In those early years, before we established dog-tags as currency, the BLVD was crazy, seriously bananas! Even with The Judge in charge, even with the great wall of trash going up, it was a nasty, nasty place. When you showed up at someone’s doorstep with a pack full of junk, you had no idea if you were going to barter for merch or barter for your life. I got stuck up a few times; with a mug like mine how could I not. Still, I can proudly say I’m probably the only person in the Mo-Javi who hasn’t popped their murder cherry. That’s not to say I haven’t come close though.
It was after the Blacksmith’s guild was formed, but before the Guilds of Academia. I was carrying some wilted vegetables straight from Kass’ greenhouse, a guitar with a missing string, a bag of sand marked “Pure Cane Sugar,” a pair of fuzzy handcuffs, and some other household goods. Now see these were the old days. There weren’t armed guards on every street corner. If someone took your stuff, you went and took it back. If someone shot at you, you shot back and took their stuff. At that time, The Judge’s counselors were like old-time mafia enforcers, making sure the big scrap-metal wall was completed on schedule, or else. Capiche?
Long story short, I get looped into the wrong side of the BLVD. Specifically, I end up in a chop shop; you know the kind, engines hanging from the ceiling and spare parts in piles around the room. The Black Thumbs weren’t a thing yet. In fact, they were calling themselves the Grease Monkeys at the time. To be honest, they didn’t even build cars….they just huffed combustibles all day. Now Junkman is no fool. I’d done my homework and I knew they were looking for some copper wire, so I coil up the guitar strings, dust them with some gold spray paint and try to pawn them off in exchange for one of their keys.
See, at that time the Grease Monkeys had what they called “loot chests” where they filled up an old beater’s trunk with food, water, sometimes a gun, or even an explosive trap and auctioned off the keys. What they didn’t know was that I had been watching them through the windows of their garage. I already knew which trunk had the loot I was looking for, I just had to pick the right key.
We make the trade and I head straight for the junk in the trunk. As I opened the trunk and eyed my prize, a rotating tie rack, an enormous gorilla-like hand grabbed me by the hair and slammed my face into a metal wall. Moments later, I was tied up, gagged with tape, and stuffed into that moldy trunk. I don’t think they even realized what I’d done, I think they were already planning on kidnapping anyone who chose the right prize.
Fully immersed in humid, smelly darkness and assaulted by the laughs of Grease Monkeys, I waited, hoping I wouldn’t become someone else’s treasure.