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After arranging with Tom to stay in the cramped attic of his two-storied home, Gillen and Jarvis found that there was nothing to do except get to work. Tom showed them the basics of aligning all of the stamps in the manual printing machine, and then pulling the large lever to stamp it down on the paper. It took a good twenty minutes just for him to get that one page done.
From that point, he left the two alone in the back room of his building where there was in the center, the large machine, and on the back wall a rough desk where the paper was to be neatly stacked in the order of page numbers from first to last. The walls were wood and the floors were too, and that meant that the loud and most annoying creaking and moaning of the floorboards was to be put up with all the daylong.
“Well, let’s get started. We can switch off every page I think,” Gillen said as Jarvis began to collect the correct stamps for the page.
“Switch off on what?”
“Well, you can do the first page, and I’ll then take it to set on the desk. Then I’ll do the next page, and you take it to set on the desk.”
So it began that way that they switched off all day, and completed a total of nine pages.
“Well,” Tom said as he entered the back room, “you’re free to go for the night. Jarvis, do you know how to get to my house?”
Jarvis shook his head.
“Well, it’s down the road. I suppose I could take you there, and you two could settle in the attic by yourselves, I presume?”
“Of course we can!” Gillen said. “I was wondering though, might there be a chance that we could get some food?”
“Yeah,” Jarvis echoed, maybe a little too defiantly.
“You could talk to my wife about that, I have no idea.”
Gillen nodded, and Tom began for the door with the two following him. Down the street they went, which was rather deserted compared to the way it had been a few hours ago while the sun was still up. Now though, the moon had taken its place bringing the shining light that it withheld to the damp, cold streets.
“Well, this is it,” Tom said as they walked up the two-cemented steps to his home.
It was a lot more welcoming than his work place was, with the paint still on the walls, and the walls themselves all healthy wood; no splitting or cracks in it. There were paned windows, and through them could be seen a warming and well-lit house, with a chandelier of candles hanging over a dining table. Tom opened the front door, and in the two went with the usher of his hand.
“Courtney!” Tom called.
The scuffling of feet, as a plain-faced woman with a blunt nose and gray already swarming her hair made her way to the door hurriedly.
“You’re home, Tom?” She inquired.
“Sort of. I’m only here to drop off my two new assistants. Aren’t they wonderful?” He added sarcastically.
Courtney frowned and looked at them.
“Why are they here, Tom?”
“Because they need a place to stay, and they’ll need food too. Don’t worry, the first few weeks they’ll receive no money from me. That way they can pay for rent and the food we provide.”
Gillen frowned at Tom at this undecided negotiation. But Tom did nothing, aside from smile back at the two. Jarvis didn’t seem to have any objection at all, but instead walked into the house and then into the kitchen.
“Well, I’ll leave you three to be alone and get to know each other. I have to go back to work and finish up a few things, and I should be back by ten thirty.”
Courtney still had somewhat of a shocked expression on her face that had appeared when she discovered the news of Gillen and Jarvis living with them. She managed to nod her head though, and the front door was closed as Tom took his leave.
“So, can you boys cook, or would you like me to prepare something for you.”
“Don’t worry. After being stoic vagabonds for the past decade of our thirty-one year-long lives, we’ve managed to learn how to make do with what little we can get.”
Courtney rubbed her forehead in distress and turned to walk away.
“Then make do!” She said, and she stormed out of the room and up the staircase that was contained behind a wall on the far side of the entering room.