Con Version; Chapter 6, Cooper 2

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Stories from the Verse
Con Version
Chapter 6:  Cooper 2
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 283

The path ran around the mountainside until it came to a fork between one path that led lower and one that continued around toward the Matterhorn.  Yearning to take the leftward path, he went down instead.  A mule pulling a wagon led by a young lad was climbing uphill toward him.  It took most of the track, and Professor Brian Cooper stood to the side.  He put on a gentle smile as the teenaged driver pulled up alongside him, and stopped.

The dark haired boy was pale faced, about twelve, dressed in a pair of black shorts, leather strap sandals with straps that ran up to the knee, a white linen tunic, and an overcape of white which covered his head.  He spoke.

“Guten abend, Herr.”

Summoning what little German he had, Barrelmaster translated that to ‘Good night, mister.”

“Guten abend, ah, uh, junger mann,” which was ‘good evening, young man,’ with some struggles for memory inserted.  A mumble, and a large blond-headed man rose up to sitting position in the back of the wagon, with straw in his curly hair, a spiked beard, and a magnificent mustache.  Seeing the other man, his hand went quickly to his side, but Cooper spoke gently.

“Ich komme im Frieden Christi,” which translated was “I come in the peace of Christ.”  The blond, burly man relaxed, and replied.

“Ich komme im Frieden Christi, Herr.”  Then he added several more sentences in German which Professor Cooper did not get.

“Ich spreche schlecht Deutsch.” Cooper said with an apologetic smile.  The two looked and nodded, and smiled at each other.  Then slowly they spoke.

“Mein name ist Wilhelm.”

“Mein name ist Hans.”

“Mein name ist--” He considered.  He had used Barrelmaster, but it had connotations of beer and alcohol drinking which he did not like.  “Cooper.”

Several dozen questions occurred to him, but he could see that both were tired.  He did not want to be overbearing or pushy.  Not sure what to do, he prayed.

“Es ist past,” it is late.  “Haben Sie einen Platz zum Schlafen?” the older man asked him.  That was something about place?  The young man mimed sleeping, and Brian understood:  do you have a place to sleep?

“Nein,” he said.

The man reached out a muscular arm with a palm open in clear invitation.  This led to another problem.  Professor Cooper needed to gather his stuff, but he could see the sun dipping toward the horizon, turning orange.  It was already cool; it would be cold tonight, but he had to get his gear which was somewhere down the mountain.  What to do?

Then he remembered a trick taught to him at Umak Tek.  It was not magic, or psionics, which he avoided.  Instead, it was some natural property of the scriff.  He pulled out a quarter, and handed it to the man.

“Münze für mich halten,” hold this for me.  “Ich komme später,” I come later.  Both boy and man nodded, and giving him warning looks mimed shivering after pointing to the descending sun.  He nodded seriously back, even as the air cooled further.  With waving hands, they left him to climb the trail, and he descended it hoping to find his other gear.

Next chapter:  Chapter 7:  Takano 86
Table of Contents

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 #498:  Characters Restart.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Re Verse All

In Verse Proportion

Con Verse Lea
Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

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