#22 Pierre

| November 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

He never quite knew how to answer when people asked him if he was French.  Maybe, somewhere along the line, he guessed he must have had some in the gumbo that was his swapland bloodline.  A little French, a little Seneca, a little African, and yeah, maybe eve a little Anglo for good measure.  Who knew?  His people weren’t exactly the type to keep tidy records, anyway.  His name, well, apparently one of his grandpaps carried it- and on up the line to who knows what unlucky frenchie got hisself stranded with the gators and the spanish moss, knee deep in the muck that was his family legacy.

Not that he should speak so ill of his roots.  His granmama would tan his hide, she heard him talikn’ that way, but he was miles from swamp, and planned on being so for the rest of his natural life.  Blame the teaspoon of Anglo in him, but he’d had about all he could handle of the hot and humid.  He liked winters, places that had weather, land that was dry enough to track on easy as you please, with predators you could hear walking up to you.

But there were times when his past caught up with him, when he could hear his grams talking in his ear like she was standing right there beside him.  Like every time he laid eyes on little Mouse.  I spite of that, or maybe even because of that, he hadn’t been able to stay away from here ever since she set up her little table across the street from the club he worked at evenings.

He’d scoffed the first time she set up, with her little palm reader’s sign and trinkets laid out over tattered a tattered velvet cloth that did little to hide the wheeled trunk under it.  He had been prepared to walk right past her, maybe even told her to take a hike on personal principle, but then he did walk up to her.  Walked up to her, smelled the cheap liquor on her breath, and was about to lay down some hard local law on her when he looked in her eye.  And picked up one of the little square cloths tied to a string, and was frozen dead still for the space of a couple heartbeats.

“That’s for love,” she said, words softened but not slurred.  “Not what you need.”

She shuffled trough some of the little scraps and picked up a different one, trading it for the other.  Pierre hoped she didn’t see his hands shaking.

She didn’t seem to when she answered.  “Here- this is what you need.  Makes you hard to spot in a crowd.  Won’t hide you in a room less than three, or if someone knows you and is looking, but even then it can fuck up their aim.”

He’d taken it, swallowing, not saying a word, and handed her the five she asked for in return.  He wasn’t that surprised when it had come in damn handy.  He’d rolled in on and broken up a shakedown in a corner of the club that night, the fuckers acting like they never seen him coming, one bastard swinging wide and loose with a broken bottle that should have by all rights ended up in his gut.

He knew it was more than just luck for a variety of reasons.  He’d known she was for real the minute he made contact, grams had passed at least that much of her skills down into his blood.  And the little scrap disintegrated like ash right after his men had dragged the bastards in question out back for some serious talking.

The next day, he showed up with a bottle of something quality, as was proper, but the girl wouldn’t drink it alone.  She held on to it, uncorked, until he got done with his night, and they shared a drink, watching the sun come up cold and bright in the steel blue sky.  From then on they had an arrangement.  She gave him the heads-up when she had what she called an inkling, handing off trinkets like they were baseball cards, and he kept her in cheap liquor, since she refused to drink the good stuff without him.

Even though he might have thought it, he never told her she seemed awful young to be a drunk.  And even though sometimes he could feel the questions on the tip of her tongue, she never asked him how he knew what she was at.  She never even asked him if he was French.

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Category: 2011, Drama, Fantasy

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