Sometimes I wonder if my sense of humor is a bit... off.


The night he'd found the plans for the Gunslinger, Dell couldn't believe his luck. His grandfather may not have been a great man to chat with, but he had made mechanical engineering more than just a job—he had tied it into his life inextricably, almost perfectly. Better yet, he'd left the instructions to doing so behind, for anyone to pick up and heed.

The problem was, it was only almost perfect. When Dell had riffled through the schematics, and when he'd found the pictures of Radigan (God rest the old bastard's soul) holding the thing up prouder than if it had been his own son, Dell had almost lost his resolve. The Gunslinger was no mere tool like his wrench, nor an accessory that would come and go. It was a complete replacement for his entire goddamned hand.

While Dell admired the old coot's temerity, he was rather attached to his hand, no pun intended. The thing had gotten him out of plenty of scrapes, and it never let him down; it could grasp a wrench tight as a vice. And that wasn't to mention all its help throughout his teenage years! Why, without that hand, Dell would probably still just be a scrawny little nothing from Bee Cave...

It was only after catching himself waxing philosophic about his hand that Dell had shook himself out of his hesitance. ("Got me through my teenage years; the Hell was I even thinking?") He'd set himself to build the thing, and he had. If you asked him, he'd done a mighty fine job of it, too, tinkering with the design a bit to make it more flexible, a little more versatile.

Still, once he had the Gunslinger sitting on his desk, with the shine of new metal still coming off of it... well, he just had to stop and think again. Even if its sentimental value was a joke, there was still the impracticality of it all. Despite the increased range of movement and dexterity he was (somewhat) sure he'd given it, the Gunslinger was a bulky, clumsy thing, and without the benefit of feeling. Dell would have to learn everything over, this time with a clumsier hand. Even its merit of being an enlightening experiment failed to make Dell feel very eager.

Plus, there was the matter of all the women he might drive away with the Gunslinger attached to his wrist. But that thought implied he had any women to drive away at all.

"Aw, Hell."

So it was that, after a few (or maybe more than a few) double shots of whiskey, Dell found himself staring at the Gunslinger with a cleaver in his hand. The buzz of alcohol helped push his worries to the background, and the longer he fingered the knife handle, the more flawless his plan seemed. It would just be a little cut, after all; he'd had so much worse on the battlefield that it was a joke he'd taken this long! He could stand the pain—if it even hurt at all.

"It'll be just like a little bee sting," he chuckled. He failed to notice the cleaver wavering in his weak grip, his eyes glued on his right arm. He'd make the cut riiiight there, just a few inches back from the wrist, and voila! Operation Best Hand Ever would be a go.

"What could possibly go wrong?" Dell wondered aloud, the haze of the whiskey muffling the voice in the back of his mind that was screaming everything.

He swung the cleaver down with all his strength, and missed his mark spectacularly.

"Aw, Jesus fuckin' shit!" Dell instinctively brought his hand closer to him as blood gushed from where his four fingers (and half of his thumb) used to be, his knee banging up against the desk and making his severed fingers wobble in place. "Son of a bitch!"

The pain sobered him up with no regard to his desires, but the sudden push back into reality was what Dell needed. He gritted his teeth against the feeling as he laid his arm back down on the table. If he missed this time, he might as well resign from his job, considering his poor aim—or at least buy himself a pair of glasses.

This time, by some sort of grace, he hit the mark full-on. Unfortunately, the pain hit him full-on, too, and he couldn't help cursing more as he let the cleaver clatter onto the table, shaking his fingers once more. He might have thought pain like this would be stalled if he hadn't already had a similar experience, though that time he'd been cut by the RED Medic's Bonesaw—

But there was no time to think about that, and there was definitely no time to rock back and forth on his stool like a little child. Allowing himself only a few moments more to dwell on the burning sensation that seemed to be everywhere at once, he grabbed the Gunslinger and put himself to work.

He would let no man say he was not dedicated to his work, for better or for worse. He had to hold up the Conagher reputation, after all.