John Rain vs Jack Reacher

This appeared on Lee Child's forum a few years ago. Some people were asking who would win in a fight between Rain and Jack Reacher, Lee's great series character, so I solicited Rain's thoughts. The resulting conversation isn't up on Lee's forum any longer, but it's fun so I thought I'd repost it here. Enjoy.

Okay, I just checked with Rain. "Could you handle this guy Reacher?" I asked. Here's how the conversation went:

Rain: "What do you mean, "handle?"

Me: "You know, could you beat him in a fight?"

Rain: "A fight?"

Me: "Yeah, a fight. Mano-a-mano, who would win?"

Rain [after a pause]: "Barry, I've been talking to you for years, and... Jesus Christ, haven't you learned anything?"

Me [embarrassed]: "What do you mean?"

Rain: "First of all, I haven't been in a 'fight' probably since high school. Check with Reacher, and he'll tell you the same. Fighting is for amateurs."

Me: "Sure, but..."

Rain: "But what? Why the hell would I want to 'fight' Reacher?"

Me: "I mean, if you had to."

Rain: "Why would I have to?"

Me [struggling to think of something]: "I don't know... maybe if there were a contract. And you had to take him out, and just when you were about to do it—"

Rain: "Barry, I'm disappointed. I thought you were past this 'who-would-win-between-a-tai-chi-master-and-a-karate-master' macho fantasy bullshit."

Me: "I'm not. That's partly why I'm a writer."

Rain: "Well, I'm not a writer, I'm a survivor. And you don't survive in my business by going head to head with men like Reacher. He's skilled, he's experienced, and he's got a significant size advantage."

Me: "But if you had to—"

Rain: "All right, just to end the conversation. I wouldn't even think about taking him out without stealth, surprise, and a tool. Good enough?"

Me: "But if he saw you coming—"

Rain: "I'd run away."

Me: "Run away?"

Rain: "Yeah. You can translate that as, 'live to fight another day.'"

Me: "So you're saying..."

Rain: "I'm saying when two tigers fight, one is wounded and the other dies. Some days it'll be one of the tigers, some days the other. Either way, both tigers lose. What don't you understand about that?"

Me: "I don't know. I guess I hadn't thought of it that way."

Rain: "Okay, now you know. When guys like Reacher and me catch sight of each other, we instantly recognize what the other guy is all about and we're both happy to steer clear. That's the way it works in the real world. The rest is just a chop-socky movie."

Me: "But maybe I could come up with some circumstances that would force—"

Rain: "Yeah, yeah, I get it. Look, do me a favor, give Reacher a message from me, okay?"

Me: "Yeah, sure."

Rain: "Tell him I like his style. But he ought to get laid more often. It'll loosen him up."

Me: "I'll pass that along."

Rain: "You working on the sixth story?"

Me: "Just finished the outline."

Rain: "They still think it's all fiction?"

Me: "They seem to."

Rain: "Good. I don't want anyone looking for me. Keep up the good work. But enough of the killer ninja combat questions, okay?"

That was it. Not quite what I was expecting, but with Rain it never is.


Go back to the COOL STUFF page.