keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Chapter 46: Beam 172
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 225
As Beam and Bron were finishing the dinner dishes, Ashleigh sat on the table and said, “Shouldn’t your witch and I be doing that? I mean, it’s woman’s work, right?”
The men looked at each other, but continued their work.
“Bron and I,” Beam said, “were both bachelors for quite a while, so we’re accustomed to doing this kind of thing. Don’t get me wrong--I would rather not have to wash up. I use to tell people that if I made the meal I’ve done my share and someone else should do the cleanup. Then I stayed with a guy whose attitude was that if I made a mess cooking I should have to clean it up, and then maybe I would learn not to make so much of a mess in the future. And I have to admit that when he cooked he managed to keep things cleaner as he worked. I can’t be bothered with that, but that means I have more mess at the end, and I can see that it’s not that fair for me to make an unnecessary mess and expect someone else to clean it up.”
He glanced at her as he scrubbed at a pan. “Besides, if I tried to get the two of you to work together, you would probably destroy the rest of our cooking gear and both require medical attention.”
The abrupt droop of her shoulders suggested she was admitting this.
“Still,” he added, “if you want to help, you can find a rag and wipe down the table and the stove and the counters.”
Apparently willing to help, she hopped up and tracked down something suited to the job. The three worked in silence for a bit.
“So,” Bron asked, “what are the plans?”
“Which plans?” Beam responded.
The white haired man pondered a moment. “I don’t know quite how to get a hundred bodies out of the flooded basement. We don’t have a pump to drain it, or a way to fish them out. I could get Bob to levitate them out, but that’s a lot of work and a lot of chances for something to go wrong.”
“I have a grappling hook,” Ashleigh said.
The two men turned to look at her, as water ran down the drain.
“I’m sorry, what?” Beam asked.
“A grappling hook? I use it to get on top of roofs and reach windows and such. It’s got about fifteen feet of silk cord, strong enough to support me.”
The two men looked at each other.
“Can we use that?” Beam asked.
“Will the bodies hold together?” Bron asked.
Beam shrugged. “It’s worth a try. Assuming we can fish them out of the basement, how difficult would it be to haul them up the stairs and outside with the wheelbarrow?”
Bron shook his head. “Not easy at all. But you know what? We’ve got those two six-legged carts. If we empty one of them, we can probably load bodies into it two or three at a time, and get it to carry them outside.”
“We’d have to use the weapons cart,” Beam said. “We don’t want to contaminate the food cart. But Dawn won’t complain.”
“Because she’s Dawn. I think we can do this.”
“Ashleigh, you’re brilliant. Bron, you, too. I think we have a plan for tomorrow.”
“What about tonight?”
Beam smiled and nodded. “I think I know what I’m doing tonight.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #482: Versers Engage. 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: