Pin’s Gambit

	“Gimme the five eighths, big guy,” The gremlin barked from beneath the car she was working on. 
	“Sure,” The man replied as he went to the tool bench. It took him a second to find it, but he quickly brought it back to the vehicle, “Here.”
	“Thanks. Nope,” She took only a moment to test the wrench’s size before handing it back, “Need the twenty one over thirty two.”
	“Pin…” Her husband sighed.
	“Just humor me, Jack,” She asked as she slid out on the skateboard, “I think we’re getting somewhere, I just need to tear this part out,” The gremlin was wearing a bright orange jumpsuit that was covered in oil and grease. Round goggles covered both of her orange eyes, and her messy green hair was pulled back into a bun. 
	Jack nodded, “Got it. This thing just looks–”
	“Like a piece of shit. I know,” Pin finished his sentence as she was handed the wrench she wanted, “This baby is gonna be awesome once I get it working!”
	The two were in an old airplane hangar turned workshop. The large rounded building had three workbenches, each mid project that had been put on hold by the gremlin to work on the car she had gotten ahold of. Other things in the hangar were a plane owned by her friend, a half built mecha, a few cars that needed work, and boxes upon boxes of tools, parts, and other miscellaneous machinery. Pin backed up and admired the old car she had rescued was an old 1973 Chevrolet El Camino. The vehicle was long, only had two seats, but had a bed in it like a pickup truck despite looking more like a car. It had definitely seen better days. The blue paint was peeling, the windows all needed to be replaced, the interior was a mess, and the underside and engine both needed to be worked on heavily, “Well,” Jack started, “We still need to find a replacement for the center console. That plastic is all chewed up by something. A new bumper. I’m sure you can manufacture some new body parts for it. That hood is rusted through.”
	“I know, I know,” Pin reached down and picked up her pet rat as it scurried by. The rotund rodent sniffed the air and sat limp in her arm as she scratched its head, “But hey, I’ll let you paint it how you want. Maybe we’ll get a cool sparkly red wrap on it, maybe a matte green with the Gremtech logo for when we haul equipment on site,” She put the rat down and watched it scurry to where the two cats slept on a leather chair and joined them in the cuddle pile.
	“Past that, we still need to tear out the engine and replace it with a mana reactor,” Jack added, “At least you can do that quickly.”
	“Right. I’ve got some people looking for parts. I’ve got enough parts for a mana engine,” She replied, “And I’ve got my husband to help. You’ll paint it like those little people and tanks, right?”
	“Not exactly…” He scratched his head and frowned, “I’ve never painted a car. The last thing I want to do is mess up your passion project.”
	“Oh, shut up, you’re fine. We can always just strip the damn paint. Speaking of, grab the paint stripper and a brush and get to work on this shit,” Pin ordered as she got back on the skateboard and went under the vehicle. 
Jack sighed and put on his own dark blue jumpsuit and ran his fingers through his dark brown hair, “I hope this is all worth it.”
	“It will be! Stop being such a fucking downer!” Pin barked. 
	Jack didn’t reply. Instead the man grabbed some trash bags and painters tape. He taped off the windows and covered them with a portion of trash bag before getting the powerful paint stripper painted on. After a few minutes, the paint and the stripper was scraped off, leaving the metal shell of the car bare. Admittedly, it wasn’t as rusted as he expected. As he started getting the tape off, a buzz rang out from the nearby tool bench, “Phone’s ringing,” Jack called to Pin.
	“Pick it up for me, would ya?” There was a metallic bang from under the car as Pin tossed a piece aside.
	Grabbing the phone, Jack answered it quickly, “Yo!”
	“Ay, Jack,” A gravelly female voice came through the phone, “It's Wik,” The pyrow greeted, “I called Pin’s phone, didn’t I? I wasn’t lookin’ to talk to your ugly mug,” The smile on her lips could easily be heard.
	Jack ignored the teasing but could practically smell the smoke miasma that always covered the demon and her husband, “You did. She’s–” There was another loud metal bang, “a little busy. What’s up?”
	“I was hoping to talk to her about whisky, but I’ll cut right to the chase. We found the car she’s looking for. Me an’ Bob spotted one in a yard a way outside of town on a bike ride– Tell Pin that the fixes she made are workin’ great, by the way. The car is just sittin’ out there, plopped down under a tree. Doesn’t look like it’s goin’ anywhere soon. I have the address, if you want it.”
	“Yeah, of course we do!”
“Got a pen? Get ready to write this down.”	
	Jack quickly wrote it down on his phone, “Thank you. I’ll tell Pin to give you a call later. Gotta go, I’m sure she’s gonna want to leave right away.”
	“No worries. Tell her I want my finders fee in dwarven cigars and liquor. See ya.”
	Jack put the phone down and made a mental note of that final mention, “Pin! We found one! Get your coat!”

	“Should be about two miles out then to the right,” Pin explained as she looked up from her GPS. 
	“Got it,” Jack gripped the steering wheel as he rounded a bend in the countryside. The sunshine streamed through white fluffy clouds and made the fields of morning dew covered grass shine. 
	Pin had changed into a wool lined flight jacket, a t-shirt, and jeans. Her emerald hair flowed free down her shoulders and back. Her goggles hung around her neck as she sipped orange juice and champagne from a jeweled flask, “What do ya think they’re doing with this thing just sitting in their yard?”
	“Dunno,” Jack shrugged, “Think they’ll part with it?”
	“They fuckin’ better,” Pin grunted as she put her drink away. The duo stared out their windows as they rounded another bend. A quaint little house surrounded by low wiring fencing was their destination. In the front of the house were numerous fruit trees, each one slowly growing its leaves back as the warmth of spring neared. The house was an off white, yellowish color. It was an older building, but well taken care of. Behind it was a red barn, the sounds of cows, chickens, goats, and sheep were all audible in the late morning sunshine. Pin pressed herself against her door, “There!” Off to the side of the building was her goal, an old ‘73 El Camino. The body of it had all been painted over, including the headlights and once chromed bumper. Bottles of wine, suns, and clouds had all been painted on it, “Oh, what the hell did they do to it?”
	“That’ll all come off, calm down,” Jack turned into the driveway. At one point in his life, he would have been terrified to go and talk to a stranger like this, but with Pin by his side, he felt emboldened as he coasted down the long, rocky driveway. As he pulled alongside the house, he saw the garage behind the house where a man stood working on a tractor. Jack could see the same concentration he usually made when working on machinery on the man's face. To the side of the barn were rows upon rows of grape vines and raised planters, “Looks like a real farm.”
	“Yeah, I’m gonna go talk to that guy,” Pin pushed her door open as the car came to a stop, “Oi! Tractor troubles?”
	The man looked over, “A gremlin? On a day like this, you’re more like an angel here to save me,” The man took off a glove and wiped his brow. He had short blonde hair and wore a tanktop and jeans. He was a little older than Jack, but not by many years, “Thing won’t get any power. Darn mana things. I miss gas and oil.”
	“Got it, let’s take a look-see. Oh, these John Deer things are pieces of shit,” Pin scoffed, “It’s like they built these to be a shitty time to work on. Let’s– Aha! Your engine valves are leaking. Look at these. Those rubber gaskets aren’t doing shit. Wish I had my damn tools,” Despite her grumbling, Pin got to work immediately. 
	“The man calls you an angel and you start swearing,” Jack chuckled, “Sorry for just rolling up on your property.”
	“Ah, don’t worry. The wife loves company. What brings you both around here?” He extended his hand for a shake which Jack quickly reciprocated. The farmer’s grip was quite strong, “Name’s Kyle.”
	“Kyle? Jack,” He replied, “Well, we’re out here because of that,” With his thumb, he pointed at the old car that sat on cinder blocks.
	“That piece of junk? Come to think of it, there were two others who took a quick look at it before driving off,” Kyle shrugged. “Never thought that would be a hot ticket item.”
	The two men wandered over to it. The old car had no wheels and was only held up by some cinder blocks. In the back of the car were some potted plants, each one growing well despite the late winter and early spring cold. The entire car had been painted a mint green which had become the canvas for numerous spray paint drawings. Jack pulled the door open to find the interior was quite well maintained, like it hadn't been driven in decades, “How’d you end up with this?” Jack wondered.
	“Found it out in the barn when we bought the property. Knew we’d never fix it up, so Iris decided to make it a lawn ornament. Now it holds some of her plants.”
	“Iris?” Jack echoed.
	“The ol’ ball and chain. She should be back soon. Hey! Iris!” He shouted toward the back yard.
	“Be there in a second!” A feminine voice replied. Her accent was thick, Jack pinned it as some kind of mediterranean, it reminded him of his pal’s minotauran wife’s speech. Sure enough, the woman appeared shortly. With hips that swayed as she walked, her cloven feet clacking on the ground as she went. Her legs were covered in wine colored, curly hairs up to her waist. Said waist had a rope tied around it with gardening tools and a pan flute. Other than the rope, the only clothes she wore was a thick band covering her breasts of a deep purple color with the hem adorned with orange feathers. Her waist length, semi messy, purple hair flowed freely in the mid morning breeze and her plum colored eyes smiled as she spotted her visitor, “Good morning!” She adjusted the large basket she carried as she approached, “A friend of yours, Kyle?” Her large curled horns glistened in the sunshine.
	“Nah, they’re here about the car,” Kyle gestured to it.
	“Oh? What about it caught your eye?” Iris asked with a cheeky smile.
	Jack shrugged, “It looks like it's in good shape. Relatively,” He scratched his head, wishing his wife wasn’t preoccupied. 
	Like an answer to his prayer, the tractor came to life with a quiet groan, “Hahaha!” The gremlin cackled as she drove the tractor around the house to where the group stood. 
	“Well, looky there,” Kyle nodded in satisfaction, “The gremlin really is an angel!”
	Pin jumped down as she turned the tractor off, “Should last you a while. But you really should bring it by my shop to be serviced,” She grinned.
	“Thank you so much!” Iris grinned, “If I knew a mechanic was coming I would have prepared a meal!”
	“It's close enough to lunch for that, right?” Kyle asked, “Jack, this is Iris.”
	Jack nodded, “Nice to meet you. This is my wife, Pin.”
	“Heya,” Pin smiled, “So, uh, what happened to this beauty?” 
	“How about we speak over lunch,” Iris offered, “I simply must pay you back for your work and I just harvested some nice looking greens, onions, and garlic!”
	“Stew, salad, and some steaks,” Kyle decided, “Will ya join us for lunch?”
	“Can’t talk about cars on an empty stomach,” The gremlin decided, “C’mon, Jack.”

	Jack slowly munched on the melt-in-your-mouth garlic buttered steak as Pin and Iris went back and forth in their conversation. Kyle glanced at the other man as he finished his salad. The two had bickered all lunch. Both sipped on wine that the satyr had made herself many springs ago, “Bullshit! No way is that center console and bumper worth that much to you!” Pin cried, “I fixed your damn tractor!”
	“And I made you a wonderful meal to repay you,” Iris indignantly stated, “You asked me my price and I gave it. I’m attached to it.”
	Pin’s fingers rapped on the hardwood table. The inside of their house was mostly normal. The living room had a long couch, a wide TV, and a few tables. The walls in the living room, kitchen, and dining room were all adorned with tapestries depicting Greek myths, shields, busts, swords, and paintings. Bottles of wine sat in a glass doored cabinet which decorative grape vines flowed off of a stone bust of a satyr, “Is there any mechanical work you need done? Replacement parts for the tractor?”
	“Money would be a lot more useful. I feel it might just need to be wholly replaced at this point.”
	Kyle wiped his mouth, “Ya two have been goin’ around and around for an hour.”
	“We can look somewhere else, Pin. This isn’t the only El Camino in the world,” Jack said, moving on to the last of his salad.
	The two women stared at their respective husbands. Neither had much of a will to back down. Kyle sighed, “How about ya play that game with her for it, Iris? We don’t need that stuff, really.”
	The satyr’s eyes lit up, “Oooh. Maybe that would do. Especially since you won’t play anymore.”
	“Huh?” Jack made a concerned face.
	“A game of chance, perhaps?” Pin smirked, “Or maybe a good old drinking game?”
	“One of dexterity,” The satyr corrected, “Come to the terrace.”
	All four rose from the table and moved to the back door. There was a large tiled and roofed area surrounding a fountain depicting a satyr pouring water from a large bottle. There were four ancient greek styled couches surrounding a tall bronze pole with a dish about halfway down. Kyle brought out a smooth, flat disk and balanced it on the top of the pole as Iris brought out two bottles of wine and four greek styled drinking containers that looked more like bowls to Pin. In the larger of the two, Iris poured the nicer of the two bottles into the larger cups while pouring the cheaper wine into the smaller cups, “The game is called kottabos. We lounge on these couches and take turns lobing wine-lees– that’s the yeast sediment from the brewing process for you non-brewers– at the target.”
	“The disk on the top,” Kyle added.
	“Right. You have to knock it down and have it crash into the disk halfway down.”
	“How much do we play to?” Pin quickly asked as she stripped her hoodie off. 
	“Until the mad satyr decides the game is over,” Kyle scoffed.
	She smiled in response, “This will not be like the parties my kin would throw! I will not drive these two mad with endless drinking and games!” She laughed, “Though maybe we can get Pin to sacrifice Jack for favor from the gods!”
	Pin flashed a revolver from her bottomless bag as a humorless response. Jack sighed, “This feels like some weird, old school beer pong.”
	Iris, still smiling, adorned herself in a toga and tossed one to Pin, “Feel free to take some practice throws!”
Pin took her position, laying on her side, propped up on one arm on a couch. She took the smaller cup full of wine-lees and flung the contents at the pole. The wild spray went everywhere, splashing on the ground. Jack refilled her cup every time. It took ten throws before she got it down, figuring out how to move her arm to keep the lees in a clump when she threw it. Pin nodded, “I guess I’m as ready as I can be.”
	“Don’t sound so disheartened,” Jack pat her arm, “We’ll figure something out if we don’t get these.”
	“First, a toast,” Iris raised the larger cup of wine and Pin did the same, both of them downing a few large gulps of wine, “I will go first,” Iris declared, “Quite a simple game, isn’t it? All about dexterity and–” The satyr’s throw went totally wide and splashed against the brick, “Ah.”
	Kyle refilled her cup and brought out the hose to clean the mess that would be made. Pin went next, lobbing a blob of sediment that went a little low. Iris missed again and then Pin managed to graze the disk on top. It shook but stayed atop the pole. Iris threw hers, hitting the disc and knocking it down, but failing to hit the disk halfway down the pole. Both of the mamano drank more wine as Kyle set it back up. Pin, now somewhat inebriated, felt at ease as she prepared another throw. She glanced at her husband before going back to the pole. She lobbed her shot, hitting the edge of the disk and causing it to fall again. Like the crash of cymbals, the brass disks collided before the top one fell to the ground, “Did I do it?” Pin asked.
	“Yup,” Iris sighed, but smiled about it, “Those parts you wanted are yours, Pin,” She yawned as she clenched her hands in victory, “Thanks for playing with me, I’d keep it going but I’m quite sleepy. It's a good afternoon for a nap.”
	“No problem,” Pin sighed with relief, “Feel free to bring that tractor over sometime for some service.”
	“And you are free to return, especially if you wish to humor me with another game!” She chuckled.
	Pin nodded, “Sure, hopefully we can have a bit more fun with it. Come on, big guy. Lets get that stuff and get out of here, we’ve got work to do!”
	In about half an hour, Pin and Jack removed the bumpers and some parts from the interior. Soon, the two took off, saying their goodbyes to a couple new friends, “They were nice,” Jack said as he pulled out of the driveway.
	“She was one of the least insane satyrs I’ve ever met,” Pin stared over the home brewed wine bottle she had been sent off with, “We’ll have to have them over along with the others sometime.”

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