Wasn’t expecting to find Ol’ Benji after what happened in his shop, much less find the fart breathing. Of course, breathing might be a bit too generous for what he was doing when we found him behind that rusted out truck. It was really more like keep from choking on his insides after he’d been kicked so hard his outsides became his insides. The Doc and the Nerd managed to carry Benji into a nearby hut, despite my objections. After all, if the guy was still alive after being turned into street pizza, odds were good that whoever did it to him was still round the neighborhood.

Should’ve seen this coming, but nope, it was all about the cash. There’s no such thing as a free meal in this world, at least not without having to kill a lot of folks to get all the ingredients. When we went and found Ol’ Benji’s shop busted wide open without a soul around, that should’ve been my sign to split. But me being the optimist that I am, I stuck around in case there might be some other loot or maybe even a nice piece to replace Ol’ Blasty.

Nope, here I was playing guard dog to two do-gooders and a drunk too cheap to go off and drink herself stupid. Standing there over Benji and watching him choke out on the last bits of life stuck in his little body brought back bad memories. Couldn’t stand to keep standing over him, but couldn’t risk running out in the middle of the night, too much risk of running into something willing to rip my guts out and show them to me before they ate them. I was itching to just put the poor bastard out of his misery, but that’s when the Doc came in and went to work.

Never was the sort of person who could stand to watch someone getting fixed up. There’s something simple about killing, the way you just end some miserable bastard before he’s got a chance to do the same to you. The opposite just don’t make sense to me, to take somebody that somebody else thought fit to end and put them back together. Especially when you got to go elbow-deep in that somebody’s ribcage to keep them going. Then again, I never really cared much for putting puzzles together either, so that might have something to do with it.

I spent the whole time the Doc was working on Benji on watch for anything. It was a good thing Benji was out cold most of the time because I could already hear the cracking of his bones and his wheezing throat caked up with blood like a pudding can if you leave it open and it gets a crust all over it. After a good long while, I thought ol’ Benji gave up the ghost and got on the train to Deadtown, but the Doc told me that he was probably going to make it.

Sure enough, Ol’ Benji had to wake up and prove what I was hoping wasn’t true. Crawley wanted that gizmo that the Nerd wanted and from I knew about Crawley, we were in for a treat. Benji didn’t want nothing else from us and told us to get out of town before too late, but sure enough the Doc and the Nerd wanted to keep going. I didn’t have the firepower to try and take on a whole damn army so at this point, it didn’t make any sense for me to try and make a break for it on my own. At least with these guys around, I’d have somebody to watch my back. Unlike a lot of people out there in the world, I enjoy being able to sleep with both of my eyes closed.The guys left Benji the horse and some supplies so that he wouldn’t go starve to death before Crawley’s goons found him and finished what they started. We were off. Didn’t really want to ditch the horse, but I figured it was for the best, since it’s not like every group of four people wandering around had a horse for no good reason.

We didn’t get very far down the road before we went and got spotted by some of Crawley’s thugs. Thankfully, these must’ve been some real black sheep goat-humpers because they didn’t just shoot us all. Usually, when there’s a group of people you wanted dead, you sent a lot of guys with really big guns and a lot of bullets after them and this meant that either Crawley didn’t want us dead or we just happened to come across Crawley’s top-notch team of highly-trained idiots. I did what I usually did in this sort of situation and booked it. The Nerd, the Doc and the Drunk saw me doing it and followed suit, with varying levels of success. We managed to find a house nearby and ducked inside. First rule of staying alive in these sorts of situations, keep up your cardio training.

It wasn’t until we got into the house that I was able to introduce the group to rule number two. Crawley’s goons managed to keep pretty good pace with us down the road, but inside this house we had the advantage. The bigger of the two stepped forward with the same look on his face that I’d seen way too many times in my life. It was the look of somebody expecting to win without a fight because they were bigger, uglier and meaner than the person they were up against. Of course, that brings us around to rule number two: you aren’t going to win a fight unless you actually put one up, which is why I was surprised to see the Nerd pull his sword out and cut that asshole a new one.

It was over in a heartbeat, mostly because that guy didn’t have a heart anymore. The smaller goon dropped his gear and held his hands-up like it was going to win him an award. I think it’s about time I introduced him to the third rule of survival out here.

You don't surrender unless you're damn sure you're gonna get out of it alive.