Days of the Dead 5 - Lance Waltham

“Mr. Waltham, I have very sad news. Our Ruthie died, she fell off a cliff, and…” started April, as the boss entered the shop.
“Why do I care? She’s a loser.”
“But, Mr. Waltham, I think you should…”
“What? Do you want to go back to jail? I don’t pay you to have opinions.”

Lance Waltham had no time to lose. He had just discovered a secret, and he planned to benefit from it. All secrets are good business, taught him his grandfather, who dealt in them. And what a good secret this was! Clerics dealing in hard gin - that was too good to pass. So, he offered the cleric a deal: he would help the distribution with his own lines of regular and black market, and he’d keep only 68% of the profit. A bargain, he thought, even if the other’s readiness to take the deal seemed surprisingly reasonable for what he was used to, in trade.

But he needed Lilac and April to make it work. So he had then pack extra boxes for the usual carriers, the night before. They came to the shop at night, received the gin, and distributed it in similar lots. One to Mirith, regular trade for the tailor, extra gin for the Royal Seer; one to the Volcano, with special robes and an “extra gift”, “on the house”, to get them hooked; one to Brigobaen, for the usual line of black market providing for some men and women of faith in need of some extra solace the goddess can’t give; another to the pirates, regular costumers too, of herbs and trinkets; a special package to New Mirith, robes and “extras”; and several smaller pouches to the different traders who wandered the forests, from Welif to Gohoran, from the Lizards of the south to the viscous lizards of the North (Lance still refused to mention the name “Marali”), from Gast to Foehan. What a good boost in the current moon’s profits that would be! Maybe enough to buy into the Senate, at last.

He mindlessly picked a handful of grapes from the counter. It was the workers’ lunch, but he didn’t care, he just felt like chewing something sweet and fresh, as sweet and fresh as life was for him. “Lilac!” he shouted, throwing a grape high in the air and catching it with his mouth - his speciality since childhood. “Get to work now, you lazy skiver!” Second grape, sent higher than the previous, caught with twice the flair. “Liiiiiiilac! Where on earth are you?” Third grape. What a champion!

“The wind, Mr. Waltham, the wind is rushing furiously from the door,” whimpered the poor deranged woman, from behind a clothes rack. She was not wrong this time, though, the door did open, and one of the servants from the Waltham house walked in. He brought news from Mrs. Waltham, who, out of impulse and not knowing what the next few days would bring, had scribbled a note to her husband. “Read it aloud, you halfwit!” shouted the boss, fourth grape, and fifth, and sixth! A series of three in a row, his special move to woo ladies and impress adversaries.

“Lance, I’m leaving you and returning to Marali. I should have done this years ago. I’m sorry. Anthea”

The seventh grape landed wrong. The three employees didn’t know what to do, watching their boss chocking and quivering on the ground. Maybe it was best to get back to work fast and distribute all those boxes, before they were blamed for anything.
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