Brindle Branson, the Horse Puncher

Mr. Branson is a big fan of billiards, good food, good cigars, good weed, video games involving deer and the killing thereof, the St. Louis Cardinals, peppermint Schnapps on the rocks, and music by David Allan Coe. He likes late nights and bar fights, and as far as beer goes, he drinks what he eats: Busch, and plenty of it. He has a soft spot for women, especially pretty ones, and an easy smile for those willing to lose a few hundred dollars to him shooting pool; alternatively, he'll beat a man into a pulp without much in the way of hesitation, although he does traditionally give one solid warning to anyone approaching his bad side. He does not, it should be noted, much care for the term 'Smithers' - those who would seek to apply it to him casually do so at their own risk. As he often puts it: "It's your life, son. You take it in your hands however you see fit."

But truth be told, 'Smithers' really isn't a fitting term, fear of a broken jaw or no: for one thing, Brindle is by no stretch of the imagination a sycophant or a kiss-ass … but most importantly, the woman he works for is no Cheney.

She's a toll-keeper. Admittedly, she's a toll-keeper with the money, power and coal-black heart of the most bastardly old-bastard Cheney on the planet, and rumors crop up from time to time that she's dipping some of that power into the damnation-extraction business, but her only major concerns these days seem to be spending her late husband's money on exclusive cruises to private beaches & protecting Scintil: her secret door to the Silent City. Which, by her reckoning, makes it a side-passage to Absear Station. Which, in theory, makes it a through-way to Bulgone, Churmish, the Factory and Tick-Tock, amongst other infernal spots.

From there, every Big-Box and Boutique in all of the Nether is ripe for crashing.

With control of the Silent City, says she, comes control of the heart of Hell. That control part? Well, that's where Brindle comes in.

See, Mr. Branson works for Tammy Lee Smead, that horrible old bitch, and he didn't get the gig by being sweeter and nicer and easier to get along with than any other applicant. Mrs. Smead pretty famously hates people in general and YOU in particular, and the Horse Puncher's infamous skill at making the boss-lady happy comes down, exclusively, to his work-ethic. Which, might I add, is fantastic. Never missed a day, never lost a dime.

Nobody, but NOBODY, uses Scintil without Mr. Branson's say-so. That's his job, and he's damn good at it. Track the man down at one of the juke-joints, honkey-tonk bars, pool halls or gin mills he frequents, and he'll set you straight with Mrs. Smead. Get on the wrong side of Mrs. Smead, and the Horse Puncher will come find you. His hobby, during those few vacations he gets, involves a leisurely drive down to Bentonville, Arkansas, where he puts the fear of God into folks who might be considering use of the cave called "Backayonder" - the primary unguarded entrance to the Silent City.

As for that old fucker up in Tremont, Maine selling use of "Quietside" and undercutting Tammy's prices in the bargain, well … Mrs. Smead has been itching to put the bastard on ice for a decade, now. It's only Brindle's better nature, generally-calm attitude and the knowledge that the owner is a well-armed retired-Crasher that have kept an outright war from erupting.

If somebody were to take Brindle out of the equation, an eventuality that would anger Tammy Lee Smead more than she would like to admit, all hell would bust loose.

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