Deadlands Noir Extinct in the Big Easy
Ryan - Nickie Rawlins
A car-obsessed tinkerer that loves to give
1) The highest point of my character’s life was when he got his baby up for the first time – a 1922 Ford Lincoln. Some rich kid ran over a log and, in a fit of frustration, sold it to me for a song so he could rent a room to shack up with the bird he’d picked up. By the time he thought better of it, I’d hauled it away and was never to see that fool again!
2) I’d been running odds jobs to keep my baby in shiny parts and gas. I needed some sturdier rims for a new kind of tire I wanted to try out when every single regular I could go to for work up and told me not to call them – they’d call me. I had to choose between milk and bread for me, or oil and gas for Baby. I lost ten pounds.
3) I was desperate, running drain cleaner out of Mileaux County that was packaged as moonshine, and had a couple cops on my trail when my engine started overheating. I’d been making its last oil change last as long as I could and here Baby was dying! It’d rained heavy the last few nights, and thank whatever higher power was working that night some rainwater had collected into pools – I ran through a few, kept Baby’s temperature low enough I could lose the fuzz. Minute I got her back to my garage I wanted to take care of her like never before, but I didn’t have an oil rag, much less fresh fluids for her. I walked for three weeks saving up after that.
4) Didn’t see my paw much, despite living in the same house. We both worked so hard keeping that place and Momma safe that we just weren’t around. We didn’t know she was working just as hard as us – the old lady was using our gear while we were out to make ammo to sell on the down-low – weren’t much money, but enough so she could put butter on our toast in the morning. We found out when we got asked about what went into her gunpowder. Seems she had her own mix that people liked. Demons didn’t – Dad came home one day to find one shredding the barn to get at her. By the time I got around, they’d trashed the thing pretty good, but it was taking its time playing with their bodies. I didn’t take my time finishing their work.
5) I was picking up new gigs slowly – I had to build back all the trust that time’d lost. One time the brewer insisted on sending his own guy – a Spaniard or something. We were loading up the car and I was making small talk, trying to be all social-like. Mention I’d never been to Europe but would love to go if I ever make it big. Don’t know why I picked it, but I suggested Portugal. This guy, and I just then notice he’s got tattoos all over hisself, starts telling me about how he lost his family, his boat, just about his sanity to a buncha Hellhounds. I’da shut up forever then except he asks me how my parents feel about me doing work that’s illegal. I tell him just where my parents are and how they got there, next thing I know it’s 5am, we’re waiting the cops out under a bridge, and making up filthy fairy tales. —From Jim’s Story, Part IV
6) Every now and then, someone’ll offer me an honest job. A new pastor was gonna be in town soon, and he wanted to polish up his church’s stained glass something fine. The caretaker needed something that could reach up that high and not break something, and for some reason thought of me. Took me better part of a day, but I got to church with something I was plum proud of. By the time I got there, so was the new preacher, and he had a mean case of the shakes. Communion wine wasn’t gonna calm him down, so I broke open a spare bottle I keep in the trunk in case I need a bit of extra juice for Baby. The father took a swig so big I thought he’d belch fire, but instead he sobered up. He wouldn’t tell us what he saw, but if a fifth of moonshine’s what it took to take the edge off, I never want to see it. —From (John’s) Father Ryan’s Story