon [Shrugging]: It was here when we bought the place.
The bar suddenly falls silent as Jon hands the bottle to Dibbley, who cradles the bottle in his flippers. Jon scratches his side, looking around.
Mr. Dibbley: So, what now?
Jon: Well, we usually take rum shots off of the bodies of strippers…what do penguins do?
Mr. Dibbley: Lounge in the snow and eat fish.
Jon [Calmly]: Oh.
Another silence punctuates Jon’s sentence before he walks from behind the bar, clutching a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s Rum.
Jon: Well, if you guys need me, I’ll be drinking firewater from Crystal’s navel.
Jon bangs on the door to the left of the stage, giving a shrill whistle.
Jon [Yelling]: OI! CRYSTAL! GET UP HERE!
Mr. Dibbley turns to Brick, who is busy trying on his new leather jacket, grinning as he does.
Mr. Dibbley: …Nice jacket.
Brick: Yep. Bill got me it.
Mr. Dibbley: That’ll explain the Confederate flag on the back, then.
Brick turns around, revealing the graphic of a Confederate Flag with crossed sabers underneath it and the words “The South Shall Rise Again” over it.
Brick: How does it look?
Mr. Dibbley: Well, I wouldn’t visit Washington with it, that’s for sure.
Brick: …So, you want to have a drinking competition?
Mr. Dibbley: Not before a meal, no.
Brick walks behind the bar, pulling out two frosted glass bottles of Coca Cola.
Brick: No alcohol, but whoever drinks the most without puking wins.
Mr. Dibbley blinks rapidly, setting his Cointreau down and walking over to the bar.
Mr. Dibbley [Sighing]: Well, then…Enguarde!!...Is this what our life has came to, Brick, my old bean?
Brick: Come to what?
Mr. Dibbley: Drinking coke for nothing more than cheap thrills.
Brick; Wanna play five finger fillet?
Mr. Dibbley sighs, holding up his flipper.
Jon’s Voice [Angrily]: WILL YOU TWO SHUT UP?! I’M TRYING TO HAVE FUN IN HERE!!
Brick: Well, Merry Christmas anyway.
Mr. Dibbley sets his bottle down.
Mr. Dibbley: Hit me…..with a drink.
*Beale Street – 4 hours later*
With time moving on, the call to head towards the Lamb and Flag becomes stronger, and the mercenaries begin to move in droves towards the place where their Christmas meal will be held.
On Beale Street, Maurice is standing to the left of the double doors to the Lamb and Flag, clad in a large tuxedo with a red silk cummerbund and bow tie, looking up and down the street as he awaits the arrival of his fellow mercenaries. Clapping his hands together and whistling, Maurice repeatedly spurs his mercenaries to appear from their shelters and arrive at the Lamb and Flag. After a few minutes of clapping and whistling, Lynch, Frank, Robbie, Will, Dave and Bob, each man clad in dinner suits as opposed to their usual scruffy casual clothing, with the exception of Dave wearing his leather biker vest over white dress shirt and black tie, walk from their flat down towards the Lamb and Flag.
Bob: Ready, guys?
Frank [Determined]: Ready as we’ll ever be.
Lynch: It’s not going to be that bad.
Dave [Darkly]: You’re right: It’ll be worse.
Frank: Don’t be like that, Dave!
Dave: Like what: Optimistic? C’mon guys, get real!
Lynch: Will you assholes stop being such..fucking…emos?!?! FUCK!!!
Dave [Shocked]: Me? An emo? Hardly, I’m just being realistic! This whole interview shit has taken up precious time and space, and it’s been fucking annoying anyway! If this interview thing is favourable, then I’m Gandhi and Robbie’s the Dalia Lama!
Robbie: I want to be Gandhi. The man overthrew an empire single-handedly.
Bob: Oh? Fancy your shot at Ocelot and the Patriot’s empire, do you?
Robbie [Smugly]: I fancy my chances, yes.
The group reach the Lamb and Flag, with Frank walking through the door and into the pub itself. Bob shrugs, following Frank, only for the rest to remain outside.
Will [Hesitantly]: ….Yeah, not yet.
Lynch: We have to face it one day, lads.
Will: Then why don’t you go in?
Lynch: …I’m making sure the others arrive in time.
Robbie [Chuckling]: Suuuuuuuuuuure.
Behind him, the large group of mechanics walks over. That Hispanic Guy, wearing a violently-white suit that almost glows in the afternoon sun, grins brightly, holding up several thick chestnut-coloured cigars into the air.
That Hispanic Guy [Grinning brightly]: I HAVE SMOKES!!!
Dave, Lynch and Will immediately turn around with their hands outstretched. That Hispanic Guy gives a small chuckle, handing all three of them cigars.
That Random Guy: Don’t we get any?
That Hispanic Guy [Darkly]: …No.
That Random Guy gives a small whine before That Hispanic Guy slaps him around the back of his head roughly.
That Random Guy [Flinching]: HEY!
That Hispanic Guy [Angrily]: STOP WHINING, PUTO!
That Hispanic Guy reaches for his whip, only for That Random Guy to yelp, running into the Lamb and Flag.
Mustafa [Chuckling]: Works every single time.
That Other Random Guy: Y’know, you don’t have to be an asshole and constantly threaten us with violence, *beep*
That Hispanic Guy narrows his eyes, snapping his fingers.
That Hispanic Guy: Mustafa. Bobby….Escort him.
That Other Random Guy gulps as Mustafa and Bobby march forward, grasping his arms and dragging him into the Lamb and Flag.
Lynch: So…*beep*..got a light?
That Hispanic Guy: Yeah, sure.
A gloved hand moves over That Hispanic Guys shoulder, snatching a cigar from his grip as Ivan walks over to Lynch, silver zippo in his hand as he lights Lynch, Dave and Wills cigars.
Lynch [Smirking]: Thanks, you crazy bastard.
Ivan: No problem.
Jericho: Thanks for the cigar, *beep*
That Hispanic Guy [Grinning]: No problem! [under his breath] Damned leech.
Will and Dave huddle near the door with Jericho, taking drags from their cigars as Phil joins them, slapping his hands on their shoulders.
Phil: Hello guys!
Dave [Glaring at his hand]: You’re touching me.
Phil [Snidely]: What can I say? It’s the first time you’ve been disease free.
Dave: That’s funny, because you still haven’t shaved. You do know we have the technology, right?
Dave: Scruffy bastard..
Lynch: Where the hell is Steve?
Steve [Ecstatically]: PRESENT!!
Ivan: Don’t turn avound. Ve don’t need him getting attention.
Mr. Dibbley walks out from the Dog and Handgun, adjusting the bow tie around his plump neck as he gives a small wave to Steve, who frantically waves back. Mr. Dibbley slowly turns around, shaking his head and walking towards the small group, slapping a flipper on Lynch’s back.
Mr. Dibbley [Cheerfully]: GREETINGS, CHAPS!!
Will: How’s it hanging?
Mr. Dibbley [Calmly]: Quite well, actually.
Johan [Disturbed]: …SICK!
Lynch: Made it, pingu? Nice to see you.
Steve: DIBBLEY!!! DIBBLEY!! YOU WAVED TO ME!!! DIIIIIBBLEEEEEEEEYYYYYY!!!
Dave [Looking over his shoulder]: …What the hell?
That Hispanic Guy: Maria, Steve is even more of a lunatic than he was!
Jericho [Shrugging]: Courtney gave him some Monster Energy to drink--
Will: Now what kind of idiot would give a neurotic psychopath energy drink for Christmas?
Will looks at Phil.
Phil: Avert thine gaze, you prick, because it was Tavi.
Will [Chuckling]: That was my second guess.
A pair of grey hands clamp themselves over Will’s eyes.
Tavi’s Voice: Guess who?!
Will: Gee, I wonder—
Tavi rakes Will’s eyes slightly, causing him to scream loudly and stumble forward, clutching his eyes.
Will: [Crying out] MY EYES! MY BEAUTIFUL EYES!
Maurice frowns, looking over at the small huddle to his right.
Maurice: Alright, let’s keep it clean, people! Keep it clean!
Tavi claps her hands together as Dave shuffles sideways.
Tavi: What’s wrong, Dave?
Dave [Quietly]: You scare me.
Robbie: Bullshit..I should scare you.
Tavi strokes Dave’s arm lightly.
Tavi: Why? Don’t woo wove me?
Dave sidesteps further, knocking into Phil. Phil stumbles back before patting Dave on his back.
Phil: Hey, don’t turn to me for help, buddy, I’ve suffered it all.
Mustafa [Chuckling]: Maybe you guys should go gay..
Phil looks at Dave, who looks back at Phil. Both of them burst out laughing.
Dave [Laughing]: AS IF!!
Phil [Laughing]: Man, I could do better than Dave!
Dave stops laughing, as does Phil.
Dave: But seriously, he’s ugly.
Mr. Dibbley: So nice to see people are in great spirits!
Lynch; Well, most of us: Didn’t you hear Frank sobbing?
Mr. Dibbley [Rolling his eyes]: Yes, I heard it from miles away…
Stoofer: Why? He lost his woman….Big deal.
Lynch: It is for Frank..It’s the only thing with a pulse that’s shown affection for him.
Mr. Dibbley: Such a tragic, and quite boring, story.
Robbie [Smirking]: How long before the love doll discards him?
Ivan [Disturbed]: Love…doll? Vat kind of madman vould buy him a love doll?!
Dave [Smirking]: Guilty as charged!
Mr. Dibbley sighs, shaking his head and walking into the Lamb and Flag as Steve bounds over, his head snapping around as he looks for Dibbley. Dave breathes out a plume of smoke while Jericho blows out a few rings.
Robbie [Muttering]: Jammie git..
Steve: Where’d he go?!?
Courtney appears from behind Steve, pointing at the Lamb and Flag.
Courtney [Happily]: IN THERE!!
Tavi [Chuckling and shaking her head]: …Wow.
Stoofer: How the hell do you tolerate them?
Jericho: With great difficulty.
Phil: What he said.
Tavi: Oh hush you two! You know you enjoy it!
Jericho, Phil and Ivan snigger. Tavi scoffs, walking over to Steve and Courtney.
Tavi [Scoffing]: C’mon, let’s get a seat.
Steve and Courtney clap their hands excitedly in tandem, all three of them bouncing through the door into the Lamb and Flag. Jericho slowly shakes his head.
Jericho: Fucking hell..
Jon and Brick, appearing from the Dog and Handgun, walk over to the Lamb and Flag. Jon jogs over to the small group, pumping his fists. Jericho looks at him, rolling his eyes.
Jericho: Jesus, look what the cat dragged over…
Jericho: So, Jon, joining us this year?
Jon [Clapping his hands together]: Has been a good year for me: Actually promoted up to the main company! WHAT A YEAR FOR JON MANGUEL!!
Jon fist-pumps the air.
Brick: Calm down, Jonny!
Phil [Calmly]: Welcome to hell, kid.
Jon: Kid? Did you seriously just call me kid?!
Jon [Narrowing his eyes]: You people are so fucking confusing that it’s not even funny anymore.
Phil: How is it confusing??
Jon [In disbelief]: BECAUSE YOU’RE ONLY ONE YEAR OLDER THAN ME!!
Phil: Exactly: You. Are. A. Kid…..to me.
Jon [Gritting his teeth]: And you. Are. An. Asshole. To. ME!!
Phil: Cry more, Jonny boy…Cry more.
Jon pulls his fist back and Phil whoops inanely, rushing through the door. Jon curses underneath his breath, walking through the door and pointing ahead.
Jon [Angrily]: I’M GONNA FUCKING KILL YOU AFTER THIS!!
Johan: Charming. Very charming.
Brick laughs loudly, walking beside Jericho and reaching into the pocket of his leather jacket, pulling out a Marlboro cigarette which Ivan lights for him.
Brick [Nodding gratefully]: Cheers Russki.
Ivan: No problem.
Stoofer [Calmly]: Don’t make conversation with anyone..
Johan: Why? I’m friends with them.
Stoofer: Your funeral, pal.
Stoofer shrugs, entering the Lamb and Flag. Maurice looks around at the small crowd, obviously impatient that none of them are entering the Lamb and Flag instantaneously for the meal.
Maurice [Shouting]: LET’S KEEP IT MOVING, LADS!!!
Johan: What’s with all this organisation? Last year was much better, with the drinking and feasting and random archaic acts of violence—
Maurice: Johan, I like ya…but get in the pub.
Johan rolls his eyes and shrugs, walking into the Lamb and Flag. Maurice gives a shrill whistle as Billy, Sal and Vince appear at the foot of Beale Street, riding on the backs of camels while wearing their dinner suits. Jericho, Ivan, That Hispanic Guy and Will turn their heads, looking down the street.
Jericho: Ah look, it’s the cavalry..
Brick [Chuckling]: Goshdarnit, wouldja look at that?
Will: Wow, you know it’s a cold day in hell when the camels look better than the riders.
Billy leans over, slapping the rear of Sal’s camel and causing it to let loose an irritated grunt, starting to dash forward as Sal hangs onto the reins, screaming as the camel races past the crowd. Billy and Vince laugh, high-fiving as they come to a halt feet away from the crowd of mercenaries, climbing off of their camels. Vince strolls around to the front of his camel, lightly stroking its muzzle.
Vince: Ain’t he cute?
Will [Snidely]: Yeah..he’s fat, hairy, and has a humped back: Just like his rider!
Vince: Fuck off, Will. If I wanted an assholes opinion, I’d be at home with a length of hose.
Vince: NOT IN THAT WAY!!
Brick: Then in what way?
Vince: Well, the way—The—SHUT UP!
Brick [Laughing]: You strange, strange boy.
Jericho: Well, I’m going in..Wish me luck.
Jericho flicks his smouldering cigar to the sands, adjusting his trenchcoat and walking into the pub, followed by Ivan who stubs his own cigar out on his forearm, and Brick who simply follows the lead of the people he was shadowing.
Billy [Patting his pockets]: Anyone got any smokes?
That Hispanic Guy: Sorry compadre..
Maurice [Scoffing and rolling his eyes]: Complimentary cigars are being handed out in the pu—
Billy: Later, fellas!
Billy gives a small salute, walking into the Lamb and Flag. Vince pats the muzzle of his camel, walking into the Lamb and Flag behind Billy. Bill, Dean, Karab and Samuel walk forward from the north, joining the small crowd which thins as That Hispanic Guy and Will walk into the Lamb and Flag. Sal runs forward, dusting off his suit and panting.
Sal [Angrily]: FUCKING CAMELS!! AND THAT FUCKING SCOT!!
Dean: What? What happened?
Sal: Billy slapped my camels ass!
Dean smirks slightly.
Dean; Wow, that doesn’t sound sexually awkward at all.
Robbie: Aren’t we all used to inane crap here?
Robbie walks past them, shaking his head and into the Lamb and Flag as Maurice claps his hands together.
Maurice [Shouting]: LET’S KEEP IT MOVING, PEOPLE!!
Bill: Yeah yeah, alright.
Bill turns around, watching as a blue fizz rolls through the air near him, revealing a familiar figure before him in a long black coat, acoustic guitar in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other.
Bill [In disbelief]: HOLY SHIT IT’S JOHNNY CASH.
Cash: Hello fella’s. Keepin’ out of trouble?
Cash: That’s how I like it.
Cash suddenly disappears in a blue haze.
Bill: ….Wow. Just..wow.
Bill shakes his head, sliding through the door.
Stoofer [Snorting]: ..This place gets weirder and weirder..
Dean: I miss those…
Samuel: Miss what?
Dean: The random cameo’s!
That Hispanic Guy [Misty-eyed]: I do too, sometimes..
Dean follows Bill into the Lamb and Flag.
Karab: Well, let’s get this out the way with.
Samuel: Just grin and bear it, Karab.
Karab [Boisterously]: NEVER! I WILL FROWN AND DISDAIN IT!!
Samuel: Just calm down, Karab..Calm down.
Dave: Yeah, it’s not like they’ll have matzah ball soup in he—
Dave sniffs the air, looking around before shoving Karab and Samuel aside.
Dave [Happily]: OUTTA THE WAY, JERKS!!!
Samuel: What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you didn’t celebrate Christmas?
Dave stops, looking over his shoulder.
Dave: I’m celebrating being with my friends. I’m celebrating another year alive. Besides, they have no matzah balls here, and the casinos in Cairo are full anyway..Besides, It’s better to drink and be merry right now!
Dave: Yeah. Nothing wrong with that…IS THERE?!?!
Samuel: No, not at all!
Will squeezes past Samuel and Karab through the door. Samuel scoffs, entering the Lamb and Flag, followed by Karab and Sal. With the last mercenaries having entered the pub, Lynch walks forward, giving a deep sigh and slapping his cheeks.
Lynch [Encouragingly]: Alright, it’s time..Game face..Game face..
Lynch growls, entering the Lamb and Flag and slamming the door behind him.
*Lamb and Flag*
Within the Lamb and Flag, a line of tables extends from mere feet in front of the bar towards the opposite wall, a long line consisting of five rectangular tables, upon which are piled high with various meats, vegetables, roast potatoes, a few bowls of matzah ball soup, lentil dahls, latkes, tamales, rellenos, challah bread, farfel and various other cuisines to highlight the diversity of the mercenaries who are a part of the company.
Lynch walks over to the head of the table as Maurice walks back into the Lamb and Flag, shutting the door behind him as he takes a large seat between Moe and Sal, tucking in. Lynch pulls his seat out, walking in front of it and grabbing a pint glass filled with beer, looking around at the mercenaries who are busy talking. Lynch clears his throat, but this fails to break the boisterous chatter, forcing Lynch to give a shrill whistle, immediately silencing everyone who turns their attention to Lynch.
Lynch: SILENCE! SILENCE! Ladies. Gentlemen. It is today that we celebrate a great year—
Bob: I thought we did that on New Years Eve??
Lynch blinks, grabbing a roast potato from a nearby dish and flinging it at Bob’s head. Bob screams, ducking underneath it as Lynch clears his throat.
Lynch [Boisterously]: Today is a day of celebration, not just because of religious beliefs, but because it marks another year drawing to an end! A week from this day, we will be in a new year, with two thousand and twelve bearing down upon us. It is during that year that we will continue with our sworn mission: To royally unfuck this timeline, to overthrow Liquid Ocelot and the Patriots, and to finally, FINALLY be in a world where the PMC’s don’t control every single fucking thing and where we can visit America and not be subjected to constant background checks or having to suffer the dreaded humiliation of having to use the Mancannon.
Frank: And there’s the whole bit about being in a world where our every move is not being watched in an attempt to remove us all from the mortal coil before we can get Snake through into the position where a domino effect will occur and derail the Patriots.
Lynch: That too. This is it, men. We are one. We are brothers, and together, we will usher in a new year, a new day, and a brand new wor--
The doors fly open. Every single head snaps around to the doors, watching intently.
A sharp intake of breath is taken in unison.
Standing in the doorway, wearing her usual dour bulldog expression, a black shirt with a gold-flower print and, oddly enough, a pair of black dress trousers tucked into a pair of black army boots, is Mother Mercenary, her hands clasped behind her back as her cold eyes scan the mercenaries. Beside her, grinning brightly as usual despite the shocked faces looking back at him, is Father Mercenary, wearing a yellow dress shirt, desert camouflage cargo pants and a pair of black boots with silver toe-caps, looking over them.
Dick [Mouth agape]: …..Oh. My. God.
Lynch: ….Hello Mother.
Mother: Hello underlings.
A tense, frightened silence punctuates her greeting.
Vince [Quietly]: I think I just shit myself..
Bill [Quietly]: I KNOW I just shit myself…
Billy coughs violently, waving his hand in front of his nose before shoving Bill roughly.
Billy [Retching]: DAMMIT BILL!!! YOU WEREN’T KIDDING!!!
Bill: I NEVER SAID I WAS!!!
Father clears his throat, causing another silence to fill the room.
Father: You gentlemen may be pleased to know that the interview reel has been finished. Mother and I are here to watch the final product that will be aired on television channels around the world.
Phil [Gulping]: Uh oh.
Frank [Bluntly]: Shit.
Mother: I do hope the interviews are to an acceptable standard.
Dave raises his hand.
Mother [Sighing]: Yes, Jackscar?
Dave: Define ‘acceptable’.
Mother [Coldly]: Jackscar, you will know if it isn’t acceptable, because I will have you decapitated and your head stuck on a pike for my amusement.
The room of mercenaries gulp loudly.
Father: The interviews will be aired on news channels around the world. Mainly snippets.
A few sighs of relief roll around the mercenaries. As soon as Mother steps forward, another atmosphere of tension enters the room.
Billy [Quietly, to Sal]: Dude, are you alright?
Sal [Grunting]: Hnnnnngh.
Sal grips the arms of his chair so tightly that they snap in two.
Bill [Bluntly]: Nice.
Jericho: Steve, are you alright?
Jericho looks to his left at Steve, who is sitting perfectly still. Jericho waves a hand in front of his face.
Phil flicks Steve, to which he doesn’t even react.
Phil: Poor bastards paralyzed with fear.
Steve gives a small whimper. Mother walks into the pub, staring at the end of the table where Frank is sitting. Frank gulps, getting up to his feet and sidestepping away, grabbing another unused chair and forcing it between Billy and Vince, sitting as Mother takes her seat where Frank was sitting, clearing her throat as Father moves behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders.
Father [Calmly]: Dick. The Projector.
Dick gulps, giving a silent nod and getting on his tiptoes, leaning above the bar and pulling down a white screen before walking around the bar, moving behind Johan and leaning up, poking desperately at thin air a few inches below the projector. Johan gives an irritable growl, standing up and shoving Dick backwards as he does, leaning up and pressing the red power button before sitting down. Dick gulps, rubbing his brow.
Mother [Bluntly]: REX. You can come in.
The doors open once more as Rex walks into the pub, clad in a sharp Italian suit complete with black-and-white dress shoes. He walks over to the projector, getting on his tiptoes and grabbing a USB cable, pulling it out and dragging it over to the space in front of Mother Mercenary, setting the laptop down and placing the USB cable into the port on the laptop.
Rex: I do hope you enjoy it, Mother.
Mother [Darkly]: Do not kiss my ass, Rex, or you shall find my boot up your own.
Rex gulps, moving to the side of Mother and tapping a few keys. Father moves away from Mother to the left-hand side of the door, switching off the lights and plunging the room into darkness.
Brick: Goddamn, it’s darker than the inside of a swamp gater!
Jon [Bitterly]: Will you cut out the fucking redneck metaphors?!
Will: I’d like to remind you all that, just because the lights are out, does not mean you have permission to touch me sexually.
Courtney: Oh, but please tell me we can still stab you!
Will: That’s a negative, psychopath.
Jericho [Angrily]: How about I come over there and shove my fist down your throat?
Will: Try it.
Jericho shoves his chair away from the table, only for Mother to clear her throat irritably. Jericho grumbles darkly, tucking his chair back in.
Jericho: Sorry, Mother.
Will [Quietly]: …Sucker..
Mother: Will, May I remind you that we have a pair of nutcrackers on the table, and that if you so much as look at a woman or a man with a wayward eye, I will use them to turn you into a eunuch.
Will gulps loudly.
Rex: Alright…Here we go..
Lynch [Coldly]: We better have been favourably portrayed, asswipe.
Rex sighs, starting the film. Most of the mercenaries turn their heads to the screen upon which Windows Media Player is now being projected, with Lynch getting to his feet, violently turning his chair around and sitting down, looking up at the screen with his arms folded.
Johan: How come we never got interviewed?!
Rex: That was a personal decision. It was decided to interview mercenaries whom were a part of the main force, as opposed to support units.
Bobby [Sighing darkly]: Riiiiiiiiiiiight, and that’s why Courtney, Tavi and the female Unit was interviewed.
Rex [Quickly]: Personal decision. You were all busy at work.
That Hispanic Guy: ……Is his answer adequate?
Mustafa and Bobby shrug, and Rex gives a sigh of relief, starting the film and taking a few steps back.
Jericho [Suddenly]: AND WHY WASN’T THAT MAN INTERVIEWED?!
Jericho points at Lynch, who looks over his shoulder.
Rex: Because he’s a Captain and he’s already had several?
Lynch; I’ve already had my time on the silver screen, you fucking idiot. Only you common stock got interviewed.
Will [Smirking]: Which is why I never got interviewed!
Mother [Speaking aloud]: Actually, Studlin, you didn’t get interviewed because we didn’t want your arrogance shining through on camera. The reason the mechanics were not interviewed was because they were busy building one classified piece of equipment and repairing another, and Lynch, as a Coach, has been interviewed previously, thus he has no need to be interviewed. Samuel was not interviewed simply because he is one of the newer members of this Company.
Samuel looks around the table, smiling and waving politely.
Mother: If any of you are offended by not being interviewed, rest assure that I do not, and I repeat, DO NOT care in the slightest.
Will slumps back in his seat as several other mercenaries laugh at him.
Bob [Sarcastically]: Charming!
Rex: And here…we….go.
The scene starts off black, and after a few seconds, the video immediately jumps into a view of Beale and Walker Street from the sky, before cutting down to a sweeping view of Beale Street, highlighting the Dog and Handgun, Lamb and Flag, Half Moon and ReLoaded, just to name a few of the known landmarks on the street.
Rex’s Voiceover: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Beale and Walker Street. For the past five years, it has been I, Rex Houghton, bringing you an in-depth look into the mercenary companies that stud the Middle East like cherries on your Christmas cake. On this show, we will show you the last of the mercenary companies: A company that has no name. A company which many say was doomed from the start. A company formed from the biggest group of misfits you could ever find. These men and women aren’t like the previous companies I have interviewed: They are not like Reaper Company, or Ghost Company, or Greaves Company, or even Fidelis Company.
The camera cuts to a sweeping view of the looming Academy.
Rex’s Voiceover: One woman is tasked with the titanic job of leading the war machine this company is a part of. This woman, as you may all know, is a woman known simply as ‘Mother Mercenary’: Secretly charged by several member states of the United Nations to command the war in the Middle East against Ocelot and the Patriots in an attempt to break the cycle of never-ending war for profit that is scarring our Earth, she is seen by many as the answer to restoring global peace, to ending bloodshed for coin, to breaking an area free from conflict which has been stuck in war for over the past decade.
The camera cuts to a small portrait of Mother Mercenary, before quickly cutting out.
Rex’s Voiceover: Mother Mercenary is charged with leading her war machine, just as the war machine is made up of the mercenaries charged with being on the front line. Mercenaries who form just one small part of a never-ceasing war machine that looks to protect the people. A ruthless, well-oiled machine intent on bringing peace back to a world scorched by war. This war machine, helmed by Mother Mercenary, consists of sixteen unique companies. Let me re-introduce them to you, my dear viewers.
A logo consisting of a skull over crossed scythes flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Reaper Company, renowned for their abilities as footsoldiers, helmed by the brilliantly ruthless Joseph Callahay.
A logo consisting of a red lion rampant on a white shield flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: The Seventh Polish Squadron, renowned for their flying prowess and ability to leave death in their flight paths, helmed by Piotr Wyrzyk.
A logo consisting of a pair of crossed rifles over a black gas mask flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Ghost Company, renowned for their stealth and reconnaissance abilities, helmed by Albert Gutenberg.
A logo consisting of the greek letter Alpha imposed on a white shield flies towards the screen
Rex’s Voiceover: Company Alpha, the first of three sister companies, all three renowned for their skills in vehicular engineering, helmed by Leon Rougeau.
A logo consisting of the greek letter Beta imposed on a white shield flies towards the screen
Rex’s Voiceover: Company Beta, the second of three sister companies, helmed by Tobias Bonhomme
A logo consisting of the greek letter Gamma imposed on a white shield flies towards the screen
Rex’s Voiceover: Company Gamma, the third of three sister companies, helmed by Michel Sauvageau
A logo consisting of a pair of green crosshairs on a black triangular shield flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: The Flying Thirty-First, partners of the Seventh Polish Squadron, renowned for their speed and grace in the air, helmed by Thomas Smith.
A logo consisting of a skull with several medal ribbons forming a bandana around it’s forehead flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Valiant Squadron, renowned for their braveness, their Spartan-like dedication, helmed by Patrick O’ Malley.
A logo consisting of a hand clenched tightly around a pair of silver dogtags flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Company: Fidelis Company, renowned for combat demolitions and their never-say-die spirit, helmed by Paul Stanton.
A logo consisting of crossed golden lightning bolts on a black shield flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Spartan Company, renowned for their counter-attacking prowess and their ability to demolish strongholds, helmed by Antiope Eurynome.
A logo consisting of a black lion rampant over crossed lances flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Lion Company, renowned for their work in demolitions, helmed by Marcus Ogbeche.
A logo consisting of a red cross superimposed upon a knights helmet flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Greaves Company, a company which houses some of the finest combat medics in the Middle East, helmed by Chilongola Obi.
As the film plays, some of the mercenaries begin to grow impatient.
Jericho [Shuffling]: For fucks sake, how long is this going to go on for?
Robbie [Pointing at the screen]: …I know Antiope. Is she the one who beat Frank in an arm wrestle?
Sal [Impatiently]: Yes! We get it! Hurry up!
Mother Mercenary clears her throat, forcing silence. Back on the screen, a logo consisting of a red dragons head wearing a golden crown upon a white shield flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Father’s First Company, hand-picked elite soldiers who are helmed by Aaron Randolph.
A logo consisting of a white dragons head wearing a golden crown upon a white shield flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: And, of course, Father’s Second Company, a second company of elite soldiers, helmed by Brigitte Marcelline.
A logo consisting of a skull, facing forwards, and wearing a black beret flies towards the screen.
Rex’s Voiceover: Mother’s Children, the best of the best in this war machine, a company infamous for their superior skills and fighting ability, helmed by Bernhard Ludwig.
A logo, consisting of nothing more than a question mark, slowly fades onto the screen, superimposed over the previous fifteen logos.
Rex’s Voiceover: Yet, as you can see, there is one company within the ranks of this brilliant war machine. One company that stands out like a sore thumb. They have no name, but their designation is clear amongst their fellow soldiers.
Captain Callahay appears on screen, arms folded in front of a brick wall.
Captain Callahay: Yeah, I know them. Reject Company. Pretty much useless.
The camera snaps to a feed of a middle-aged, grizzled man wearing a flightsuit, looking at the camera with tired eyes.
Piotr Wyczjek: I know them, yes. Reject Company. Unique individuals and a unique company. I would not call them the best, but I would say that they have a use.
The camera snaps a third time to a young man with a short goatee, arms folded as he nods before rolling his pale blue eyes.
Leon Rougeau [Snidely]: Oui, I know zem. Reject Company. Talentless snakes.
In the pub, Lynch slams his fists on the table angrily.
Lynch [Angrily]: THAT FRENCH CUNT!!
Mother clears her throat loudly as the camera snaps to an African man, staring at the camera with one brown eye and his left eye, milky-white with a snaking scar extending from the bottom of the eye to the left-hand corner of his mouth.
Marcus Ogbeche: Yeah, Reject Company? Good for cannon fodder, maybe. Not many companies here rate them. I think Marcus Lynch better turn his talents elsewhere, because his boys are only good for cannon fodder. Those boys are so useless I had to repeat that twice.
The camera cuts to a woman wearing a red beret with the logo of Father’s Second Company appears on screen.
Brigitte Marcelline: Oui, Reject Company. Useful for providing meatshields. Useful for little else.
Rex’s Voiceover: The name given to a nameless company: Reject Company. In interviewing their reviled ranks, I believed that I would take a deeper insight into this war machine by looking into the one company that was cast aside and filled with rejects. Our interviews revealed that, while they may be outcasts, rejected by their countries own armed forces and shipped off to the Middle East, each member holds something in common: Failure.
The camera immediately cuts to that familiar scene: A mercenary sat in front of the sand-blasted and fire-scorched wall within Beale-Walker Square. Phil is sitting in the chair as the camera cuts to the scene.
Phil: I shot the shit out of anything that moved. Turns out that mistaking the Royal Chief Engineers Humvee for an enemy transport is quite a mistake to make. So, after I damn near killed him and blew the roof off a refugee hostel, they shipped me here instead of court-martialling me.
The camera then cuts to Jericho’s interview.
Jericho: Yeah, knocked the fuck out. I mean, I already cursed at them, refused to groom properly, refused to religiously preen uniforms and polish boots, so they hated me. I hated them back, so I figured I may as well chin one and get the fuck out….Then they shipped me here..
The camera cuts to Ivan.
Ivan: …Vell..I vas part of ze Vussian Defence Vorce…vanted to be part of Spetsnaz…but sadly I kind of…experimented with dynamite and it’s effects on a petrol-filled jeep….in ze middle of an army demonstration……Killed five.
The camera cuts to Vince.
Vince: I half-arsed the job occasionally. Whenever some outhouses or toilets needed building, I just skimped the job. All I wanted to do was go out and have fun, not get stuck constructing rooms for people to shit in! Turns out having a toilet collapse on ten men isn’t a good way to get recognised--Turns out half-arsing lighting jobs, though, is something serious, especially when it sets those brand new multi-million dollar buildings they spent so long constructing on fire.
Back in the pub, Ivan holds out a hand, and Vince slaps it.
Ivan [Quietly]: Destruction?
Vince [Grinning]: Destruction.
On the screen, the camera cuts to Billy.
Billy: My regular practice was frowned upon. Rather than shoot targets, I shot the seals and dolphins--and it turns out single-handedly attempting to demolish one of the primary spots of the Black Isles tourism trade is frowned upon, so they shipped me here.
The camera cuts to Frank.
Frank: I got drunk one morning before going into combat. I charged the enemy and apparently offered them a few beers, which just offended them since this was the Taliban we were fighting. I had a history of drinking since completing training, mainly because it was a way to calm nerves. Sadly though, you’re not supposed to operate a weapon intoxicated. Not only that, but my own Platoon had to get me the fuck out of an enemy town because I ran in looking for magic beans.
The mercenaries in the pub suddenly burst out laughing. Frank slides down in his chair, folding his arms as the laughing continues. Mother clears her throat, and a silence immediately follows as the camera cuts to Sal.
Sal: It turns out that when a soldiers screaming for help, you’re not supposed to run over, steal all the morphine you can and then run back into the safety.
The camera cuts to Bob.
Bob: I ordered an airstrike on a position where we thought that Somali rebels were hiding. [Chuckling nervously] I was..sort of….off--Well, the co-ordinates I gave were wrong--The Vulcans ended up carpet-bombing an orphanage a few miles east of the target.
Every head in the room turns to Bob, who is now slumped over with his head in his hands.
Sal [Laughing]: And I’M the crazy one?
Bob [Hysterical]: I NEVER KNEW!! I NEVER FUCKING KNEW!!
The camera cuts to Bill.
Bill: Opened fire on the headquarters. I was trying to control it with my knees, y’see? I had two Buds in my hands. Wanted to drink them during the parade. Except I accidentally ended up firing the main cannon. Blew a nice chunk out of the wall. Right where the officers offices were.
The camera cuts to Steve.
Steve: …..I remember….lighting a flare……and then……my….uhhh….commander? Commander! My commanders jeep……went boom from a missile.
The camera cuts to Brick.
Brick: Yup, I just flew up and took off! Warned with a court martial, but I thought “It’s been ages since I’ve had me some fish and fries!” so I flew off over to England and divebombed Ten Downing Street for Zemus!
The camera cuts to Karab.
Karab: Well, as we moved onto the Pieuvre Armament barracks just outside the city of Sucre, Ocelot threw forth a battalion of Gekkou’s. [Sighing, voice cracking slightly] I…..well…….kinda ran.
The camera cuts once more, panning an aerial view of Beale and Walker Street, where we can clearly see Frank stumbling down Beale Street before falling onto his face. Frank slumps down further into his seat.
Rex’s Voiceover: The stench of failure haunts the area as it is clear that, just from the men we interviewed, they have earned their moniker ‘Reject Company’. It doesn’t just stop here though: With other companies I interviewed, you saw companies like Reaper Company, Company Alpha, Seventh Polish Squadron, The Flying Thirty-First…All companies were proud of their jobs, proud of their positions under the United Nations, locked in a struggle with Ocelot’s and the Patriot’s forces. So what do ‘Reject Company’ think?
The camera cuts to another shot of Phil.
Phil: If you drop out and hand in your discharge papers, or try and flee the country, you’re court martialled and thrown into jail. This is a punishment, not a fucking reward. We’re the armies back-up and cannon fodder. Fuck, we’re just the ground guys with crap equipment ourselves. If Ocelot takes it, he has a trading route from here and all across the Middle East. Shipping guns would be a fucking doddle. Yet, all he has to do is promise mercenaries a few better guns and some extra cash as well, and they’d let him pass.
Mother looks at Phil, who now has his head buried in his hands as the mercenaries around him grin brightly.
Phil [Sobbing]: I’m dead…I’m dead..
The camera cuts to none other than Screaming Mantis, forcing a small whimper from Frank.
Sal [Hissing quietly]: Shut up!
Mantis: Pointless, really. Mercenaries and rebels stuck jostling against Ocelot. It’s useless. While Ocelot is busy spreading, all these concentrated pockets are doing is holding an invisible line. If Ocelot wanted to, he could pour all his resources forward and just smash them, but he seems to have came up with a spot of amnesia.
The camera cuts to Jericho, who appears sullen.
Jericho [Bitterly]: The boys lose their lives in the sands around here. We’re throwing ourselves at the enemy..fuck, we do it literally sometimes, and what do the governments do? Sit back and watch, just waiting for the PMCs to get worn out enough and for Ocelot to make his move before sending in the actual soldiers. They don’t even recognise us. We’re a dirty legacy to them, people they fund but don’t want to admit to owning.
Rex: You sound incredibly bitter..
Jericho: It’s not hard to, is it?
The camera cuts to Vince.
Vince: What? It’s dog eat dog out there. You should see what those PMCs are capable of under nanomachine suppression.
Back in the pub, Vince scoffs, looking at Rex incredulously.
Vince [Loudly]: Hey! You took that out of context, you dick!
The camera cuts to Sal.
Sal [Bitterly]: Do you honestly think that war is something we should be honourable about? Fuck that! Have you seen actual war, sunshine? It isn’t lollipops and rainbows. Children get beheaded, women get raped and shot, men get beaten to death, prisoners are taken. Fuck me, guys like Britain and America torture prisoners and kill civilians, so I think that me hiding behind my comrades isn’t exactly cowardly, especially when I do pop up occasionally and shoot at someone who is yelling “FOR OCELOT!” and charging at us while screaming wildly!
The camera cuts to Dave, grinning inanely at the camera while bare-chested.
Will [Screaming]: MY EYES!!!!
Dave: YOU LOVE IT! LOOK AT MY PECS!
Tavi: Wow, Dave, you work out?
Mother clears her throat loudly.
Dave: Not really. Look around us! [Ecstatically] IT’S WAR, BABY! THERE ARE NO RULES!--That just means we can’t fling gas at people or torture them in inhumane ways. We can still hook their balls up to a car battery--How long was Guantanamo Bay open? The United States can do it, but a bunch of United Nation-sanctioned mercenaries can’t?!
The camera cuts to Rex, strolling down Walker Street. In the background behind him, we can see Sal walking past him, a newspaper under his arm. He turns to the camera, grinning inanely before walking out of view.
Rex’s Voiceover: Yet, even with many of the comrades of ‘Reject Company’ despising their roles out here, there are divisions within the company, unlike many of the companies within this grand war machine. For some, they are bitter towards the war, bitter towards the governments and the people they fight for. The others? They simply do not take their job seriously.
Sal suddenly re-appears in view momentarily, frowning and wielding his newspaper like a club.
Sal [Angrily]: YOU SON OF A—
The camera cuts to Frank.
Frank: They have higher tolerance for drinking here, I FUCKING LOVE IT! Besides, I felt out of place down in the First Cavalry Division. Felt like I had to try too hard, y’know? Smile for the civvies, back straight, manners, don’t use forks to scratch your nutsack at the table, the usual.
Rex’s Voice: So, you enjoy it here?
Frank: HELL YEAH! Drinking, drinking and more drinking! The guys are cool, too.
The camera cuts to Ivan.
Ivan: About as dangerous as living here. So not very. It’s all about ze mind and ze mentality..Don’t vink about vat might happen..vink about vat WILL happen..ven I set up a mine, I know it’s going to blow someones legs off…I don’t vink of it blowing mine off..
The camera cuts to Vince.
Vince [Laughing]: HELL NO! I love it here! I put all my effort into work they give me here. At least here I can get a beer without being looked down upon by some snooty Commanding Officer. It’s relaxed here, it’s fun here, and it’s something I wouldn’t ruin. In fact, I sometimes believe I subconsciously made myself ruin those building projects—
The camera cuts to Billy.
Billy: Love it. In what other military could you spend most of the year sitting on your ass, drinking beer and shagging women instead of getting your brains blown out?! It’s genius! So I have marks on my record, So I have people who look down at me. Me? I don’t give a fucking fuckety fuck.
Rex’s Voice: Do you like it here?
Bill: For now, yeah! We drink, drink, drink and fight! Oh, we occasionally stop and eat as well. Mother sure knows how to take care of her mercenaries!
The camera cuts to Tavi.
Tavi: Still, I like it here, unlike Wolf. It’s a decent place. Good enough tourist spots, academies not too far away, and they do serve a decent drink around here. Nothing like getting fucking pissed after a long day.
The camera cuts to Karab.
Karab: I mean, come on: They make me the chef at a kebab shop despite being a Gurkha. They give me a shield. They drink, they don’t practice good hygiene and they’re the worst soldiers you would have the misfortune to come across…..I love it. It’s a breath of fresh air. Plus, it helps my sense of confidence since I do much better than them on the field of battle.
The camera cuts to Dean.
Dean : It’s infinitely better than picking up odd-jobs or errands within a tiny community. I mean, we’re still in a fucking warzone scorched into the earth where the slightest hiccup or error will kill you, and where most PMC’s would love to bathe in your blood, but it’s better than sitting at home. Besides, the pay’s good, the people are a decent laugh, and we get to nothing most of the time! It’s a fuckin’ dream!
Dean laughs loudly as the camera swiftly cuts to Rex, walking down Beale Street. In the background behind him, Jericho is busy tinkering with a fragmentation grenade, analyzing its nooks and crannies.
Rex: Even with that in mind, there appear to be divisions, cracks within the armor as rivalries and even what many could see as hatred forms between the comrades. Even with this in mind, could it be that the hatred is little more than friendly rivalry? Or does animosity grow deep within the company, threatening to tear it apart? No matter how I sliced it, there was always one thing in common with a lot of them.
In the background, Phil runs over to Jericho with a baseball bat, swinging it and knocking the grenade straight out of Jericho’s hand. Both men turn, watching as the grenade explodes in the Square and Vince runs out, his beard on fire. The camera quickly cuts to Phil sitting in front of the wall.
Phil: I’d rather be here than with Special Forces. We’re a bunch of drunken, smoking, drug-taking bastards with guns. What’s to hate? Aside from Will.
Phil: Narcissist. Asshole. Wears a handlebar moustache. Stars in porno. Everyone hates him.
The camera quickly cuts to Mantis.
Mantis: They don’t respect the gun, some don’t even respect eachother. I mean, it’s not even a company, it’s basically the remnants of the worst that the military has to offer, banded together with some cheap glue. It’s ludicrous, especially when you look at the other companies the academies thrown out.
Dave [Incredulously]: THAT BITCH!
Mother [Sternly]: Dave. Sit down.
Dave curses loudly, sitting down as the camera cuts to Jericho, frowning.
Rex’s Voice: What about Will, Frank and Sal?
Jericho: Those guys? They just annoy me. Sals a dick, Will is just an arrogant douchebag, and Frank just shouldn’t be second in command of this unit. The man can barely count to ten without pausing for thought.
Sal [Dumbstruck]: OI! FUCK YOU!
Jericho [Laughing]: Hey! I only called you a dick!
Sal: …..Well, you did take aim at the others, so I forgive you.
Jericho [Bluntly]: Dick.
The camera cuts to Billy.
Billy: The only one I don’t like is Will.
Rex’s Voice: Seems to be a recurring theme amongst those we’ve interviewed.
Billy: He’s a bad seed. A little shit. I don’t like him one bit..He’s a spy, so what’s to say he’s not double-crossing? I don’t know..Something about him I can’t put my finger.
The camera cuts to Sal.
Sal: Well, for one I hate them because they’re all poor. It really is their fault, bunch of sponges..and two, I’m not the most combat-minded--Hey, I’m here to survive, dipshit, not make friends! If that means hiding behind my comrades, so be it!
In the pub, every mercenaries head turns to Sal who sits there, grinning innocently.
Sal [Nervously]: …Guys?
Several mercenaries throw roast potatoes at Sal as he cowers. Vince grabs a handful of mashed potatoes, slapping them onto Sal’s head. Back on the screen, the camera cuts to Bob.
Bob [Shrugging]: I like him, but he really shouldn’t be in a commanding role. Lynch? Yes. Sal? At a pinch. Frank? No. Plenty of others who I would risk my life for..Just not the drunken Arizona state idiot.
The camera cuts to Bill.
Bill: Oh yeah! [Under his breath] Except Will. I hate him--We’re on the front line. When the shit goes down in the Suez, we’ll be there. We want to live for the moment, cause we’re going to get fucked up when we go down there. We live for the moment, but Will? He’s a giant asshole. A giant, groomed asshole who needs a fucking slap!--All he does is preen himself, eat and have sex. He’s basically a cat, except less useful.
The camera cuts to Courtney.
Courtney: You go out into battle, you don’t want your gun jamming. I make sure that never happens. Then again, with the people I’m working with, I’m surprised I don’t see more of them picking their noses with barrels.
Courtney [Getting to her feet]: Out of context! Fuck you!
Mother: Sit down, Miss Inuko.
Courtney: Mother, that’s bullshit! I don’t hate anyone, I just don’t rate their intelligence!
Mother [Sternly]: SIT DOWN, MISS INUKO.
Courtney curses quietly, sitting down as the screen cuts to a still picture of Beale Street, the audio crackling.
Tavi’s Voice: Lighten up, Wolf! It isn’t THAT bad around here, is it?
Wolf’s Voice: I’d rather be stuck in hell with the fires of eternal pain roasting my flesh. Although I do find the occasional enjoyment in taunting them, and I do occasionally enjoy the feeling of a female tongue in my mouth.
The entire room of mercenaries looks taken aback, exchanging looks before slowly turning their heads to Courtney and Tavi. Courtney ducks down, pointing at Tavi who turns dark red.
Tavi [Mumbling]: Al-alcohol was involved..
The screen cuts to Dave, who appears to be in mid-sentence.
Dave: --Frank’s an asshole—
Rex’s Voice: Why?
Dave [Spitting slightly]: Because he’s a fucking drunken monkey is why!! This close to Christmas, and the bastard is still having us run around and unload weaponry and watch the skies! He’s a fucking conspiracy nut! He thinks flying saucers and shit like that exists--He’s not even house-trained either. Not a lot of people like him. In fact, I’m sure that the people who do like him only like him for his novelty value.
Rex’s Voice: Wow, Frank really does catch a lot of flak—
Dave [Scoffing]: Bastard deserves it, really. I can think of a lot of other people who’d make more competent leaders--When the man’s not an emotional wreck, he’s drinking. When he’s not drinking, he’s an emotional wreck. See? He is the human equivalent of an ouroborus!
The camera cuts to Karab, edited so that he’s introduced mid-sentence.
Karab: ….but I can’t stand Will.
Rex’s Voice: Had a feeling you’d say that. That’s our second recurring theme.
Karab: What’s the first?
Rex’s Voice: People hating Frank.
Karab [Shrugging and chuckling sadly]: ….I don’t hate Frank. He’s like a big dumb puppy.—but no matter how much you slap him on the nose, he simply does not learn.
The camera cuts to Dean.
Dean: Please, I can’t even bear Frank--
Rex’s Voice: We know. We’ve heard from several mercenaries that they cannot bear Frank.
Dean [Straight-faced]: Oh.
Rex’s Voice: Yeah.
Dean: Well…I can’t bear Will.
The camera cuts to Rex, walking past the Lamb and Flag. Dick is behind him on the sidewalk with a broom, sweeping blood and teeth off the pavement.
Rex: So what is it that keeps this company alive? It can hardly be skill, so what does Reject Company that others do not? In previous documentaries in my series, we covered everyone from Reaper Company to Lion Company, and each one brought a special skill to the table: Demolitions, vehicular maintenance, flying prowess, field medics, so what makes ‘Reject Company’ special? Well, would you believe it, despite what we have seen: Camaraderie. Amongst most, but not all, of the mercenaries, when interviewed, they seemed to hold a respect for many of their comrades.
The camera snaps to Phil sitting blankly in front of the camera before smirking.
Phil: Each of these guys are awesome in their own way, even the girls are cool too. Not too serious, and living each day like its their last. We’ve got some fucking great leadership too. When the shit hits the fan, I don’t want anyone but Lynch leading us.
The camera cuts to Frank.
Frank: I’m sure the taunting calls of rummy, drunken bastard and stupid fuck are just teases. They’re all cool guys, really. Lynch is a great leader, except he needs to loosen up a bit. I think they all bring something to the table, which is going to help a hell of a lot when Ocelot rolls in. We’ve got tank commanders, demolition experts, engineers, snipers, pilots…Bit of everything, really, and that’s what makes us the best damn company in the Corps!
Rex’s Voice: Some think otherwise..
Frank: Pfff..Just because we drink, bathe irregularly and actually have fun doesn’t mean we’re completely incompetent. We’re just a bunch of fun-loving mercs! When the shit hits the fan, we work well as a team, and each one of us will fulfil our role perfectly. Even if some of them are pessimistic, and would rather tear off their balls than take orders from me, they still fulfil their roles well.
The camera cuts to Jericho.
Rex’s Voice: Are you friendly with your comrades?
Jericho: Yeah, their alright. Don’t mind them. I get on better with Ivan, Phil and Steve then the others, mainly because I know they’d probably throw themselves under a tank to save me. I don’t mind the others.
The camera cuts to Ivan.
Ivan: I’m just not ze type to spill my guts. I like a vew people here..like Vil, Jevicho, Steve, Tavi, Courtney…
The camera cuts to Billy.
Billy: People like me, what can I say? I don’t bitch, I don’t moan, I just hurt people. I like everyone here too, mainly Vince. Vince is quite a cool guy. Bills good for a laugh too. Sals a decent laugh if you can look past him being a snobby cunt.
The camera cuts to Bob.
Rex’s Voice: I take it you get on with the others relatively well?
In the pub, Bob clears his throat, aware that his quote, like many others, had been taken out of context. On the screen, the camera cuts to Bill.
Rex’s Voice: What about the personal command here? People like Frank and Lynch?
Bill: Like ‘em both. Both good men.
Rex’s Voice: Like the others?
Bill: Oh yeah! --
Rex: --You get on with everyone else?
Bill: Indeed I do. Can’t say there’s anyone else I hate. They’re all fine soldiers. Sure, they’ve been tossed aside by the army, but who hasn’t? I’ve been through training with every single one of these guys..Places like Bolivia, Somalia, Chechnya, The Balkans, Sweden, North Korea, wherever shit has went down thanks to Ocelot moving his PMCs in..We’ve been there, and every single time, these guys have done the job well. Fuck, those were just training missions!
The camera cuts to Steve.
Rex’s Voice: Alright, Steven Barrett, do you like working in the company?
Rex’s Voice: Why?
Steve: ..They’re nice! And, I mean, they’re just…uhh..misunderstood! We’re the same here!....Misunderstood!....Friends!
In the pub, Jericho, Ivan and Phil turn their heads to Steve.
Jericho [Surprised]: Barrett?
On the screen, the camera cuts to Jon.
Jon [Mumbling]: Ihate you, I like the rest of these assholes.
The camera cuts to a still shot of Beale Street, static-ridden audio once more playing.
Tavi’s Voice [Quickly]: Absolutely not. Friends, good friends, great friends!
The camera cuts to Robbie.
Robbie: I am acquainted with the others, but more closely so with my crew. After all, I do depend on them. And Dave is a part of my crew, hence: I like him.
The camera cuts to Dave.
Rex’s Voice: What about Lynch?
Dave: No complaints from me. Guys got skills.
Rex’s Voice: Sal?
Dave [Shrugging]: I’d rather have Charlie Brown with me on the frontline than Sal..but he does have his occasional moment.
Rex’s Voice: Phil?
Dave: He’s alright. I’m just waiting for the day when he’ll snap and start talking to a sockpuppet, though.
Rex’s Voice: Anyone else you like? Mother Mercenary?
Dave: She’s a pip. Gotta love her. Who doesn’t love big ol’ women?
Rex’s Voice: …..No comment.
Dave [Chuckling]: What? She’s tough, and she’s got meat on them bones! I wouldn’t go for her, but she’s a pip. I mean, I’d hedge a bet that no-one else could lead us in whopping our bollocks into Liquid Ocelot’s face like she can. The woman can make the United Nations piss themselves.
Rex’s Voice: What about you and Robbie? You help crew the U-boat, apparently.
Dave: That I do. Robbie’s a good lad. A few hotdogs short of a picnic, but he’s alright.
Back in the pub, Dave slides down in his seat as Mother Mercenary glares at him.
Dave [Mumbling]: Remind me to kill Rex..
Johan [Chuckling]: Man, this shit is great!
The camera cuts to Karab.
Rex’s Voice: Do you like anyone here?
Karab: Actually, all of them are charming in a sick sort of way. Dean and Samuel are great guys, though, and Lynch is a leader who is second-to-none
The camera cuts to Dean.
Dean: Karab! He’s a great little guy. Weird, but lovable….Uhh…Jericho! Jerry’s a good laugh, and so are Ivan, Phil and Steve! Billy and Vince are great guys, so are Dick, Maurice and Moe….and Bob’s alright. A bit depressing, but alright. See? I like people here. I’m liked by people too!
Rex’s Voice: ….Alright.
Dean [Inanely]: YES! YES I AM! THEY LIKE ME!!
Rex’s Voice: But you’re tight with these people?
Dean [Clearing his throat]: Yes, we get on well.
The camera cuts to Rex walking past the Chop Shop where Stoofer is sitting on the sidewalk with a bottle of Sarsaparilla. Bobby walks beside him, patting him on the shoulder and nodding at the camera before sitting next to him.
Rex’s Voiceover: Yet it isn’t just words. One thing I learnt during my time in the shadows of Beale and Walker Street, the two streets that house these mercenaries as they struggle, I learnt that the camaraderie and esprit de corps runs deep through their veins. Their may be divisions in ranks, but the experiences I have had of the mercenaries here tell me that it is friendly competition, friendly hatred. Just see for yourself..
The camera immediately cuts to a grainer, shakier footage. The camera zooms in on Frank and Mantis, with Mantis whispering something into Frank’s ear as he smiles. The camera cuts to shaky footage of outside the Lamb and Flag at night, with Dean clutching a busted nose, his arms over the shoulders of Phil and Sal who carefully sit him down.
Phil: You alright, man?
Dean: Never been better!
Sal’s Voice: Let’s get back in there and kick some ass!
Jericho runs through the door.
Jericho [Concerned]: Dean, mate, you alright?
Dean [Pulling himself to his feet]: …I’ll hold down the little one, the rest of you get ready to stomp him.
All four men rush back into the Lamb and Flag. The shaky camera feed cuts to outside the Kebaborama, where Karab is busy sweeping off the steps as Dean, bare-chested and on a metal ladder, paints the sign. The camera twists to the left where, down the street, Dick is seen leaning out of the doors, giving a shrill whistle.
Dick [Calling out]: OI! DICKS!
Dick: NEED A DRINK!?!?
Dean: IN A MOMENT!!!
Dick ducks back into the Lamb and Flag before the camera returns to Karab and Dean who are now visibly grinning. The camera then cuts to inside the Lamb and Flag at night, the audio overcome with the shrieking tune of Caramelldansen. The camera pans towards Johan and Mustafa, who are chuckling and rolling their eyes while downing tequila shots, before panning towards Dean walking out the bar.
Jericho [Calling out from off camera]: Slumber party at kebab mans place!
The camera focuses, panning as Jericho, Samuel, Karab, Ivan and Phil walk out of the pub, following Dean. They are followed by Bill, Billy, Courtney and Tavi. The camera then cuts to inside the Lamb and Flag in the morning, where Maurice is busy polishing the table. Moe taps Maurice’s shin, and Maurice instinctively squats down, grabbing Moe’s legs and lifting him up. Moe raises his arm, polishing the underside of the light tubes before Maurice sets him down. The camera feed pans to the door as Johan, Bobby, Mustafa, That Random Guy, That Hispanic Guy, Stoofer and That Other Random Guy enter, their boiler suits zipped down their bodies and sweat flowing from their foreheads.
That Hispanic Guy: Drink?
The camera pans to Dick behind the door, who grabs a few glasses.
Dick: A few on the house, lads. This ones on me.
That Hispanic Guy walks over to the bar, grabbing Dick’s head, pulling it forward and kissing his forehead.
That Hispanic Guy: Gracias compadre.
The camera feed, even shakier than usual, cuts into the Half Moon at night where a violent brawl is taking place. Mustafa grabs Jericho, throwing him over the bar before Johan runs past him, patting his chest and leaping over the bar onto Jericho.
That Random Guy’s Voice [Off Camera]: Big man! Behind you!
That Random Guy sprints forward, grasping Mustafa’s shoulder and leaping forward, diving into Phil and Ivan and sending all three of them down. The camera, now static and on its side, cuts to later footage with the fight finishing. Sal delivers a few kidney shots to Bill before headbutting him, sending him stumbling to the ground before stumbling backwards himself into a sitting position. Bill laughs, spitting up a glob of blood.
Bill [Tired]: …Nice fucking shot..
Sal [Groaning]: You too….fuck, your skulls hard!
Billy stumbles into view, his arm around Wolf’s shoulder. Wolf appears to be bloodied and cut, with Billy wearing a pair of brass knuckles on his visible hand, but Wolf carefully sets Billy down off-camera.
Wolf’s Voice [Off camera]: Are you alright?
Billy’s Voice [Off camera]: Goddamn..
Wolf’s Voice [Off camera]: C’mon..lay down.
A goat wanders into view as a 1928 Cadillac Sedan careens violently through the wall of the Half Moon, smashing the brick wall into pieces as it remains there, the bonnet crumpled. The camera barely picks up Phil, asleep on the wheel. A shirtless Jericho, laying on the bar, looks over at the Cadillac, chuckling quietly.
The camera, now shaking once more, cuts to footage of Bill in Beale-Walker Square, tending a barbecue which is little more than an iron grill over an empty, cleaned oil drum. Around him are Sal, Dick, Moe, Maurice Billy, Dean, Karab, Will, Phil, Jericho, Ivan, Courtney, Tavi and Lynch, each one holding pints of beer.
Billy [Laughing]: Nothing like a beer and a burger, eh?
Lynch: Good weather for it. Damn good weather for it.
Dean: This is what I love about us: The ability to just not give an absolute fuck no matter what!
A small murmur of agreement rolls across the group as the camera cuts one final time to inside the Dog and Handgun, during the males night out with Dave mooning through the doors as the others laugh loudly.
Rex’s Voiceover: Ladies and Gentlemen, when you eat your Christmas lunch today, think of ‘Reject Company’, the company that is a jack of all trades. It may not have one large skill set, it may be a mixture of rejects from armed forces, it may be filled with drunken bums and psychotic soldiers the likes of whom would never see service in a normal armed force, but it has one thing: One thing that companies from Alpha to Reaper to Lion don’t have: It has camaraderie.
The camera cuts to Jericho dancing on the stage with a brunette stripper, her breasts pixellated before panning over to Sal, Billy and Vince who begin to dance on the bar.
Rex’s Voiceover: Even when they appear to hate eachother, it is their brutal acceptance of their differences that unites them stronger than any other company. That, my friends, will lead this company into what will surely be liberation from Ocelot and the Patriots.
The camera pans to Lynch, hands on his hips, grinning as he looks around at his mercenaries.
Rex’s Voiceover: When you are united as one, there is nothing that cannot break you. In this humble documentary makers opinion, the Reject Company, when a united force, could be as dangerous and as dynamic as the Ghosts, the Reapers, the Lions or the Greaves. This is Rex Houghton, thank you.
Rex turns the camera around, highlighting his face while behind him, Johnny and Tim dance. Rex’s face gives a grin as the scene fades.
The mercenaries look around at eachother, relatively silent as Mother continues to watch the screen carefully. The mercenaries look around at their comrades, not truly realising just how much they took care of the other, even through the competitiveness and the hatred of their peers. Frank is clearly shaken, on the verge of the tears, while Will, Jericho and Sal have been rendered utterly shocked. The others seem to be dumbstruck, unable to do anything but to look around thankfully at their companions.
Mother Mercenary looks up, the corners of her mouth twitching. Despite being unable to give a true smile, her mouth contorts into a sort of twisted smile, giving a small nod.
Mother [Happily]: ……It is satisfactory.
The entire pub explodes into raucuous cheers. Mercenaries turn to eachother, hugging eachother wildly as Lynch gets to his feet, turning around and applauding all of them. Mother gives a polite clap of her hands while Father nods at all them, pumping his fists.
Lynch [Cupping his hands around his mouth]: NOW LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS!!
Another explosive cheer goes up as mercenaries start scrambling for the food. Dean puts an arm around Samuel, patting his back, while Billy and Sal hug Vince.
Vince: Thanks guys..
Billy [Quietly]: I still think you’re disgusting…but you’re lovable, so I’ll forgive you.
Phil puts his arms around Jericho and Ivan, only for Steve to leap out his seat and dive across all three of them.
Jericho [Surprised]: WOAH! CALM DOWN!
Steve [Inanely]: I LOVE YOU GUYS!! LOVEYOULOVEYOULOVEYOU!!
Dave and Robbie hug, patting eachother on the back. Robbie turns to Johan, who hugs him tightly.
Robbie [Strained]: Woah! Down, Godzilla! Down!
Robbie coughs loudly, patting his chest as Johan let’s go of him as Mustafa pats him on the back. Dave turns to Will, who narrows his eyes.
Will: Try it and—
Dave [Grinning]: FEEL THE LOVE, COCKSUCKER!!!
Dave hugs Will tightly, as does Frank.
Will [Disgusted]: ..Damned Christmas..
Lynch raises his glass of beer, nodding at them all.
Lynch: To us!
Each and every mercenary stops their jovial attitude, and grabs their glasses, lifting them to the sky.
Mercenaries [Roaring]: TO US!!
A bustle of cheerful chatter and cheering roars through the Lamb and Flag as Lynch nods, unable to contain the grin spreading across his face. He looks at Mother, who looks back at him, giving the slightest of nods and raising her glass.
Mother [Calmly]: To all of you.
Lynch gives a thankful nod, setting his glass down and looking around at his mercenaries.
*Outskirts of Cairo*
As the mercenaries begin to celebrate Christmas as only they can, a very different story is taking place on the outskirts of Cairo, which is moving along with business as usual. A large box lorry, with the words “Dead Sea Springs Bottled Water” painted on the side above a graphic of the Dead Sea itself, is parked on the road out of Cairo, due to head through the Romani Desert to an unknown location. The driver has parked the lorry as two PMC’s, carrying Mk. 23 Assault Rifles and with their equipment marked as “Praying Mantis”, approach the side of the lorry. The first PMC raps on the door, and the driver unrolls the window.
Driver: What can I do for you guys?
PMC One [Coldly]: Step out of the lorry.
The driver opens the door as the PMC’s step back, allowing him to climb out and hop onto the tarmac, pulling his shemagh covering his face tighter over his head as a gust of wind blows sand across the road.
Driver: What’s wrong?
PMC One: Is this cargo heading for Beale and Walker Street?
Driver [Confused]: No…..why?
PMC One: We need that to change.
The PMC reaches into one pocket of his combat vest, pulling open a velcroed flap and pulling out a handful of two hundred Egyptian Pound notes, handing them to the driver. The driver looks around, taking the notes and slipping them into his pocket.
Driver [Nodding]: I will make sure it reaches Beale and Walker Street.
PMC One: We also need to..check the cargo.
The driver walks around the side of the lorry, motioning for the PMC’s to follow him. The PMC’s follow him around the side of the lorry as he grasps the back of the lorry, throwing open the sliding door to reveal twenty large wooden crates, standing vertical. The second PMC climbs into the back, grasping the top of one of the crates and pulling it off, reaching into the straw and pulling out a large water cooler tub, already pre-filled with water. The first PMC climbs into the back, walking over to his comrade.
PMC Two [Hesitantly]: ..Should I do it?
PMC One: Drug it. Now.
PMC Two [Hesitantly]: Are you sure? This shit will put the whole town into conniptions. It hasn’t even been tested--
PMC One [Coldly]: DO IT.
The first PMC nods and the second PMC reaches into his utility belt, pulling out a large syringe filled with a clear liquid. The second PMC turns the cooler upside down, pressing the syringe into the seal over the nozzle meant to be fitted into the water dispenser, pushing down the plunger and injecting the liquid as the scene fades.
A very happy holidays to every single one of you readers out there. Every single view inspires to write more and more. I am absolutely grateful to have achieved even so much as 500 views, never mind over 1,500. It is an absolute pleasure and an honor to know my Fanfiction is being read by so many people. It may not be prize worthy, but as long as it gives the reader the odd chuckle, then I have accomplished.
A very Happy Holidays to all of you, and all the best for the new year. Thank you all.
PS: Remember to visit http://z15.invisionfree.com/metalgearmercenaries/index.php for the latest news and updates!