Bytown e2c1: No Wonder He’s Poor
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He flipped the cloth around, scrubbing at a particularly stubborn spot, before realizing he hadn't heard the bell jingle again. "Come back in the morning." He didn't dare make eye contact. That was how they got you to stay open late, with their sad little eyes and tales of woe. He knew better than to give them a chance.Read more at bytownseries.ca!
Still no response, though, so he switched to English: "Come back tomorrow."
The silence was grating, so he gave in and peered over his shoulder, and saw...
"Merde..." he muttered, and set down the cloth to give the visitors his proper attention. There were three of them—big men with broad shoulders and arms as thick as logs. The leader wore no coat in the frigid January air, but it wasn't like he didn't feel the cold—he just enjoyed thumbing his nose at frostbite. Nobody but les Gens postured like that.
"Monsieur Deschênes," the leader said to Émile. "Welcome to the neighbourhood."
One of the other men crossed his arms over his chest, revealing a slim and weathered axe hanging from his belt. There was nothing accidental about the revelation, nor was there any doubt about what it meant.
Émile made sure to maintain a measured tone in reply: “Thank you. But I've been here since the fall.”