Well, the Doc’s impromptu surgery had some side effects; don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to still be here and be (mostly) myself, but there’s a few short circuits. My left hand’s not so great, got the shakes. My right seems to be warped into one of those claws that used to be on the kid’s prize games. Seems I used to be a fairly good shot – you have to be, out there; miss when some Raider has decided your face looks like his next Halloween mask, you’d have to have more lives than a nightstalker if you expect to see another sunrise – but not so much anymore. Doc offered me some chems, said they’d help with the pain and getting by steady hand back on target, but I turned him down. Ain’t for me; never touch the stuff. I’ve seen what it does to folks, and since I don’t fancy joining up with the leather and cowskulls crew or begging outside the Strip for some mook to cough up enough for another shot of Jet, I think I’ll keep the shaky hands. I’ll get it under control. Eventually.
After poking around town a bit more – and getting a “Howdy” from Gene Aut… I mean, Victor, and damn if he isn’t just as disturbing as some of the townsfolk said. I mean, I’m grateful he saw fit to dig me out and lend me a help, but he’s just way too friendly, if you ask me – I ran across a guy who calls himself Ringo. Seems he stirred up some trouble with some folks, and is hiding out, waiting till it dies down to make his escape.
Yeah, right. Raiders don’t really need a reason to cause trouble. They’re like magpies; they see somethin’ shiny, they just gotta have it. By hiding out here in Goodsprings, he’s made it awful sparkly to these types. Given that they showed me some hospitality, I can’t just leave them out here to fend for themselves; these raiders – call themselves Powder Gangers for their preference for dynamite and the mess it leaves behind – would tear them apart. While my hands ain’t quite right, and my noggin’s still got some thinking problems, my tongue’s still in working order… with a little bit of that snake-oil charm that used to work so well on the waitresses over at the Tops, I managed to rile up the townsfolk, get ’em good and excited about kicking a little Ganger ass.
Seems like the folk here had been just waiting for a chance to take out some aggression. Threw Ringo out into the street, hootin’ and hollerin’, ringing the dinnerbell, and those Gangers came just like a pack of coyotes. Didn’t end well for them. I hear it’s liable to get the rest of the gang riled at me, but the day I worry about my reputation with a bunch of escaped convicts who think it’s okay to fling dynamite at upstanding citizens is the day I wander into the Expanse and find a nice deep hole to fall in.
Having helped them out, the townsfolk were a little more agreeable to my questions, and finally one of ’em coughed up that he saw Benny and his guards heading down Primm way; turns out there’s a Mojave Express station there, too, so I can kill two birds with one stone if I shag out there. Maybe get some of that paperwork started for “Lost or Damaged Package(s).” I hear the NCR’s been poking around there, too; with any luck, they’ll have slowed up my would-be killers, give me a chance to catch up. When I do, Benny is going to be one sorry sumbitch, and all the cash in New Vegas ain’t gonna help him. Nothing personal.
One last note; as I was heading out of Goodsprings, I saw one of them old fridges sitting by the side of the road. Not exactly a newsflash – there’s crap scattered all over the place. Tends to happen when stuff goes “boom” and there’s nobody left to clean up the mess, you know – but I stopped to peek. Sometimes there’s still somethin’ worth eating in ’em, and idiots tend to leave valuables in places like that, little caches of sunshine for enterprising folk like myself.
Some fool had locked himself in the fridge. Given that there wasn’t any other rubble near by, best I could figure is maybe he thought he could survive one of the blasts by hiding in there; some of ’em were lead-lined back in the Pre-War days. Instead he got a first class ticket to Palookaville in the middle of nowhere. Wasn’t much of interest on him, but he did have a fairly spiffy hat. Given that I still had bandages wrapped around the back half of my head, I borrowed it. Might look a little less suspicious.
With that, I put Goodsprings to my back, and headed out. Next stop: Primm. Walking down the I15 isn’t bound to be a pleasure cruise – not with the heat, the Geckos, and the throbbing pulse at the back of my neck, but my old pal Ulysses used to tell me “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Said it was something his granddad used to tell him.
Well, I’m feeling a whole lot less weak these days. Courier Six out.