Copper loved coming to Beaumonde, because it usually meant he’d have time to swing by Doheney’s to browse anything new that had come in since the last visit. Ol’ Mike was a good guy, and he generally got in a higher quality of merchandise than the local shops on the Rim.
It had been ten minutes since the bell had rung, tolling his entrance, and he wasn’t any closer to bored. It had been a while, and Mike had caught a few good, solid bargains in the time since his last visit. One that particularly caught Copper’s eye was a beautiful, three-leg nightstand, just perfect for resting a Bible on before bed.
The Reverend toted up to the counter and pulled the tag off, handing it to Mike. The old man, old even by Copper’s standards, put it close to his face and started working the antique register.”Haven’t see you ’round these parts in a bit,” Mike said as his fingers tapped the keys.
“Sure ‘nough. I’ve missed your gab, that’s for sure.”
Mike smiled. It was a rare thing these days to have a ‘regular’ come in and spend money every trip.”You still traveling with those boys of yours?”
Copper returned the smile. “Yep. They get into trouble here and there, but they’re good boys.”
“Then you might wanna steer ’em clear of the Bottle this trip, Cop,” Mike said, his smile disappearing as he took the Reverend’s money and started counting out change.
“Why’s that?” Copper asked, raising an eyebrow.
Mike frowned, handing a couple of bills and a receipt back. “McNally and his boys been there abouts lately, askin’ about the brother’s Kokezaru.”
Copper’s face darkened. “Wuh de tien ah!”
“Sheh-sheh,” Mike called out, waving at Copper as, nightstand in hand, he dashed out the door and turned towards the Bottle and Cork.
As the door closed, the old man heard Copper’s “You’re welcome” fading into the distance.
The brawl was well underway as Copper came rushing into the bar. He scanned the room, seeing the brothers holding their own, and began to walk over to try to salvage the situation with some well-placed words. It was then that one of McNally’s men noticed him approach, table in hand, and immediately got the wrong idea.
Without a word, the inebriated young man charged towards Copper and tackled him into nearby table with a crash. The Reverend stumbled back to his feet, scanning the floor, and found his new nightstand crushed into a dozen splinter’s on the floor. He grabbed one leg, and held it up incredulously, staring at the ruined wood even as his assailant got back to his feet.
The beer-basted man charged again, but Copper side-stepped, and his attacked flew head-first into the wall. When he turned around to find the old man, he instead found himself pinned to the wall with a bar-chair, the old preacher staring at him with a resigned and slightly annoyed look… table-leg in hand.
“You broke m’nightstand,” Copper said, frowning. “I just bought that nightstand.”
“Shepherd, you okay?” Tyler called from across the room. Copper just nodded back, his attention still on the brawler.
His attacker smiled when he heard the word ‘Shepherd.’ “What are you gonna do, Preacher? Beat me to death?” the man asked, though his voice wavered slightly as he proposed what he hoped would be an empty threat.
“‘Course not,” Copper said, still frowning. “But the Good Book says, ‘Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the zhūozi zú, he shall not die.” And with that, the old Reverend brought the table leg down across the man’s head, knocking him senseless. “So y’see… you ain’t gonna die.” Another whack, and his opponent slumped to the ground, fully unconscious. “But it’ll sure as Hell hurt.”
Copper turned to walk back towards his boys. “Thou shalt beat him with the zhūozi zú, and deliver his soul from hell, Proverbs 23: 13-14…,” he said as he walked away from the unconscious brawler.”…slightly paraphrased.”
“Copper,” Durden said with a smile as the preacher approached. “This is Jack, the new mechanic,”he said, acknowledging the new hire. “Jack… this is the Reverend Copernicus Jones, our medic.”
The older man smiled, holding out his blood-specked hand. “Please to meetcha,” he said, sincerely.”And you can just call me Copper.”