Image by Lord Foul
This month`s guest columnist is the critically acclaimed musician, Mark Knoffler
A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness
He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travellers came riding down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back
Then came the churches then came the schools
Then came the lawyers then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road
Then came the mines - then came the ore
Then there was the hard times then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river. . .
And my radio says tonight its gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
Theres six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow. . .
I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I got a right to go to work but theres no work here to be found
Yes and they say were gonna have to pay whats owed
Were gonna have to reap from some seed thats been sowed
And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the telegraph road
You know Id sooner forget but I remember those nights
When life was just a bet on a race between the lights
You had your head on my shoulder you had your hand in my hair
Now you act a little colder like you dont seem to care
But believe in me baby and Ill take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
cos Ive run every red light on memory lane
Ive seen desperation explode into flames
And I dont want to see it again. . .
from all of these signs saying sorry but were closed
All the way down the telegraph road
In Memory of Richard `Twin` Vickers.
In Memory of Chuck Norris.
Beyond the vegetation Mike could see the shimmering black carapace of a giant scorpion. It had just come over the ridge and was looking directly at them with, what he thought to be, a thousand black little soul-less eyes. Mike tapped Sue`s arm and pointed, breathless, not believing what he was seeing. Sue followed his gaze and every muscle in her body stiffened.
Sue pulled him deeper into the cave. the chittering clatter followed. They stopped only when it became absolutely pitch black and they could only feel the walls, the dampness...the hard shell of that which was about to devour them. Mike let loose a blast from his machine gun, lighting up the cave in a strobe of cartoon images.
Bang, bang, bang, BOOM!
The scorpion was right there, right next to them, and thousands of gleeming eyes were just behind. The horde of massive insects were only steps away...they both fired a dozen times, their shells bouncing across the cave and ricocheting away...needles from flared tails with anxious quills sought their blood, Sue gave a yelp and clawed at her leg. ...Then it was silent.
She blinked several times, but Sue couldn`t erase the after-image she was sure she`d seen. This cave was a garage... That scorpion with a thousand eyes, that was a Sunrise...wasn`t it?
There was a mad clattering and scraping and the real horde was approaching...she climbed into the car and tried the key...hoping that poor inept Mike was right behind her...the car was warm and welcoming...she was being pulled into its sweet embrace...
`You leave Sue alone!` She heard from the back seat. `Silly boy, yelling at their new car,` She thought. She wondered if it would fit in the garage back home?... Would they need a car seat for their kids? Suddenly she had a moment of clarity.. she was in love... and possibly being eaten alive from the feet up.
`Oh my...` she said. Sue could feel the cold, alien claw around her neck, pushing her down. She reached out, her breath came in gasps. `Mike` was her last word as she passed out.
Mike couldn`t open fire the way he wanted to with his SMG, he might hit Sue. Mike was certain, however, that he`d seen a well preserved car hidden in this cave just behind them, so he scrambled back, further...sickened by the crunching and moaning sounds he heard.
The familiar form of a Sunrise was under his fingers then...and with a practiced ease he loosed the bonnet and connected the terminals...to be sure. Someone had tucked this bird away for another day. There was a spark...my God... It still had juice... He pushed the cables in place. Without a thought he jumped through the driver`s window behind the wheel...and...searching for the spot... `YES!`...the keys were actually in the ignition.
The car roared to life, the V8 quickly warmed up and slowed to a smooth idle. The scorpion hovering over Sue stopped for a few seconds, raised its body high over her stretching, then dropped and continued gnawing on her leg.
Mike threw it into gear with one hand as he flicked the toggle for the headlights with the other. The lights enveloped a horror of gore.
There were chunks of giant Scorpion everywhere, entrails coating the floor and oozing off of the walls with sick plops as they hit the ground. The shadows of frightened bugs running away slithered down the walls and away from the light. The windshield clattered as oozing darts bounced across it from the one remaining bug.
It stood up again when the lights came on, staring indignantly into the headlights, Its tail standing straight up high. 3 wide `clamps` flared open from the tip with new darts dripping with venom pushing out of it`s tail into the light. It`s many eyes reflecting the headlights, it leaned back down and the bloody mandibles continued chewing on Sue`s left thigh...
The bug twitched as Mike gave the Sunrise a jump on the throttle. Mike gave the V8 another punch and the car growled as it lurched forward while he held the brakes. The scorpion quickly switched its hold on Sue, moving her body like a rag doll with the two forward legs till it could get hold of her shoulder with its` mouth. It sat there holding her till Mike screamed in anger. The bug backed up taking Sue with it, It`s tail `blinked` with a bright `light`.
The V8 roared as the last dart the scorpion fired penetrated the windscreen only halfway. It was directly in front of Mikes vision. If the armored `clearshield` had not been there it would have hit him. Venom dripped on the dash as he punched the throttle hard enough to leave a dent in the floorboards.
Mike drove after the scorpion, it`s pointed, crab-like legs cutting flakes of stone off of the rock of the cave as it backed up holding Sues shoulder in it`s mandibles. Her body bounced off the floor and sides of the cave as it retreated in the advancing headlights. The creature ran backwards almost faster than he could drive forward in the confined space, dragging her flailing body after it, too hungry to let go.
Mike leaned into the horn, startling the beast at last so that it gave up dragging Sue away. It spun around, chittering, clicking and moved away from Sue, seeking it`s own escape. It had had enough of these Bi-ped Meatsacks, it was running away.
The H.U.D. `beeped` and locked on the moving target. Mike focused on the target reticle and pressed the drivers` wheel gun trigger and twin MMG`s erupted fire from the grille of the Sunrise.
The staccato sound of the guns reverbrated in the closed space of the cave. The strobe light effect showed individual bullets impacting and passing through the scorpion`s carapace from back to front, dropping it dead where it stood.
He pulled alongside Sue`s still form and opened the driver door. The backpack she wore made it easier to pull her 90 pound weight over his lap and into the empty seat to his right. `I got you Sue`, she moaned in reply. Her left leg was gone just above the knee and dripping blood...
`DAMN` Mike said aloud..... he closed the door and stomped on the throttle. `DAMN!`
`I may suck with a rifle, hon, but I`m one hell of driver.` Mike plowed through their ranks, their hard shells breaking windows and denting armor.
Ponk...Ponk..... `Overhead shots` he thought. Ponk.....CRASH...... Driver window gone. `WOW` ......STING!
When he finally stopped to look at his gas gauge, Mike realized it was time to turn home. He left behind him only a pool of scorpion blood and pulverized chitin exo-skeleton.
When the Badlands scouts finally found Mike, days later, he was sitting in the car holding his beloved. He was strangely silent. Sue was dead in his arms and both of their voices would stay silent forever, She, given to the silence of the dust from whence she came.
Mikes silence, from monsters he could only scribble on rough paper. The scribbles looked like spiders.
Most of Mikes time was spent hiding, but when he did come out from the alleys of Somerset he would run from imagined creatures as he foraged for food to bring back to his hole behind Dexter`s. When he died they found he had dug a hole under the building and had fashioned himself a cave. He had drawn pictures of giant scorpions chasing a Sunrise on every surface. The only recognizable words in the artwork was this, `The razors took my beloved by the head. Now I`m silent, and she is dead.`
That particular setup used on Mike`s Sunrise has, since then, been known as the Scorpion, and those hard-shelled projectile-firing poisonous beasts of the desert are forever known from the poem as `Razors`.
Excerpt from the Evan Library:
Razor: Reports on this elusive creature are patchy at best. Mainly because anyone encountering it does not survive, or any survivor suffers from a type of walking coma. Survivors are found to have been penetrated by some kind of dart resembling a Flechette. With intensive care and copious amounts of drugs, survivors seem to be curable, although loss of speech seems to be a permanent condition. Drawings made by semi-conscious survivors indicate this denizen of the badlands to be extremely large, resembling huge scorpions.
In memory of Randy Laurence`s lost leg.
In Memory of Missing Ears and Toes.
1. Longos Merry Men (Somerset): $4801.
As the year progresses, here are the leaders of the major leagues:
Evan Race Ladder - Lattes Raiders
In addition, the leaders of the minor leagues are:
Somerset Pedestrian Combat #2 League - Slaythofens
George `Boss man` Jones of BOB-BagOfBones died at Gates of Somerset.
Farah Lobb of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Somerset.
Anthony Frasier of Jackknife Armada died at Gates of Somerset.
Karen Fountain of Four Horsemen died at Once Upon a Town.
`Slow` Tyler Olson of Team Bansi died at Lost Trail: Overland.
Sharon Williams of Team Bansi died at Lost Trail: Overland.
Glenn `Patch` Smith of Team Bansi died at Lost Trail: Overland.
Erica `Bigguns` Diaz of Sons of Loathing died at Road to Elmsfield.
Neil `Hackie` Sacco of Justice Delivered died at Blown With the Wind.
Kimberly `Kris` Reeves of Justice Delivered died at Blown With the Wind.
Mark Hughes of Knights Templar died at Lost Oasis.
Phung Reel of Knights Templar died at Lost Oasis.
Patricia Linch of Deserters died at Canyon Joust.
Thomas `Twist` Brookover of Deserters died at Serpentine Road.
Christopher Hull of Deserters died at Serpentine Road.
Ernie Earnhardt of Paladins died at Road to Somerset.
Earl Hickey of Iron Wraiths died at Road to Somerset.
Richard Tran of Jackknife Armada died at Gates of Somerset.
Richard `Rambo` Cook of Knights Templar died at Gateway Interstate Figure 8.
`Kaiser` William McGill of Special Circumstances died at Gates of Somerset.
Samatha Hill of Bladerunners died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
Blaine `dead` Head of Evan Courier Service died at Road to Somerset.
William `Wet Willy` Doe of Rebels died at Once Upon a Town.
Bruce `The Moose` Burrus of Dementia died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
Florence Lamb of Dementia died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
Ralph Canterbury of Shattered-n-Bloody died at Lost Oasis.
Antonio `TurtleHead` Brown of Shattered-n-Bloody died at Lost Oasis.
Kyle Moran of Shattered-n-Bloody died at Lost Oasis.
Jack Snow of Jackknife Armada died at Blown With the Wind.
Fabian Ferrari of Paladins died at Road to Somerset.
Daniel `El Toro` Bullock of Dementia died at Road to Somerset.
Ted `The Ted` Cargill of Dementia died at Road to Somerset.
Clarence `Clemens` Stephens of Dementia died at Road to Somerset.
Frank Goss of Justice Delivered died at Blown With the Wind.
William `Valentine` Zane of Luna Sea died at Elmsfield Southern Speed Circuit.
Dona Veliz of Dryfus Dragoons died at Highway to Hell.
Peggy `Pole Position` Smith of The Forsaken died at Somerset Rally Circuit.
`Dirty` Jim Duran of The Forsaken died at Somerset Rally Circuit.
Thomas Keeling of Iron Wraiths died at Salt Flats Canyon.
Robert Smith of Bladerunners died at Once Upon a Town.
Timothy Miller of Bladerunners died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
Lonnie Paladino of Bladerunners died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
Jade Doiron of MADHAT died at Pathway to Darkness.
Dale Smith of MADHAT died at Once Upon a Town.
Jerry `The King` Mallard of The Forsaken died at Sandy.
Bobby `Taco Bob` Edwards of Maximum Overdrive died at Road to Somerset.
Chase Nickles of Maximum Overdrive died at Road to Somerset.
Martin `El Hipyito` Castro of Los Banditos Marodos Negras died at Gates of Firelight.
Candi Caine of Paladins died at Lost Oasis.
Edward Hicks of Paladins died at Devils Fingers.
Eugene `Mean Gene` Kimberling of The Forsaken died at Once Upon a Town.
Harold `Roadkill` Smith of The Forsaken died at Once Upon a Town.
Pasquale McGray of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Elmsfield.
Melissa Flores of Iron Wraiths died at Once Upon a Town.
Florencio `Da Vig` Canterbury of Shattered-n-Bloody died at Lost Trail: Dead River.
Ronald `Ganglia` Guillory of Dementia died at Somerset Arena.
Iva Larkin of Dementia died at Lost Oasis.
Rick `Pretty Boy` Cisneros of Geriatric Anarchists died at Gates of Sarsfield.
Victor `Eagle Eyes II` Henry of The Cosmic Kids died at Scattered Grounds.
Eric `The Gunner` Nelson of The Cosmic Kids died at Scattered Hills.
William `I`m Not` Lytle of The Cosmic Kids died at Scattered Hills.
Haywood Salinas of The Mechanics died at Somerset Arena.
Karen Slaughter of Knights Templar died at Northern Farm Land.
Jordan ``Crash`` Chadwell of Maximum Overdrive died at Highway to Hell.
Bo `Knows` Duke of Guns Gears Getaway died at Road to Somerset.
Piper `Tank Girl` Earhart of Guns Gears Getaway died at Road to Somerset.
Maria `Closed` Gates of Lab Rats died at Lost Oasis.
Virginia Quinn of The Mechanics died at Once Upon a Town.
Mark Schroeder of The Mechanics died at Once Upon a Town.
Natalie Robinson of The Mechanics died at Once Upon a Town.
Arthur `B` Eddy of Justice Delivered died at Road to Somerset.
Susan Boyce of Justice Delivered died at Road to Somerset.
`Drift King` James Towery of Initial Drift died at Somerset Rally Circuit.
`K5` Max Rockett of Longos Merry Men died at Somerset Arena.
Sheila `LG` Jimenez of The Cosmic Kids died at Forever Yellow Skies.
Karl `Rapidfire` McDonald of The Cosmic Kids died at Forever Yellow Skies.
Joseph Garcia of The Gray Hounds died at Road to Elmsfield.
James Albertson of The Gray Hounds died at Road to Elmsfield.
Jean Warriner of The Gray Hounds died at Road to Elmsfield.
Clarence Luong of The Gray Hounds died at Road to Elmsfield.
Roy Wilson of The Mechanics died at Gates of Somerset.
Rebecca Kennedy of the mad mad crushers died at Road to Somerset.
Jonathan Johnson of Lattes Raiders died at Scattered Hills.
Shirley Weeks of Jackknife Armada died at Gates of Somerset.
Elizabeth `Hotty` Henderson of Deserters died at Road to Somerset.
Erica `Trigger` Trammell of Deserters died at Road to Somerset.
Diana `The Dragon` Deshong of Deserters died at Road to Somerset.
`Jessie` James Shipley of The 4saken died at Scattered Hills.
Allan Crockett of Initial Drift died at Northern Desert Circuit.
Desmond `Sleepyhead` Cribb of Sons of Loathing died at Road to Elmsfield.
Shanti `The Shadow` Habib of Sons of Loathing died at Lost Oasis.
Emily `Flipper` Suarez of Sons of Loathing died at Lost Oasis.
Daniel `Danny Boy` Curry of The Underdogs died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
`Big Bad` Bertha Brown of Dementia died at Blown With the Wind.
Fae Payne of Paganus died at Gates of Somerset.
Karl Mancilla of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Somerset.
`One Eye` James Flores of Dementia died at Lost Oasis.
Luke Sims of Dementia died at Lost Oasis.
Gary `Frontman` Hackett of Retribution Of Metal died at Gates of Gateway Truckstop.
Dallas Diamond of Paladins died at Blown With the Wind.
William Briggs of the mad mad crushers died at Under a Bloody Red Sky.
Pamela `Gasser` Lagasse of Geriatric Anarchists died at Lost Oasis.
`Crazy` Bette Rice of Geriatric Anarchists died at Lost Oasis.
Brenda McPhee of the mad mad crushers died at Road to Somerset.
Aline Lepe of the mad mad crushers died at Road to Somerset.
`Marshal` Wyatt Earp of Longos Merry Men died at Somerset Arena.
Charles Ferguson of The Chain Gang died at Somerset Rally Circuit.
Cheryl `Gee` Gee of Justice Delivered died at Road to Somerset.
Lynda Shoemaker of CryptKeepers died at Somerset Arena.
Zack `Big Mac` Henricks of ExMachina died at Somerset Arena.
Todd Decker of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Elmsfield.
Edith Woods of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Somerset.
William White of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Somerset.
Lynn Lobb of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Somerset.
Dominic Lynch of Jackknife Armada died at Road to Somerset.
Ernie Earnhardt of Paladins died at Gates of Somerset.
James Dill of Justice Delivered died at Gates of Somerset.
Natalie Franke of Justice Delivered died at Gates of Somerset.
Jami `Chuckles` Grimm of Justice Delivered died at Lost Oasis.
Ebony `Night` Conway of Justice Delivered died at Lost Oasis.
`Crimson` Connie Murphy of Highwaymen died at Gates of Firelight.
`Joyride` Jessica Paquette of CryptKeepers died at Smokey Hills.
Catherine Cruz of Road Lords died at Somerset`s Junkyard, Race Track 3.
Maya Lanier of Justice Delivered died at Gates of Somerset.
Dora `Nonna Papera` Rivera of Famiglia Rivera died at Once Upon a Town.
This beauty of a Landrunner was spied entering a Mega Scout.
Reportedly one of a series of Steampunk cars haunting the Badlands.
The Gazette presents these in memory of Carl `Thru the Lens Darkly` Zeiss, our former staff photographer.