Hank the Yank versus The Crips

or … why Americans shouldn’t try to write about British characters.

“Yee-Ha,” Hank exclaimed, jumping off his horse in a single bound. “Time to get me some faggots.” He tied his horse, Muffin, to an empty hitching post in the disabled area of the Tesco car park. “Y’all coming, Trixie?”

Trixie, still sitting in the passenger saddle tied to the back end of Muffin, looked down at Hank and shook her plastic grass pom-poms at him. “Heck, Hank, what y’all doing parking old Muffin here in the disabled area? We ain’t got no disabilities, dumb-arse.”

Hank tilted back his ten-gallon hat and peered up at Trixie. He smiled. “Old Muffin here ain’t as young as he used to be, so he ain’t. Gonna be fit for the knacker’s yard soon, I reckon. Besides, he started limping a bit when we crossed the prairie, I reckon he might’ve got bit by a rattlesnake or stepped on a cactus or something. Reckon that makes him disabled enough for parking here, I surely do.”

Trixie swung her leg over the saddle and slid off the horse. Hank caught her in his arms and got a face-full of pom-poms when she landed on the ground before him. He slapped her arse and told her to go get a shopping trolley.

“Y’all got a pound coin on you for the trolley?” Trixie asked.

Hank sighed and reached into his leather chaps for a pound coin. He flipped it in the air and Trixie caught it in her mouth. She transferred both pom-poms to one hand and took the coin from her mouth, then inserted it into a shopping trolley.

“Let’s do this shit,” she said, pushing the trolley into Tesco.

A tumbleweed drifted across the car park. Hank patted Muffin on the back and lit a cigar. “Y’all wait here while I mosey on down to that there Tesco and get me some faggots,” he said to the horse. The horse nodded its head and whinnied.

A wrinkly old-timer standing at the Tesco entrance glared at Hank as he approached. He pointed at a No Smoking sign and shook his head. God-damn health and safety laws, Hank thought. God-damn government should get the God-damn hell out of my God-damn life. He stubbed out his cigar on the palm of his hand, smiling defiantly at the old-timer. The old-timer nodded and waved him through the door. Hank blew on his hand and shook it when he was out of sight. Now look what your God-damn health and safety laws gone and done to my God-damn hand.

He found Trixie by the gun department, shaking her pom-poms at a buy one get one free sign. He clumped towards her, his spurs clicking on the tiled floor as he walked. Trixie turned and smiled.

“Gimme a G,” she chanted, thrusting up her left pom-pom. “Gimme a U.” The right pom-pom shot above her head. “Gimme an N.” The pom-poms swished past each other as Trixie crossed her arms above her head and dropped down to her knees. “Gimme some guns, motherfucker.”

Hank shook his head slowly. “Hell, Trixie, ain’t you got enough guns already? There’s hardly enough space in our caravan as it is.”

“A girl can never have too many guns,” Trixie said. “What if there’s another Apache uprising or our caravan gets surrounded by bears?”

“Heck, y’all know that ain’t never gonna happen. There ain’t no picnic baskets at our caravan park to attract the bears, and all the Apaches are running bingo halls now.”

“But it’s buy one get one free. Y’all know I can’t resist a bargain like that.”

Hank sighed. He never could resist Trixie’s puppy-dog eyes. “Okay, but make them small ones, I don’t want you filling up the shopping trolley with guns again like you did the last time they had a sale on. You gots to leave room for my faggots, ya hear?”

“You and your damn faggots,” Trixie said. But at least she was smiling again.

Hank watched Trixie pull a couple of pink Uzi submachine guns from the shelf and plonk them in the shopping trolley. He sighed and shook his head.

“What?” Trixie asked. “They’re smaller than the M60s, and they’ve got them in my colour. Now I just need to find some pink bullets for them and we’re all set.”

Trixie reached up, standing on her tippy-toes, but couldn’t quite reach the boxes of pink ammunition on the top shelf. She beckoned Hank over and told him to assume the position. Hank bent down before her and clutched the back of his knees. Trixie climbed onto his back and swiped boxes off the shelf with her pom-poms. She jumped down and spun in a pirouette, then picked up the boxes and tossed them in the shopping trolley.

“Now can we go get me some damn faggots?” Hank asked, rubbing the base of his spine where Trixie’s high heels had dug into him.

“Hell yeah,” Trixie said.

Hank led the way to the faggot section of the supermarket. He debated whether to buy a pack of four Mr Brain’s, or a Tesco own-brand super saver variety pack of six. Trixie’s new guns, even if they were buy one get one free, were going to cost a pretty penny and his credit card was already stretched to the limit. Luckily, Mr Brain’s faggots were also on special offer. Buy two packs and get a pack free to throw away, a sign on the shelf read.

“Yee-ha,” Hank cried, and tossed six packs of Mr Brain’s faggots into the shopping trolley.

“Y’all ain’t never gonna eat that many damn faggots,” Trixie said, frowning.

“The hell I am,” Hank said. “Now git yo arse over to that there till, we’s done enough shopping for one day. Old Muffin will be getting his britches in a tizzy thinking we done gone and left him, so he will.”

Trixie pushed the shopping trolley to the till. Hank moseyed after her and watched as Trixie put their goods on a conveyor belt. A spotty kid working the till picked up one of the pink Uzi submachine guns and turned it around in his hands, looking for a barcode to scan. When he couldn’t find one he put it down and reached under the till for some picture cards showing different varieties of guns. He found one that matched Trixie’s gun and scanned a barcode printed beneath it. He picked up the second gun and consulted his cards again.

“It’s the same damn gun,” Hank said, getting impatient. “Y’all just need to scan the same damn picture twice.”

“And it’s buy one get one free,” Trixie added. “So don’t go ripping us off none, y’all.”

The kid looked up and nodded. He scanned the barcode again and picked up a box of ammunition. Trixie stuffed the two Uzi submachine guns into the waistband of her rah-rah skirt and flounced out of the door. The kid scanned the remaining boxes of ammunition, then Hank’s faggots. As Hank handed over his credit card, Trixie came running back into Tesco.

“It’s the damn Crips,” she yelled, waving her pom-poms. “They’re coming across the prairie and they’re heading straight for us.”

“Hell, that’s all we damn need,” Hank said. He put the faggots in one carrier bag and the boxes of ammunition in another, then headed for the door.

“Gimme my bullets, quick,” Trixie said, dropping her pom-poms.

Hank reached into a carrier bag and held out a box of ammunition. Trixie snatched it from him and tore it open with her teeth. She pulled out a handful of pink bullets and slapped them into one of the guns.

“Y’all want the other gun?” she asked.

Hank looked at the pink gun she held out for him and shook his head. “Hell no, I ain’t no damn sissy boy.”

Trixie grunted and loaded the other gun. She held one in each hand and stepped out into the car park. Hank picked up her pom-poms and stuffed them into one of the carrier bags and followed her out.

The old-timer at the door pointed frantically at a No Loaded Guns sign. Trixie barged past him and ran up to a parked wagon nearby. Its horse whinnied and reared up, but couldn’t pull away because the wagon’s handbrake was on. Hank glanced at Muffin, who had his nose in a water trough, and joined Trixie behind the wagon.

In the distance, Hank saw clouds of dust churned up on the prairie. As they got closer he could make out sitting figures, their hands frantically spinning large wheels by their sides. It was the damn Crips, all right. The most feared gang in all of Americaland, and here they were heading straight towards them.

“Oh, hell no,” Hank said.

“Hell yeah,” Trixie said, grinning. She stepped out from behind the wagon and raised her guns. “Eat pink leaden death, motherfuckers,” she yelled. Crips jerked and danced under her barrage of bullets. Wheelchairs spun out of control and tipped over. Trixie laughed, her arms shuddering from the recoil of her pink submachine guns.

The Crips skidded to a halt and crouched behind their fallen comrades. One pulled out a bazooka and rested it over his shoulder, the barrel pointing straight at Trixie. Trixie was having too much fun to notice.

“Get down,” Hank yelled, but Trixie couldn’t hear him over the roar of her twin guns. He ran out and grabbed her around the waist, threw her onto the ground just as the bazooka flashed. The Crip’s wheelchair shot backwards, the bazooka’s shell whistled past Hank’s head and exploded in Tesco’s doorway. The old-timer flew into the air and landed on Tesco’s roof. He looked down and shook his fist.

The Crips were on the move again. Trixie shouted something, but Hank couldn’t hear it over the ringing in his ears. She scrabbled across the ground to the two carrier bags he had left behind the wagon and rifled inside them. She pulled out a new box of ammunition and loaded her guns. The bazooka flashed once more and the wagon shattered into a thousand burning splinters of wood flying in the air. The horse ran away, its tail on fire. Trixie levelled her guns on the Crip with the bazooka and blew his head off.

“Yee-ha,” Hank shouted. Another Crip raised a gun and fired at him. Hank’s ten-gallon hat flew off. “God damn it,” Hank said, and crawled after his hat. When he picked it up there was a bullet hole in both sides. “Oh, you’re gonna pay for that, you surely are.” Hank ran to Trixie’s side and snatched one of the submachine guns from her hand. He pointed it at the remaining Crips and squeezed the trigger, swaying the gun from side to side as he watched them slump in their wheelchairs.

“Mighty fine shooting, partner,” Trixie said when all the Crips were still. “I reckon you done deserved those faggots now.”

Hank nodded and gave Trixie her gun back. She spun both guns over her fingers by the trigger guards as they walked back to Muffin.

“Oi, what about me?” the old-timer shouted down from the roof.

Hank looked up and tipped his hat at the old man. “You can buy your own damn faggots.”

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About Marcus Blakeston

Ex-shouting poet, ex-fanzine writer, ex-angry young man (now growing old disgracefully). Living in sunny Yorkshire with his wife, children and motorcycle, Marcus still has a healthy distrust of all forms of authority.
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