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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 105: Takano 45
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Previous chapter: Beam 94
Tommy was for an instant very glad that Lauren was standing in front of her. She wasn’t sure whether that armor she was wearing would stop a bullet, but she was pretty sure that Lauren’s body would. Lauren, though, was answering the man.
“I apologize most profusely,” she said. “My companion and I have traveled quite a distance, and still have a long way to go. We had decided that we had traveled far enough for today and were looking for a place to camp for the night. We came to your door, and it opened for us, but looking around I had just decided someone lived here and was about to leave.”
“Uh-huh,” the man said. “I don’ suppose you were plannin’ to take anythin’ with you?”
“That seems silly,” Tommy said. “From what I can tell if we want anything we can just tell the computer and it will bring it to us.”
A puzzled expression, possibly concern, came across the man’s face. “Are you a ner?”
“Um--I don’t know what that is.”
“A ner--one o’ the priests that can talk t’ th’ gods through their altars.”
Tommy laughed. “I talk to God, sometimes,” she said. “I’m a Presbyterian, and not a priest. But I know nothing of altars. We just pray wherever we are.”
This seemed to puzzle the man, so Lauren stepped in. “Look, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to shoot me, and I’m not eager to shoot you, so why don’t you lower your gun so I don’t have to draw mine.”
The man hesitated, then shouldered the weapon. “’Tain’t loaded anywho. It jus’ scares people.”
“Would you like some ammo for it?” Lauren suggested. “I’m sure Tommy could get the computer to deliver some, if we figure out what kind it needs.”
“Might kind of you, ma’am, but if’n I had it I might use it, and if’n I used it I might kill someone, and scarin’ people’s fine, but killin’ ’em ain’t.”
“I understand,” Lauren said. “Well, I can give you my assurance that we haven’t taken anything from you, or if you like you can search through our things to see if anything looks familiar, and then we’ll go and look for another place to spend the night.”
“Don’ be so hasty, ma’am,” he said. “I don’ get much comp’ny out here. Sometimes I run into someone at the grocer, but not often. Let me make you dinner and offer you accommodations in the spare bedrooms.”
Suddenly affecting his accent, Lauren replied “Why, that’s right kind of you, sir. Let me help you pick up your groceries and get you into the kitchen.”
“No need, no need,” he insisted, but as she was gathering the spilled items he did not interfere.
“There,” she said, having dropped the accent. “This way?” And she carried the bag into the kitchen and set it on a counter. “I know in my kitchen I’m very particular about where things go, so we’ll go settle in the--the den?” she said pointing to the less elegant of the two sitting rooms. He nodded as if in affirmation, and Lauren pulled her cart through the doorway into the other room.
Well, we’re not going to have martial arts training today, Tommy thought, with a slight tinge of pleasure.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #392: Characters Resting. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: