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   Chapter 7 No.7

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5068

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

"Just wanted to give you a little warning. There's a lady on board today, " Linus said.

"Is there? Well, ain't my face red! How do you do, ma'am! I hope you don't mind if I wait until you all are a mite closer before I introduce myself proper, just so's I don't have to yell quite so much."

There was an odd twang to the man's voice, but an earnest quality to his words. He also had a peculiar manner of dressing, at least from Nita's point of view. In Caldera, unless one's occupation dictated otherwise, a certain formality applied to even the most basic outfits. Clothes were tailored, carefully selected, and properly displayed, but no sign of similar care stood out in this man's ensemble. His pants were of a black canvas, faded to gray at the knees. He wore a long brown coat, the sleeves rolled to his elbows, revealing a tan shirt with long sleeves that were similarly rolled. The coat was open, and beneath it was a black vest and a loose-fitting belt weighted heavily down on one side. Now and again a gust of wind pushed the coat open enough to reveal a pistol. The man himself was rail thin, with sandy-blond hair cropped short and a face with a few days of stubble. He had a friendly but incomplete smile and more than a few scars on both his hands and face. Compared to the dark skin of most native Calderans, his skin was very fair, though the sun had baked it a bit brown.

The Triumph pulled close to his little dinghy and threw across ropes to tether them together.

"I apologize for what yo

ou a half bag of salt."

"If we're talking salt, I figure three bags is more in line with the cap'n's expectations."

"I'll go as high as a full bag."

"Then you'll be getting your picture box from someone else."

"Fine, a bag and a half."

Cooper tipped his head from side to side, then quietly said, "I'm not so good with figurin'. How's that compare to three?"

"Favorably, " Drew said.

"It's half as much, " Nita clarified.

"Eh, half'll do. It's a pain lugging it up and down. Anything else?"

"Just a bottle of whiskey. Ten year."

"The man's got some fine taste. I keep a bottle of this myself, for toothaches and such like." He fished out a stout bottle of thick brown glass. "Let's see. That was a bag and a half for the picture box and all that, plus a quarter bag for the girly pictures. What's say we just call the whole lot of it two bags, so's I don't have to go pouring things out?"

"Suits me, " Drew said, hefting the two bags across and receiving his goods in exchange.

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