In The End: A Marvel Short


by Dom Gazzuolo

“Ugh…wha…” A startled man pokes his head out from a low line of bushes. He rubs his head and looks around while he winces. His surroundings consist of a tree spattered area with an occasional shrub much like the one the man has awoken from within. The trees nearby have unnatural gashes and a few arrows sticking out of them.

As the skinny tattered man slowly picks himself off of the ground he is revealed to be wearing a Hydra uniform. As he stretches and twists his aches out, a purple feathered arrow is seen sticking out of a butt cheek. He is surprised to look down and find the arrow, but then pauses and recalls (in his head) how it came to be sticking from his right rear cheek. With a grit of his teeth, and a quick jerk, the HYDRA soldier removes the arrow. After a brief chill-like shutter, the man walks about the deserted area…with a limp.

Bringing his hand to a scarred tree he traces a set of 3 slash marks with his fingers.

“He hates trees. Ha!”

A slight noise in the background takes the soldier out of his personal humorous moment. He looks off into the distance.

“A truck!”

The man runs quickly and awkwardly (because of the wound) towards the sound until he hits a road cutting through the forested area. Coming up slowly is a pick-up truck. The man tries to knock some of the dirt off of himself, stands out in the road and puts his hands-up to flag the truck down. The truck comes to a slow stop in front of him.

A single man is staring back at the Hydra soldier. The pick-up truck driver is wearing an old tattered baseball cap and smoking a cigarette.

“Hey. Thanks,” the soldier says as he begins to walk to the driver-side window. “I was w…”

“Get in the back,” the driver says dryly without turning his gaze from straight down the road.

The soldier looks at the empty truck bed.

“Umm, yeah. Okay.” He hops in the back. “Are we going into a town or…”

Vroom! The truck starts up and they begin to move along without an answer from the driver.

The sun starts to drop when the truck finally comes upon a stretch of road which is finally accompanied by a few structures. The driver takes the truck up to the front of a tavern, stops, waits a moment, then reaches his arm out the truck window and slaps the side of the door a couple of times.

“Come on,” the driver grunts.

“Oh..” The disheveled soldier shuffles to his feet and jumps out the back. “Sorry, I didn’t know we were stopping here…”

Vroom! The pick-up truck drives off leaving the soldier to stare after it down the road, into the night. He sighs and turns to the little bar-like outpost sandwiched between parked trucks and motorcycles.

The soldier steps in to find a dimly lit tavern filled with a few locals playing pool and a couple loners sitting at the bar. No television…just a bar with random alcohol brand signs and a few old photos on the wall, behind the booze bottles.

Reaching into a ridiculous pouch on his belt, the soldier double checks to make sure he has his wallet and calls to the bar-keep for a beer.

“Beer. Anything cold and in a bottle.”

The Hydra soldier stands at the bar. The bar-keep snaps the top off the bottle and hands the beer over.

“Man. You would not believe the day I’m having,” starts the soldier trying to make small talk with the bar-keep. “Those Avengers…am I right, buddy?”

The bar-keep stares at the skinny and tattered looking Hydra soldier for a moment then just turns and walks towards the other end of the bar.

After a pause and a swig, a gruff voice interrupts the silence, “Why don’t you take a seat and tell me about it, bub?”

“Umm, I don’t think I can sit. It’s kind of a…pain issue,” replies the soldier as he looks forward, while rubbing his backside.

“Aw come on…it’s not like you were shot in the ass with an arrow.”

Confused, the soldier turns to see Wolverine sitting at the bar hunched over wearing a cowboy hat, drinking a beer. Just beyond him is an arrow sticking straight-up from the bar, with bills impaled on the arrow’s shaft. Wolverine pops his claws with the hand holding his beer bottle.

“Take a seat, and I won’t hurt you.”

The soldier quickly sits next to Wolverine.

“Ughhh,” lets out the soldier as he sits down and feels the pain from his arrowed ass-wound.

“Drink up kid. The booze’ll help.”


30 minutes later…

“…but seriously, I didn’t see what happened but you sure messed-up some trees from the looks of things, when I came to. Ha! Why do you hate trees?”

The hydra soldier is now drunk and leaning too close to Wolverine as he rambles on.

“Truth is…them trees had it coming though, huh? Always stand’n there instead of leaf’n us alone.”

The soldier drunkenly smiles and pauses as he looks at Wolverine for a reaction to his horrible joke. Wolverine lowers his head and shuts his eyes in disgust.

“Cause trees have leafs! Get it! Ah man…! Wolverine…hey…I…hey! Can I call you Wolver?”

“No.”

“Wolver, you’re not so bad. I don’t know why I was sent to track you and… Hey! How did you know I was tracking you earlier today? And since when do you go shooting people with arrows. I understand cutting up some trees who wood-n’t…(the soldier pauses and looks for a reaction to his pun)…fuck man…an arrow?!”

“I don’t shoot arrows. That was Hawkeye. He was with me earlier.”

“Hawkguy? Never heard of him. Sounds like a…”

“Hawkeye! The Avenger…”

“Ohhhh! Hahaha! Eye…”

The soldier laughs and takes another drink of beer then rubs his ass and winces.

“He didn’t have to shoot me. F-ing Hawkguy…”

“Alright kid…,“ Wolverine throws a bunch of cash on the bar and begins to get up. “Thanks for the…conversation. Gotta go.”

The soldier flinches back a bit.

“Umm, do I have to come with you? Am I going to…jail or something?”

“You wanna go to jail or something?,” Wolverine asks.

“No, Wolver.”

“Good. Cuz I don’t want you on my bike and I had my fill of you already. Don’t come after me again.”

“No, Wolver…I mean yes…I mean, I won’t.”

“Good. Cuz next time I’m not buying your beer and there won’t be any trees for me to take it out on.”

Wolverine walks out of the bar and leaves the soldier behind.

The drunken Hydra soldier just stares towards the door and pauses for a moment…lost in drunken thought.
Crack! The sound of another round of pool snaps the drunken soldier out of his drunken day-dream. He spins back around towards the bar with a smile on his face and a beer in hand. He slams his bottle down.

“Bar-keep! Another round! …’any trees to take it out on’…heh, heh. Classic Wolver.”

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