Square Root By D.I. Jolly
Oliver ducked another wild swing and countered by slamming a chair across the man’s face, ending the fight. With a few heavy deep breaths, he looked around the room wondering why things like that kept happening to him. Then he heard a click and felt the cold ring of a gun barrel against his neck.
“End of the line.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“Like you don’t know.”
“I don’t know!”
His voice was a combination of frustrated and exasperated, which lead the man with the gun to think he was telling the truth.
“You’re famed pirate Ross TeaCup, there is a multimillion-dollar bounty on your head.”
“Who? No I’m not, my name is Oliver.”
The man with the gun grabbed him and spun him around then pulled a poster out of his pocket which he handed to Oliver. Looking at the picture he could see the resemblance but it still wasn’t him.
“What the fuck, no look, no scare on my nose and my eyes are brown, this guy’s are blue.”
The man with the gun looked at the poster then back at Oliver and blushed as he slowly lowered the gun.
“Oh, oh yeah. Well, this is embarrassing.”
“You mean the reason I keep been being attacked is because I look almost but not quite like this pirate.”
Blushing and using the gun to scratch the back of his head the man said.
“I mean, if you have been then yeah probably. But I mean, come on, you can see how people might think that. In this light, after a few drinks. Plus, it’s a lot of money.”
“That’s not ok, what am I going to do about it? I’ve been attacked like six times recently.”
“Wow, I mean, you’ve survived so that’s pretty cool.”
The gunman held up his hand for a high five, and after a moment and a frown, Oliver obliged.
“Thanks, but still, I need to do something about this.”
“Hey, why don’t you join up with me and my guys? You’re good in a fight and if we find the guy then people will stop hunting you… him, I mean him.”
“You mean become a bounty hunter?”
“Beats being a hunted bounty …I’m sorry, that sounded cooler in my head, sorry, but still what do you say?”
Oliver let the idea fill his mind for a moment, then looked at the mess of people on the floor.
“I mean, you guys do seem like you could use the help, and it would be better than the alternative. What kind of outfit do you run?”
“Small group, only about a third of these guys are mine, we have a decent ship, the Root, plenty of space for one more. You’d have to pull your weight working, and I’m captain, but we split the bounty evenly. An equal share for all.”
The man pulled another picture out of his pocket, which showed a large square airship complete with cliched bounty hunter logo spray painted on the side in red. After another few moments, Oliver smiled.
“Sure, let’s do this. I could use a job anyway.”
“Great, help me get these guys up and we can go have a drink on the deck. Probably safer that way. Welcome aboard, Oliver.”
The two men shook hands.
“Thanks, so what’s your name?”
“Captain Kree, nice to meet you. Also, sorry for trying to kill you just now.”
“No, I get it, it’s fine.”
Just then the room filled with a loud bang and Oliver drop dead at Kree’s feet while two more men ran into the bar.
“Yeah we got him, we’re rich whooohooo!”
Kree looked down, then back up at the men, and shrugged.
“It’s the wrong guy, just looks like him.”
He handed them the poster and pointed out the difference, then went back to his table to finish his beer.