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IV
The Uncle’s Business

The dust on the floor was thick enough to serve as carpet under the feet of Gillen and Jarvis, who hung their heads in dejection and turned back around to the door.
“Wait a second!” Jarvis said as he put his hand on Gillen’s shoulder to beckon him back into the room. “What about the chimney? Wasn’t there smoke coming out of it?”
Gillen ran out the door and into the street, pushing people out of the way in his hastiness. He peered up on top of the roof, shielding his eyes from the sun. A wide grin spread across his face as he nodded to Jarvis, and came running back inside.
“There’s smoke alright! That means that someone has to be in here.”
Jarvis nodded, and then began to look around.
“Hello! Hello, is anybody in here?”
They called out a few more times until finally, an older man came out from around a corner in the back. He was rubbing his head and blinking repeatedly.
“Sorry, I was sleeping.”
“Are you Tom?” Jarvis asked the man with eagerness in his eyes.
“Yeah, that’s me. Who are you two?”
“Uncle Tom!”
“Uncle? What are you talkin’ about?”
“It’s me, Jarvis Hanson!”
The man with the weathered and hard face stared at the two for a few moments, taking them in from head to toe. He stood up straight with his arms folded beneath his chest. His thick white eyebrows shadowed his astonishing blue eyes. Finally he smiled.
“Jarvis, my nephew! It has been too long!”
The man named Tom walked up to him with open arms and they embraced each other.
“How is my brother?”
Jarvis’ gaze shifted to the floor, and his grin seemed to have been slapped off his face.
“He passed away.”
Tom’s grin faded as well, and his eyes went from cheerful to cheerless.
“How?”
“Pneumonia.”
Tom shuddered.
“That’s hard news to hear for me.”
Jarvis bit his lower lip and nodded. Tom sighed and then slapped his hands to his thighs.
“So then, what brings you two here?”
“Well, we were hoping that maybe we could get some work. We really need the money, and we’ll do any job you assign us to do.”
“And who are you?” Tom asked pointing to Gillen.
“I’m Gillen Radcliff.”
“Nice to meet you Gillen,” Tom said as he extended his hand to him.
“You too.”
“So you say that you’ll do any job that I assign you two?”
“That’s right,” Gillen answered. “Any job.”
Again Tom eyed them and he scratched his gray beard.
“Do you even know what my business is?” Tom asked a little vexed. “It isn’t you’re general idea of easy, I’ll tell you that right away.”
Gillen looked at Jarvis for guidance, hoping that maybe he had some faint idea what his own uncle did for a living. But Jarvis returned the stare with a blank face, and he finally shrugged.
“No, we don’t,” Jarvis replied rather embarrassed.
Tom nodded as he wiped his hands on his shirt.
“Well that’s alright, I guess. Just as long as you’ll do anything like ya say you will, and work with unabated commitment. The job is printing press. You have to take books, and copy them word for word to put them down on paper. You will create books, and then give them to me to sell.”
“That doesn’t sound too hard,” Gillen said. “Alright, I’ll do it!”
“Me too!” Jarvis echoed.



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The following comments are for "The Companions: 4"
by ArturHawking





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