Thursday, 28 January 2016

"The Tradesmen"

"The Tradesmen" is an ironic title for David Drake's Draka story. Drake shows us the horror of life - or should I say death - in a Draka War Zone. When the enemy have been driven back, irregulars are paid with gold coins to kill civilians so that the land can be cleared for Draka settlement. One Draka woman, with no estate back home, has already moved her family into the Zone and is hunting and killing noncombatant men, women and children to hasten the process. She has staked her claim to some of the land and is enriching herself at the same time.

A colonel tells her:

"'Good Christ, woman!...We have to do this; we don't have to like it!'" (Drakas!, p. 132)

They have to do it?

A neat story focusing not on military action but mainly on heated exchanges when it is disclosed that the Powers That Be have reduced the bounty for each left ear (proof of killing) from one hundred to sixty aurics.

The Draka lady's response is:

"'The hell you say, lardbelly!...The hell you say.'" (p. 134)

An irregular is even less ladylike:

"'No fucking way I let you Draka bastards cheat me!...No fucking way.'" (p. 137)

However, the moral of the story is that economic realism wins the day. This is quite a good story, although I do not fully understand the joke at the end.


David Birr said...

Can you quote the joke without giving spoilers? Maybe one of us will grasp and be able to explain it.

Paul Shackley said...

I think that it would be a spoiler.