Jack the Mac: Gun for Hire (Mercenary Included)
Jack the Mac vs. Drugs
By: Pedro ‘El Gato’ Cerda and Thomas Stultz
“Straight fetals, Bro!” Jack the Mac announced, slamming a fist into his open palm and smiling. Another mercenary in his team, Shamus, a tall man with short, reddish-blonde hair, freckles on his face covered by green, black, and brown camouflage paint, stared at him blankly.
“I have no idea what that means,” he stated, turning away.
Shrugging, Jack the Mac leaned back against the tree he crouched beside, glancing to the thick foliage of the Colombian jungle above. Around him, sitting on rocks, logs, and roots, the rest of his team rested. On the third day of their trek to locate a cocaine storehouse, none of the mercenaries held a jovial mood. Jack the Mac had taken it upon himself to cheer the atmosphere with a tale of a recent barroom brawl.
Unfortunately, his audience did not appear impressed by his recounting of how he had punched the loudmouth owner of the place in the stomach, leaving him curled on the ground, wheezing. He wondered if they might be irritated by how his act caused everyone in the place, both employees and patrons, to attack the mercenary group. Since they had emerged victorious, destroying the establishment entirely in the process thanks to some timely grenades from Jack the Mac, he figured all had experienced a good time. All except the dead people, that is. Since none of the mercenary team had died, it should not have been a problem.
“How much further do you think the place is?” the largest of the mercenaries questioned, scratching at his closely cropped, dark brown hair. Standing a few feet away from Jack the Mac, he towered over his crouching compatriots, muscles straining the fabric of his camouflage T-shirt and BDU pants. His size attributed to his nickname, Eclipse.
“We’re nearly there,” the man sitting furthest from Jack the Mac responded. A thinner man with similar hair yet less height, a hood obscured most of his facial features. Due to his exceptional stealth, they referred to him as Ninja.
“Good,” Eclipse responded. “Because I gotta take a piss, and I’m saving it up to piss all over the ruins of the warehouse!”
“You always have to take a piss,” the man with dark, curly hair sitting furthest from the group commented. The stoutest of them all, they called him Mongo. “Just piss now and I’m sure you’ll be ready to piss later.”
“Shut up,” Eclipse stated. “Unless you want me to piss all over you.”
“Hey!” Mongo shot back. “You can’t do that! I’m your superior!”
Eclipse reached down to unzip his pants, Mongo putting up his hands, waving them in front of his face. “Okay, okay! Forget I said anything!”
Nodding, a smirk on his face, Eclipse picked up his heavy machine gun. “Damn straight, bitch. Let’s go.”
He took a few steps, the rest of the group standing. They had not gone far before Shamus held up a hand to halt them. Each one crouched low, weapons held ready. At the rear of the formation, only Jack the Mac remained standing, attempting to peek ahead at whatever caused them to pause their advance.
“We forgot something,” Shamus commented.
“Damn it!” Ninja spat out. “You’re right! We did forget it!”
“What?!” Jack the Mac exclaimed. “What did we forget? What is it?!”
“We forgot… uh… our kerosene,” Shamus stated.
“Kerosene?” Jack the Mac repeated. “I didn’t even know we had kerosene with us. What do we need it for?”
“For… the lamps… of course,” Ninja revealed.
“Lamps?” Jack the Mac questioned. “Why do we need lamps when we have flashlights?”
“Always need back-ups,” Shamus answered. “It’s standard procedure. What if our flashlights go dead? Plus… we need it to help us blow stuff up.”
“That’s right!” Jack the Mac exclaimed. “We need to go back and get it right away!”
“Can we trust that task to you?” Ninja asked. “Can you retrieve all of the kerosene and meet us back here as quickly as possible?”
“No problem!” Jack the Mac responded. “I’ll be back before you realize I’m gone.”
“Or we’ll be gone long before you get back…” Shamus muttered under his breath.
“What was that?” Jack the Mac said, pausing, turning back to the mercenary group.
“I said hurry up,” Shamus stated.
“Oh, right.” Jack the Mac dashed into the jungle.
It took him nearly an hour to return to the spot they had camped the night before. He thoroughly searched the clearing, not finding any trace of kerosene. Deciding bandits must have stolen it all, he cursed.
Lamenting the possible loss of explosions, he jogged back into the jungle. Mind occupied with other methods of destruction with the items still available to him, he eventually realized that he did not recognize the area he traversed. Halting, he glanced around the tangled vegetation.
“Damn it!” he exclaimed. He had inadvertently veered from the path that would return him to the rest of the mercenaries. It meant he would have to meet up with them at the cocaine storehouse. Now he would have to find the place on his own though.
Scratching at his chin, he thought of the best method to figure out where such a place would be. One way to find something searched for in the jungle came from tracking, like how hunters tracked wild animals. He only had to track the cocaine and he would find the warehouse. To do so, he needed to know something about cocaine.
He understood that a lot of people liked cocaine. Having never tried it himself, he needed to determine what about cocaine made people desire it. With it usually being ingested through the nose, he figured it smelled great. People enjoyed things that smelled good, and cocaine smelled so good that they snorted it up their nostrils and it made them feel wonderful. The answer came to him. Just like a bloodhound on the trail of a criminal, he would track the cocaine by scent. Unfortunately for his criminal, something far worse than a bloodhound hunted it. Jack the Mac was on the trail.
Actually, he was not on the trail yet. First, he would have to locate a trace of the scent. Figuring fate led him to his present location, he continued on the route he had followed before stopping, certain that opportunity would present itself.
His jungle journey progressed, the foliage thickening until he had to take out his machete and hack his way onward. Nearing the point where hope gradually drifted to concern for missing all the action, he escaped the jungle’s grasp to find himself on the edge of a ravine. He peered down to a river a few dozen feet across situated almost twenty feet below, hugging the base of the cliff he stood atop. On the opposite bank, he spotted a large building. Delivery trucks rested in numerous locations around it, some driving away on a paved road following the river’s path, others coming in on the same path. Watching the scene, he noticed a sudden shift in the wind.
A sweet scent reached his nose, pleasantly floral. At that point, he recognized a large rose painted on the gray building’s side and determined it an excellent emblem to signify cocaine. A smile crossed his lips and he yanked his assault rifle from his back.
“I bet this would go a lot smoother if I had the kerosene,” he commented to himself. With a shrug, he jumped off the edge.
Splashing into the water, he briefly submerged, sinking. His feet hit the riverbed and he pushed himself up. Breaking through the surface, he splashed over to land. He climbed out, gun held ready, scanning for enemies.
Not spotting any commotion yet, he decided he had beaten his compatriots to the scene. Grinning, he thought about how surprised they would all be when he took care of the mission entirely by himself. He allowed himself a chuckle, advancing.
Scanning for traps, a security system, guards, or whatever else might impede his progress, he did not come across anything. He concluded they must not have expected an assault from the river. It would prove their misfortune.
He neared the parking lot, crouching low. Even with such stealthy skills, a couple of workers in white overalls, rose patches pinned to their chests, noticed him. They pointed, walking his direction. The time for action had arrived.
Since neither of the individuals appeared armed, or at least did not have guns ready, Jack the Mac decided to deal with them silently. Charging forward, he cracked the stock of his rifle into the face of one, dropping him. The other yelped in surprise, turning to run.
Not about to allow the villain to raise the alarm, Jack the Mac hurled a grenade at him. It hit off the back of the man’s head, sending him skidding face down across the ground. Bouncing away, the grenade rolled under one of the trucks. A few seconds later, it exploded, sending a jet of flame into the sky. Two other trucks parked close by joined the blaze, sending shrapnel in all directions, flaming tires skipping across the river.
More people dressed like the first two he encountered appeared, screaming and running. Laughing, Jack the Mac went around the inferno to the other side of the structure. There he located the fuel depot for the delivery trucks. Sometimes, it amazed him how his superior mercenary skills made things so easy.
With the consideration that such a special explosion deserved to be initiated by a special item, Jack the Mac reached into his pack, yanking free his RG-6 grenade launcher loaded with incendiary rounds. Placing some more distance between himself and his target, he pulled the trigger twice.
Watching the shots arc through the air, he nodded approval when they hit the fuel tanks, giggled at the bright orange blooms they summoned. The force of the explosion hit him, tossing him onto his back. Heat scorched away the stubble on his face, along with his eyebrows. Staring to the sky, he noticed burning red petals falling from the sky.
Ears ringing, he stood. With the entire storehouse engulfed by fire, he puffed out his chest, proud to have accomplished the task so thoroughly. He then noticed the surrounding jungle burning as well.
Wanting to wait around to witness the reactions of the rest of his team, he decided not losing his escape route took priority. Hurrying into the jungle, ash descending around him, he felt good, believing he had made a difference in the world. Not bad for a guy without any kerosene.