A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 63: Mr. Gruff and His Wife

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

It was time to learn some names and break the ice, having good relations with these folk was of high importance to me but this would be a delicate dance now that we had our initial meet-n-greet over the barrel of a gun.

Mrs. Gruff was a fine looking woman from what I could tell, it did not do to look a lady up and down like a possible conquest while she stood with her family on the threshold of the family home. I kept eyes off of everything but her face and focused on Mr. Gruff and the child between them, manners were of utmost importance in that moment.

I doffed my hat and made a proper introduction of myself including a slight bow, “Zachariah Ebenezer Narrater at your service my good neighbors. I am very pleased to meet my neighbors and do hope that we can ignore the unfortunate initial confusion and consider us ourselves well met.”

Well of course my statement was met with confused silence so after a few moments I stepped forward took a knee and offered my hand to their young daughter and told her, “You can call me Z and I’m very pleased to meet you, what might your name be?”

She looked up at her mother who simply nodded and then she reached out and took my proffered hand and sweetly said “I’m Daisy, Momma named me after her favorite flower.” I gently shook her tiny hand and offered, “I should have guessed that such a beautiful young lady would be the child of amazing people like your parents; you do them proud and you should be proud of them.” She gave me a quizzical look at that so I continued, “Your father found me while I was enjoying the view of your magnificent estate, he is building quite a castle for his queen and his princess, he must love you both very much to work so hard for you.”

I was rewarded with a huge smile so I stepped back to my feet and away, returning my focus to the adults. “I feel I’ve made one friend here and I’d like to make two more if I possibly can.

“I remain Zach Narrater you neighbor from half a day ride southwest and I’d very much like it if we could be on good terms.” I said as I offered my hand.

It was time for me to be done talking and time to listen and watch, I had a lot at risk as my people had no idea what was happening right now and if these folk were bad I was in trouble. I still didn’t know their names and that was a bad sign, folks don’t like to know the names of people they feel they have to kill; hell I didn’t like to. I had palmed the .22 with my left while down on my knee but even though it was hidden in my big left hand it was still fully safe and I would have to chamber and unsafe before I could fire. I was a bit tense.

The pause when your offered hand is left waiting seems like forever but it was actually just a moment before he reached out and took my hand into a firm but gentle handshake. “I’m Thomas”, he said, “and this here is my wife Martha.” I relaxed and put my hands into my coat pocket for a moment leaving the .22 behind when I pulled them back out

“Pleased to meet you Thomas, Martha and Daisy”, I replied “It’s so nice to know we have nice neighbors nearby and I’d love to invite you up to meet the rest of my folk.” There seemed to be a lot of trepidation on their part so I decided a temporary exit would be best.

“Thomas, I need to go set up camp somewhere, can you recommend a good spot nearby?” I asked. Well Daisy started going on about inviting me to supper and some such but I knew it would be best just to give them some time and when her mother shushed her I spoke directly to the little girl, “Daisy, I have to go make my camp and take care of my horses and dog. We can’t have them hungry, maybe I can come back after supper and we can chat for a little while then. But I have to be back on the trail again tomorrow morning so I won’t be able to visit for very long.”

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