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The Lowdown

“Okay here we go,” said Frank as he finish drawing three big rectangular boxes on the ground before the company. Each box was resting next to the other in a long line. At the front of the boxes was the train engine. At the back was the passenger cart which housed the armed guards and the artillery. Frank drew some littler boxes inside the train cars to depict the gold and ammunition they would be hauling. “This is a rough depiction of what the Bullet Train looks like on the inside and out. It has three cargo carts it pulls in all and one engine, roughly.”

“Yeah, I would say that that picture is pretty rough looking,” stated Paco as he nudged Jim in the side. “Right, Jimbo?”

Jim didn’t say anything. He was still trying to keep from throwing up.

“Shut up, Paco” demanded Frank as he took another hit from his flask. He pointed to the top of each cargo container on the back of the train engine and drew a little dome on the top of each one. His hand was getting a little shaky now from the alcohol. “At the top of each boxcar there’s a dome called a turret mount with a fifty-cal in side of it. The fifty-cal mounts only have a one hundred and sixty degree radius from their center. Meaning that there are spots here and here were bullets won’t be able to hit you.” Frank pointed to the sections that divided the bullet train with his stick. “It was made this way so that friendly fire could be avoided during conflict. If you, by any means, stray out of this safe zone you will get pelted with hot steel. I am I clear?”

“Will it be easy for the guns to hit us before we reach these safe zones?” asked Jim as he swallowed the massive knot forming in his throat. He was breathing a little faster than usual and cold sweat was beginning to form on his brow. Frank laughed at Jim’s anxiety. The kid looked like he was going to pass out.

“Not from far away Jim.” Frank drew a circle around the train in the dirt. He was trying to make this sound encouraging; he was failing horribly. “Once you enter what I like to call the dead zone, which is the inside of this circle here, your chances of getting hit by a stray bullet goes up fifty percent.” He pointed to the outside of the circle around the train. “Out here your chances of getting hit by a bullet are about twenty percent, so be careful even when approaching the train from faraway. It won’t be easy.”

“So the point of the game is to get to the safe areas near the Bullet Train where we won’t be hit, is that it Frank” stated Paco with a smile. He was getting too excited about the mission and acting a little crazy. Jim could see that Paco just wanted to jump into the battle and get it all over with. The guy had some kind of death wish.

“No, that’s not it.” said Frank as he suppressed a burp forming in his throat. He took another swig of whisky and pointed his stick at the Bullet Train again. He was feeling a bit tipsy now and his vision was acting funny. “Your objective is not to reach this area alone. Your objective is to board the train and disconnect the boxcars at these three places here, here, and here.” Frank pointed to the spaces in-between the dirt drawings. “You can do that with the tools we will be giving Mitch and his brother”

“That sounds reasonable enough,” said Mitch.

“Whatever you say,” said Frank. His hand was now shaking. “It’s not my butt on the line trying to cut through solid steel.”

“How are we going to attack this train then?” ask Jim.

“Three of you guys will come in from the right side over here, and provide a distraction, I am guessing,” said Frank as he pointed to the top of the drawing in the dirt. “Namely, Paco, Mitch and his brother here; Meanwhile Maenad and Jim will come in from the left side, right here and release the cargo boxes if they get the chance.” Frank pointed to the bottom of the drawing and staggered to the left a bit. “Your objective is to only break up the cars and then leave. Should you succeed, Mr. Smash will send in reinforcements to take care of the rest of the men onboard.” He eyeballed the outlaw with contempt. “No showing off!”

Frank looked up at the group and studied them carefully. They all looked like they were thinking really hard about the plan he had presented. They all looked crazy and out of their minds as well. “I just pray that they don’t know we are coming boys. If they know we are coming then we are screwed, screwed, screwed. Are there any questions about any of this stuff we have covered?”

“Yeah, I have one,” said Paco with a smile. “When are we going to learn how to use the horse things?” He smack his knee. “Woo wee!”

Frank rolled his eyes at this moronic gesture; it appeared the whisky wasn’t strong enough to drown out the fool yet. He wondered if the man even had a brain in his head. “Okay, if everyone will come this way we’ll start a quick training on the horses. Then it’s off with you all. I need to get this camp cleaned up.”

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