Junkyard is less fun as an adult then it was as a kid. Dirty, noisy and dark can be fun when around every corner lurks some new contraption and the possibilities of that hulk coming out of the gloom, making tortured squeaks and groaning booms is not just an ordinary heavy transport sledge but a metal elephant hauling ore. Unless you are one of the geeks, this place is really just dirty and noisy and dark.
The legal consult and trial that I had been traveling to attend went on without me while we were stranded in the Rockies. Not that I mind much, I don’t think I have a career in courtroom litigation any longer unless judge and jury are willing to gather around in a close little circle while I speak, but, the reason for coming being discharged I had plenty of time on my hands. Time I didn’t really need… except that Grizz filled it. Which was nice. How can you not feel better, when upon proclaiming that you have never felt so alone in your life, the fuzzy giant sitting close enough to allow you to use his shoulder for a pillow, tells you there is no reason to feel that way anymore… Grizz Cobb is here.
My new companions from the train have been a boon as well. Addy doesn’t let me sink too low, asks me to walk with her, and to help her with her the business of buying barley for her family business. Not that I’m much help, the Good Lord knows I don’t know a thing about crops or brewing (distilling Lonesome, distilling… brewing is a whole other ball of string, that feisty little southern belle has explained the differences on many occasions… get it right) but I’m grateful for the distraction and delighted she seems to enjoy my company. Mr. Monroe stops by when he has found someplace interesting to visit, escorting us out in a gentlemanly fashion I have not experienced since the days spent in the company of old lawyers. Both Addy and I watch him with a cautious eye, he is not flourishing in this gloom. He may be cursed and dying, but I think he is in need of exercise and fresh air.
Which is why it is a good thing that we are now hired on as part of an expedition. An expedition to find a lost expedition. Lost while being headed by one of the most famous and prolific explorers of our time. Lost in an uncharted canyon system named (and rightly if not imaginatively) The Grand Canyon.
Everyone seems excited to be going. I cannot lie, I am as well. But. Everyone also seems to be ignoring, for the moment, the giant pink elephant in the room… Lost expeditions usually get lost for very nasty reasons.
It was funny how we became part of this expedition, really. The five of us attended a gala event at one of the swankiest hotels in Junkyard. There was a covered display and a string quartet and then a snake oil salesman who told us all about the marvel of the trunk that washed up down river of said Grand Canyon. He sounded like a tent revival preacher, but his story was interesting, however, when he dramatically revealed the contents of the display case we were all let down by the simple, weather worn and moth eaten contents. Not that we ever got a chance to look at any of it close enough. Scruffy outlaws slammed open the doors, shot off rounds in the air and demanded everyone stay right where they were. I was thinking to myself how easily it was going to be to get crushed and trampled when the folks panicked as someone fired on the bandits… which caused the imagined chaos to erupt. I had my back to the stage as we’d turned to see the intrusion, it’s edge butting up against the backs of my knees, I had to crane my head to see around the bulk of Grizz who had taken one quiet step to his left to totally block me from view. There were some fellas to my right, who were coiled and ready and looking like they were not going to take the robbery sitting down so I whispered to them. Made quiet suggestions and when they both looked at me with a knowing gleam in their eyes, I gave them that confident nod my father taught me… his signature trick to convince a jury that his point of view was the only point of view… and off they went, into the crowd, whispering in ears as they went. Very shortly, out of the chaos formed small, but powerful groups that began fighting back instead of running in panic. More shots were fired, one by me, bandits went down, one by me (thank you Ian for all those evenings spent shooting bottles off of logs). Of course, the law showed up once all the bandits were down or running. Our little quintet decided we really were not interested in speaking to the law and that it was just about time for a bite to eat when a bellhop from the hotel came and tugged on our sleeves, telling us that one Doctor Haskins wished the pleasure of our company in his rooms upstairs. Well. Seeings how Doctor Haskins and his expedition appeared to be the target of our little intrusion we thought it might be interesting to see what he might want from us.
So. Now we have two days to gather supplies and get ready to board the train to Cedar City, the launching point of this newest expedition to find The Great Lost Powell. I will meet with Dill tomorrow and collect Laredo. It will be nice to have the familiar comfort of that red shoulder again, even if it comes with the disapproving eye roll. I’m not sure what Dill will say when he hears where I am planning on going. I’m sure he will think it is not the sort of thing I should be undertaking, what with my recent recovery and all, but he’s not my father, and not my husband so all he can really do is disapprove and advise, which I’m sure he will do in spades from behind those bushy eyebrows and mustache. Ian had no more true a friend than Dill. In truth he continues to be that friend by his considerations for me. I may have been lonesome from birth, but I am blessed to be surrounded by good people.