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Act 6, Concluded: Tyke of the Orphan Pipes
© 2023 James LaFond
Dusk, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
They ran hard like lads. Then it occurred to Tyke that they were rightful Mobhounds, bold Bigs and Spry Twigs—and he hissed, just like that, as if he were the boss, “Psst, sell it, mates. Sell it.”
He then turned and hurled one of his darts, fine iron darts, good and oiled and, rather than feathered with feathers, fitted with clamped tin feathers that glimmered in the vary-lit murk of the alley depths. That dart sailed right for that open visor. As if trusting Tyke’s aim more than he did, the gladiator shut his visor, worked in steely tartan pattern. That dart sparked upon it and then stuck, canted cross-corner [1] and decorating that steely mask.
The pack had slowed, getting his drift that the intruder was moving too slow to plunge headlong into the ambuscade. They now walked backwards, picking up the bricks intelligently spaced for such a defense and began hurling them.
A brick bounced off of the armored head of that limping Sandman and its thrower, Joey Pipes barked, “Take that, Gimp of a sand turd!”
They laughed.
The Sandman limped, pulling out the dart as Tyke let fly another right at his cods!
That dart hit the big bulging spot and stuck as if in a Sergeant of Lictor’s saddle.
“What, even an armored prick!” observed Brash Pipe, their most limber Big.
They yet walked back, two more bricks lifted and hefted on big shoulders by Wire Pipe and Grog Pipe, both good and true Bigs.
Sandman stopped, an easy mark, pulling the prick dart out with his manica hand what had the walking stick in it.
They heaved those bricks and the Sandman surprised them with a one handed cast of the pipe, not like a spear, but tumble-wise like an ax, cross-corner, whirling like brains ready to hit the drain.
The bricks hit one in his vest-covered gut, having no effect and the other on his armored left shoulder, having less.
Tyke ducked, above and behind Grog’s face smashed in like bread pudding, the rest breaking at a run.
The Sandman broke into a run as well as Brash Pipe looked down at that great steel pipe and—ate a dart through his face that sent an eye to dangle as he mewed and mumbled listing off drunkenly.
Tyke threw wildly and ducked low at a dodge as another dart, thrown with mechanical like force like from a crossbow, sunk between Wire Pipe’s shoulder blades and sent him to the floor with a godawful wheeze.
Like that, their three sharpest Bigs, other then Check, were down with the Devil.
They dodged around the corner into Horseshoe Alley and set-to. Here, at the head of this short alley was a steam pipe vent lever that a boilermaker had installed for them, taping into the main line far above off the roof, in return for a go at all 12 of the whores at the Well. Joey Pipe and Check manned that on their knees.
Behind them stood Able Twig and Bony Twig, each with a braining pipe and a brick.
Tyke was behind them both.
Right before the turn they heard Sandman pick up that pipe with a long meaningful drag.
They then heard the riot stick knock the alley floor with that ironwood on concrete knock that had once echoed through New York as through the alleys of Ireland when the Scots came to put down the ready mobs.
“Dastard-ass Scott, Sandman!” sounded the angry voice of Tyke, who fancied himself Irish, though none could know for certain among his discarded kind.
Just around the corner, barely a step before his face was scorched by steam, the Sandman stopped and spoke, “Drop ye bricks en pipes en duck walk out all nice like en yer littles ‘ill have some mobhounds what to thieve their vittles.”
Check snarled, “Awe fawk off S—”
The steel pipe, winged around the corner with a flash of that brassy manica, thrown from the left hand side arm, taking out Check’s teeth and knocking Joey piss for broke. The big mug was crafty, having sounded out their level before throwing blind around that corner.
The man walked around the corner bold as can be, knobby headed hawthorn riot stick on his right shoulder. Two bricks let loose, one clanging off that off-dented war hat and one breaking on that linen vest of spiked stars on a field of black. The stick came down off that shoulder so wide that it and its opposite almost touched each side of this more narrow alley.
Able went down with a broke shoulder in a wan heap.
Stunned and presenting his pipe like a gift, Bony was simply grabbed by the brassy hand and tossed behind the intruder, an arm breaking against the wall as he whined and crumbled utterly forlorn.
Tyke had been forgetful of his darts holding the packet with the two remaining in his left hand and his pointy steel pipe drawn in his right. There was naught to do but break and run for the Well of Bawdy Sprites ahead of this shambling Sandman.
As he did so he heard the pipe slide up, knowing he had ten spaces to get to the left turn into Bell Alley. Stopping and looking over his shoulder, he saw that the Sandman was not fixing to cut him down with a throw that could not have missed. Instead he shouldered that great pipe and switched the hawthorn rod to his left hand, leaned upon it and offered, “I’ll not back strike ye, Tyke.”
He walked backwards, a snarl of disdain coming to his lips, “Ye mighty fine should ye shamblin’ oaf o’ da sands.”
The man kept pace, leisurely limping, “Now, now, tyke, I left ye a few friends, indeed moved yer sassy soul up the very stairs o’ glory to boss of yer ken. Let’s call a truce?”
Tyke backed around the corner and then lit out like a dead Irishman sure as muck from Mohamed’s infernal stables that the Devil knew him to be dead. [2]
“Catch me if ye can, Sandman!”
Tyke ran, not wanting to taste that pipe, down the long, high alley between the cooler parts of the Iron Foundry and the Steam Works. Here the long pipes vented far above and the Mob of Pipes had never dared build their rickety world so near the Gate of Lictors, with whom they had no real truce and could be spied upon by all those who found the favor of the worldly dames above the Well of Whores.
-1. Cross-corner is mob slang for a shady play in the boxing ring or a slick shot in billiards, meaning diagonal.
-2. Britannic lore has it that Mohamed, close henchman of Satan, Prophet of their greatest enemy, The House of Islam, that rules most of the souls of the Non-Christian world, maintains a hideous dirty stable in Hell to be mucked for eternity by Irish rebels and mobsters, who, according to most civic and ecclesiastic authorities, good and well deserve the chore.
The Brawl of Pipes
spqr a novel
Storm of Bawdy Sprites
america the brutal
the year the world took the z-pill
barbarism versus civilization
honor among men
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