Legato Bluesummers: An Autobiography
My name is Legato Bluesummers. My painful existence is about to end. I smile at the blonde man holding a gun to my head. Vash the Stampede. For quite some time now my purpose in life has been to make this man-who-is-not-a-man miserable. Yes, my mission is almost complete.
He finally squeezes the trigger and the world explodes into a white-hot blur. I find myself involuntarily reflecting upon my life. What went wrong? Why was I different? How did I come to realize the truth of man's depravity? When did I become the "nihilistic jerk" that coaxed my master's brother into taking a life? I wasn't always like this.
I'll start from the beginning. I was an only child. My father was an accountant and my mother... well, my mother was a bitch. But I loved my father.
***the blinding white light fades to reveal a young blue-haired boy sitting on a man's shoulders. The man's face is blurry. That scene fades into another in which the same boy sitting in front of a large but ruined birthday cake. The boy's father is sitting beside him. Both have cake smeared all over their faces. They're both laughing. Another scene shows the two flying kites made out of newspapers. Another shows the two fishing. The boy is proudly holding up a small sun fish to his father's approval. In yet another the boy is tangled in adding machine paper as the father continues punching in figures.***
I had no worries back then. Life was good, but of course it couldn't last forever. My father was murdered when I was six years old. He had apparently... misplaced... several thousand double dollars of one of his clients' account. His client was very angry and very violent when he discovered the missing money.
***The young blue haired boy is standing on a bench looking down into his father's casket. The face is no longer blurry. The man looks remarkably like Legato. Tears well up in little Legato's golden eyes. There is a woman in black standing next to him. She tells him, "You shouldn't feel sorry for him. He deserved it. Come, it's time to go now." Legato resists the woman as she tries to pull him away from the casket. He clings to it with both hands. Another relative comes to help remove the boy from the room. Legato screams and cries hysterically. His cries echo into the void.***
I think that that was the day I began to slowly withdraw from the world. Things went from bad to worse. I started school but few of the other children accepted me. They hated me because of the way I looked. They called me a demon. Maybe they could see the potential of what I would some day become or maybe I heard it so much that I began to believe it myself and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I grew my hair out and let in fall over my face in an attempt to hide my eyes. That only increased the taunting. My mother inherited a large sum of money from my father's death and wasted it all. She spent much of her time drinking and gambling. She had a series of boyfriends that were interested in her money. Mother paid little attention to me and the attention that I got from her boyfriends, if any, was not welcome.
***An 8 year old Legato lays sprawled on the floor with a bright red hand mark across his face and a collection of bruises on his naked upper body. A large hairy man stands over him. He's obviously drunk. "You want a piece of me, boy?! You think you're a man? Come on, give me your best shot. I'll let you have this one." Legato lunges for the man's leg tearing cloth and flesh with his teeth. "You little monster!" The man effortlessly kicks Legato off his leg, slamming him into the wall.***
That man beat my mother senseless and left her for dead one night. It was the second time he'd beaten her. She finally decided that she had had her fill of it and had him arrested. I didn't feel sorry for her. I thought she must have deserved it. We left town the next day. Although my mother had family in this new city it was no better than the last city I'd lived in. My mother was forever either at work or at the bar. Mother's family ignored me as much as my mother did. I had lost the few acquaintances that I had in the city that I was born in. I was now even more alone than I had been.
I never was never really assimilated into school culture. But that was okay. I had ceased to care about such things. The neighborhood children were always finding new and exciting ways to torment me. There was a group of boys led by a boy named Todd who were particularly cruel. For a long time my only friend was a stray black cat. I named him Shrapnel.
***Legato, approximately 10-11 years old sits on his front porch stroking a large black cat that is sitting in his lap. A handsome boy with dirty blonde hair, followed by a group of brutish looking boys, rides by on a beat-up bicycle. Legato shouts, "Hey! That's MY bike!" Todd replies, "Yeah? What are you gonna do about it, demon-spawn?" Legato sighs and goes back to petting his cat. The cat looks up at Legato, "Mya!" Legato smiles. "I feel the same way, Shrapnel."***
One day my mother found a severed black cat's tail in the mailbox. She was convinced I had done it to frighten her. As she whipped me she lectured me on being kind to animals. I never saw Shrapnel again. I decided that it was my fault for befriending the cat. If the cat hadn't been associated with me he would probably still be alive. I still feel gut-wrenching guilt over that.
After Shrapnel disappeared I withdrew even farther from the world. I stayed in my room when I wasn't at school. I spent years in that room, by myself. During those years I nursed my hatred of mankind and it grew. I began to daydream of mass murder.
***15 year old Legato sits on the floor of his cluttered bedroom with his back against the wall. His face is pale and he has dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. One of his arms is covered with bloody gashes. He holds a razor blade in his other hand. There's a smirk on his lips.***
At first the cutting was to punish myself, but it soon became a hobby of mine. It distracted me from my own dark thoughts. It protected me from myself, if that makes any sense. Sometimes I would think about how if I cut just a little deeper it could all be over. I never worked up the courage to cut myself deep enough, but I found solace in the fact that it could end whenever I wanted. I had control. I always wore long sleeves to hide the wounds. No one save but one person ever knew about the cutting.
***A girl's face appears against the void. She has a shaggy mop of jet black hair, a pale oval face, big chocolate brown eyes and a small almost colorless mouth. She neither ugly nor beautiful. Her mischievous eyes crinkle with a crooked smile that doesn't show any teeth.***
I met her sometime during my 16th year. I was sitting outside on a bench at the far edge of the school yard reading The Anarchist's Cookbook during lunch. Suddenly there was someone sitting beside me.
***A girl with baggy clothes and shaggy black hair plops down on a bench next to teenaged Legato. Legato doesn't look up. "Hey that's a good book you're reading there." Legato doesn't reply. The girl looks around before pulling out a pack of cigarettes, "Want one?" No response. The girl sighs, "Well I guess I'll just have to skip school by myself." Legato looks over at the girl from underneath his bangs. His mouth twists into a smirk. The girl grins, "I thought that might get your attention. You seem to hate it here as much as I do. We're both seen as freaks so we have that in common. Freaks need to stick together. I could really use a friend." Legato stares at the girl blankly. "I don't think I've ever had a friend before. Forgive me if I'm not reacting correctly to all of this." The girl lights a cigarette, "Are you kidding? It's taken me about a month and a half to work up the courage to talk to you. My name's Suzanne by the way." Legato flashes a bold smile, "Legato." Legato waits for her to laugh at his name. She doesn't. Suzanne grabs Legato's hand. He flinches. "Nice to meet you, Legato." She releases the hand. Suzanne looks back in the direction of the school. The students are heading inside. Suzanne frowns, "If we're going to leave now would be the time to do it." They both rise and begin walking away from the school, using a building as cover. "I think I would like one of those cigarettes." Suzanne pulls out a cigarette for Legato and hands him her book of matches. Legato lights it up and attempts to take a drag. He stops in his tracks, coughing violently. "How can you inhale this crap?!" he manages between coughing fits. Suzanne chuckles.***
That day we walked all the way out of town. We found a huge boulder on the deserted outskirts. We named it "Loser's Rock" and decided that that would be our meeting place forever thereafter. We had a lot of fun together. Suzanne was like a dream come true, though I'm not sure how she felt about me.
***Sounds of Legato and Suzanne's laughter echo through the void. A series of images of Legato and Suzanne together flash by. They're making funny faces at each other. Flaming-doggy-pooing Todd's house. Feeding birds. Making pipe bombs. Trying to look innocent when both the girls and boys bathrooms mysteriously explode. High-fiving each other when the school has to be shut down for repairs. Sitting on Loser's Rock watching the sun set. Making sand angels. Eating hotdogs. And finally, Suzanne and Legato laying on their backs on Loser's Rock staring at the stars.
"Legato, do you think that there's a God?" Suzanne asks quietly. Legato laughs, "If there is He must be highly ticked off at me." Suzanne sighs, "No really, what do you think?" Legato sits up and looks down at Suzanne, "I'm not sure but there has to be some kind of intelligence behind creation. There's a method to this madness. I find it hard to believe that it all just spontaneously sprung up from nothing for no reason. I fail to see the reason, but there has to be one. But no, I don't believe in the 'big daddy in the sky watching over us all and crying every time a sparrow drops' view of God. I wonder, though… if there is a perfect God why did he bother making such an imperfect creation as mankind? And why is he disappointed with us when we fail to be perfect? I just don't get it, Suzanne. It doesn't make sense to me." Suzanne sits up and smiles, "You want to know what the meaning of life is, Legato? Do you really want to know?" Legato looks at Suzanne expectantly. "It's simple. The meaning is to have fun. Life is a constant struggle to enjoy ourselves before we die. At least, that's how I see it… although, my logic has been known to be flawed on rare occasions." Legato and Suzanne stare into each other's eyes in silence for a few minutes. "Suzanne, I have something to show you." Legato rolls back his sleeve and shows Suzanne his collection of gashes in various stages of healing. He braces himself for the lecture that he is sure that he's about to hear. It doesn't. Suzanne gently traces the maze of cuts with her finger. After examining Legato's arm for a moment Suzanne unrolls her sleeve and reveals a similar collection of cuts, though not as numerous or as deep as Legato's. Legato realizes for the first time that Suzanne always has her arms and legs covered just like he does.
On an impulse Legato pulls a switchblade out of his pocket. He slices the tip of his index finger open. Not knowing how Suzanne will react, but feeling compelled as if in a trance Legato holds his finger out to Suzanne. She presses her lips into the blood. Legato hands Suzanne the knife and she does the same. After both of their lips have been bloodied Legato leans forward and brushes Suzanne's lips. She kisses him back. They share a long, deep kiss before they both pull away and stare at each other. Legato is the first to speak, "Now our friendship is sealed in blood." Suzanne smiles as she licks the blood from her lips, "You know, Legato, that was strangely erotic." There is an awkward silence and then they both laugh.***
It was that night that I realized that I was in love with Suzanne. I would have done anything for her. Our friendship went on as usual. We pretended like nothing had happened. I think that we were both afraid of what would happen to our friendship if we took it any further. Things felt different. It seemed as though every look, every smile, every touch was designed to seduce me. Everything about her seemed meaningful. My life seemed meaningful. After months of agonizing over it I finally decided to tell her how I felt. I asked her to meet me at Loser's Rock at midnight. I knew she would show up, she always did, but this night was different. She never showed up. I stayed there until dawn and she never arrived. I didn't understand. I couldn't believe she had done that to me. She had never done that to me before. I began running through a list of reasons why she didn't make it. Was she caught sneaking out? No, of course not. Suzanne never got caught. She was a master of stealth. Was she sick? No, she would have come anyway. Did she know what I was going to tell her and was avoiding it? Maybe. It seemed like my mind was always an open book for Suzanne's reading pleasure.
That morning an old lady found my Suzanne's body behind a dumpster. Someone had slit her throat. Her boots and her cigarettes had been stolen. Some bastard killed Suzanne over a pair of boots and a pack of cigarettes! I think that was when I lost my last shred of faith in mankind. My life once again became a burden to me.
I was crushed. I was furious. I decided that I would devote myself to avenging Suzanne. There was no way to know who did it so I began by killing any male over 13 years old that I found on the street and alone at night. I concentrated in the area where Suzanne had been dumped first and then worked my way outward. Strangely, I only remember my first victim. After that they all looked the same to me.
***Legato, 18 years old now, lurks in the shadows of a dark alley watching a young man as he strolls down the street. The man passes by the alley. Legato darts out and grabs the man holding his switchblade to the man's neck. With surprising strength Legato yanks him into the alley and forces him hard against the alley wall, knocking the breath out of the man in the process. "What do you want?!" the man practically shrieks, "I ain't got no money, man!" Legato leans close, talking softly into the man's ear, "I'm not interested in your money." "Then what do you want?" the guy is close to hyperventilating. "Your life." Legato says simply, "You see, I am your own personal demon come to carry you away. Are you ready?" The man struggles with all his strength as Legato slits his throat. Legato backs away to get a better view of the man's final moments. It is a handsome young man with dirty blonde hair. Todd, on his knees now, clutches at his bleeding throat trying in vain to hold it closed. His pale blue eyes, wide with fear, stare up at Legato. He makes gurgling noises. Legato crouches down in front of Todd, peering into his eyes with interest. "I seriously doubt that you would have the audacity to murder Suzanne," Legato says to Todd conversationally, "This is for Shrapnel." Todd lets out a gurgling cough and falls to the ground. Legato rolls Todd onto his back. Todd's wide blue eyes stare fixedly at a point in the sky. After a few moments they glaze over. Legato sighs and stands. He looks up at the stars, "I always wanted to do that. See, Suzanne, I'm still managing to have fun without you."***
As I said, after that the killings were a blur. I killed night after night. My methods were varied. Sometimes I would slip a knife through their ribs and puncture a lung if I needed silence. But if at all possible I liked for them to be able to talk, beg, or at least gurgle frantically. Even after I had mortally wounded them they still pleaded with me not to kill them. That amused me. Sometimes I gutted them. That was always messy. It also made for the best conversation.
It became obvious that there was a serial killer on the prowl. I began to run out of people to kill. At least I had wiped out Todd's band of street punks before everyone decided to start staying indoors at night. I was a suspect, of course, but no one could prove it was me. I decided it was time to move on before they found any evidence.
January was an extremely large city. A beautiful city, if anything made by human hands could be called beautiful. It also had an extensive underground society. I fit right in. I became a paid killer. A petty assassin, if you will. I killed mainly drug addicts or family members of drug addicts who had failed to pay their debts. I used my knife until I could afford a handgun. Even after I had acquired the gun I still preferred using the blade whenever possible. The gun was awkward and impersonal. My knife was like an extension of my own body. It provided for a more intimate experience. I had to remember to keep having fun. My job is what kept me… I don't know if "sane" would be an appropriate word to use here. Let's just say it kept me entertained.
The law finally began catching up with me. My signature knife work was too original and linked me to too many crimes. There is no appreciation for creativity. I found myself needing to get out of town very quickly. With a silent prayer thanking Suzanne for teaching me how to hotwire a car I barrowed a jeep and drove off into the open desert. I had no idea where I was going. I only knew that I had to get away. I'm not even sure why I ran. I courted death every day yet when it came down to it my instinct of self preservation kicked in.
***Legato's jeep spits and sputters to a halt. The suns shine brightly upon the parched earth. Everything shimmers with the heat. Legato hops out of the car and goes to the back of the jeep to retrieve a gas container. "Empty!" He mutters an inaudible curse as he scans the area. He starts off out into the desert on foot in the same direction that he had been driving after grabbing a large canteen from the jeep. He walks for a seemingly endless number of hours. In the distance he sees a huge object jutting out of the desert. It looks as though it could provide some shelter. He heads towards it. When he finally reaches it he is near passing out. He doesn't pay much attention to the extinct spaceship as he crawls under its shade.
"This looks like a pleasant place to die." Legato murmurs to himself. He removes his shirt and bundles it under his head to form a grossly inadequate pillow and lies down on his back. Sweat glistens on his bare chest. He lies there for the rest of the evening. After the sun sets he is forced to put his shirt back on to ward off the freezing cold desert night. He stares up on the stars and tries to imagine Suzanne lying there next to him. He remembers how he and Suzanne used to gaze up at the stars and pick out obscene constellations that no one else saw. "…and that one looks like you in a frilly pink set of bra and panties." Suzanne points out the constellation she's referring to. He squints up at the sky, "How the hell can you tell they're pink?" Legato asks softly before falling asleep.
Legato wakes up with a start to a sharp pain in his ribs. "Wha...?" He is momentarily blinded by the bright sunlight before his eyes adjust. "What are you doing here?" Legato stares up at the figure standing over him. For a moment he thinks it's Todd before he realizes the hair is short, platinum blond spikes and the facial structure is totally different. "Well?" the imposing figure demanded. "Dying." is Legato's reply hoarse reply. "Of course you're dying, you idiot. That's what humans do. They die. They lay waste to everything around them and they die. You're useless." Legato doesn't respond. He can't argue with that line of reasoning***
I still don't know why my master brought me inside, but he did. He asked me many questions about myself. I didn't ask him much. I didn't have to; he told me all about himself and his brother, Vash. He told me about project SEEDS. I didn't believe him.
***Legato's body slams against a bulkhead. His arm is twisted painfully behind his back. The odd thing is that nothing is touching him. "Believe me yet?" Knives asks pleasantly. Legato pants, "Either what you say is true, or I'm dead. That must be it. I'm dead. I'm dead and this is hell." Yes, that made sense to Legato. Knives chuckles, "No, I'm afraid not. You're still very much alive and you will continue to live as long as you are useful. Do you think you could make yourself useful? I like you. I think we could be… friends."***
He offered me more power than I could ever dream of. The power to snuff out one life or a thousand lives with a single thought. All that was required of me was my unfaltering loyalty. I had a new reason for living.
***Legato is lying on a hospital table wearing nothing but paper scrub pants. A bright light shines from somewhere up above. There is some sort of lost technology at his left side. It consists mainly of a tank full of liquid with numerous small robotic arms inside. His arm has been inserted into the tank through a one-day valve at his shoulder. Once inside the tank his arm has been cut off and discarded. A new arm is being grafted on in its place. Little robotic arms hold it to Legato's stump as others stitch it on and yet others have needles stuck into the stub and the new arm. The arms with the needles are constantly poking into the appendage and then retracting to be inserted in a new position. Knives stands at the opposite end of the room wearing surgical clothing and watches the machine's progress.***
That is how I began my work as Knives' servant. I was intoxicated by the new power I had. It was ecstasy to be linked to such a perfect being. I loved my master for what he had given me. He thought it was "cute" how I was fascinated by the fact that I could bend spoons with my will. In return for what he had given me I devoted my whole self to his cause. I surrendered my will to his will.
And here I am now. I've sacrificed myself for my master's sake. I bask in this moment of joy for what I have accomplished. The light is fading now and it's becoming cold in this place. I close my eyes as my world fades to black. Another light has been extinguished because of you, Vash the Stampede.
Feel free to shower me with praise or pummel me with rotten plant matter and insults. My email is Delirious Rat@aol.com (yes, the evil empire supports spaces in email addresses)
Trigun and all characters and situations are (c) Yasuhiro Nightow and Young King Comics, with U.S. distribution rights by Pioneer Animation. This work is a non-profit fan fiction.