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    Pinckney Benedict

    17. Pig Helmet and the Wall of Life

    By Pinckney Benedict

    Pig Helmet needed to see the Wall of Life.

    I call him Pig Helmet because he’s the sort of fellow that, in olden times, you’d have been one of the Civilized People trying like hell, with fire and boiling oil and molten lead and such, to keep him and his kind out, and he’d have been one of the dreaded barbarians, he’d have been the lead barbarian in fact, climbing over your city walls by means of an improvised ladder, with his snarling face painted a furious blue, and something large and heavy and sharp-edged clutched in his massive fist, and wearing a pig for a hat. The head and hide of a boar, thick and knobby and naturally tough, hardened further by curing and the cunning attachment of metal plates and studs and rings, with the great toothy maw of the feral hog sloping down over his heavy brow, its tusks like upthrust sabers and its dead piggy eyes glinting dully above his own. Pig Helmet.

    Pig Helmet is a cop. He’s employed by the county sheriff’s department, and he lives down at the end of my road with his diminutive, pretty wife. Before that he was a “contractor” in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the money was good and the action was better, but his wife worried too much with him away. We tried to look after her as much as possible, my own wife and I, but we were no substitute for the ministrations of Pig Helmet, as you can imagine. He’s a dutiful and attentive husband. Before that work, he was a bail bondsman, a bounty hunter (he hates that term, silly movie bullshit he calls it), and one time a guy that had jumped bail threw acid in his face, trying to blind him, to avoid capture.

    The acid missed his eyes but crisped him pretty good otherwise, and the left side of his head is kind of a nightmare. The teeth show through permanently on that side, and the flesh is rippled and brown like old melted candlewax. He keeps pretty much to himself, does Pig Helmet, has some acreage and a few animals like we all do around here, following his hobbies in his off-hours, hand-loading cartridges and felling trees on his place and then turning the stumps into sawdust with his stump grinder. . . . Read More.

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