Behrin made his way to the bar and sat down. He smiled indulgently at all the back slaps and shoulder pats.
"It's a hardscrabble way to make your life though." He thought, catching Fetch's eye. In some of the smaller towns you wound up killing more than you rounded up. They might be dumber-than-dirt peasants but they sure knew the difference between working for themselves and working for someone else. Of course, the way some of them lived slavery was a step up.
" Welcome to Fetch's tavern.What can I get ya?" Fetch asked, eager to please.
"Rum?" Behrin case a questioning eye at his men to see if there were any objections. When he was paying, it was mead or rotgut but when it was on the house (this was the understanding he'd already read in Fetch's piggy eyes) it was top of the line all the way.
Fetch eagerly set up the tankards and Behrin settled onto his stool. His men would drink the sweat off of a donkey's balls if they thought it would get them drunk but he enjoyed the strong heat and flavor of good rum.
"So, tell me, you sellin' any women tomorrow?" Fetch asked eagerly as he accidently sloshed rum onto the bar planking.
"Got a few." Behrin congenially drawled. Fetch had the look of a large fish ready to bite any hook, well-baited or not. Behrin knew he could afford to be close-mouthed. He took a sip of his liquid fire.
"I'm lookin' for about three or four. Nice, set-up ones. Got any of those?"
Fetch's tongue shot out and flicked over his lower lip. Behrin studied him a little more closely. If Fetch had put back any money off this dive he might be able to turn a pretty profit from a private sale.
"Well,what exactly are you looking for? Serving or kitchen wenches?"
"I was hoping to buy some whores."
Behrin took another sip of his rum, his face blank.
"Three or four huh? That'll run you some coin."
Fetch hastily backtracked. He always retreated in the face of expense.
"Three or four would be nice but I could get by with two. Or one. If she's really special."
Something flickered across Behrin's face. It muddied his milk-white complexion. He took a larger swallow of rum then he intended. It raced towards his stomach like a firestorm towards dry tinder and exploded with a vengeance. He spluttered as tears burst from his eyes.
A hand slammed down between his shoulder blades and almost drove his face into the bar. Waves of hot and cold swept over him as the rum curled up in his belly. It slowly faded but left behind a peculiar ache deep in his chest. He shuddered and peered at Fetch through a sheen of tears.
"You okay?" Fetch asked nervously.
"Yeah,yeah." Behrin wiped his eyes on his sleeve. "I'm fine. I could drink this stuff til the sun comes up." He gave Fetch a shaky smile. (Or however long it took me to auction off a fat fuck like you)
His stomach was walking and talking in an ominous tone and those three word...those insignificant three words...that had come from Fetch's mouth had suddenly become his main focus.
(Special? Yeah,I've got something, she's really special. So fucking special she'll break your heart and make you think about who owns who.)
Behrin dropped his hands down and convulsively gripped the edges of his stool. First and foremost, he was a practical man. Not an emotional one. If he wasn't careful the opportunity to turn a few coins might slip on by. He closed his eyes.
In his mind's space he saw a wall which he'd come to associate with his anger. (He lacks the ability to understand,he lacks the ability to understand) He could never go over or around. All he could do was beat himself bloody against it. And that was exactly what he wanted to do. Until the oatmeal ran out of his head and all the snot ran out of his ears. (He lacks the ability to understand)
He slowly opened his eyes and his fingers loosened their white-knuckled grip. His mother had always said that his anger was going to beat him hollow someday. He didn't care. Besides, a woman who wore her husband's bruises like a second skin was in no position to talk about anger. He sucked in a ragged breath.
He focused all of his concentration on the wall. That perplexing, cornerless wall that reached up past the sky. He knew everyone in the tavern was watching him. The red spots on his stark white cheeks burned. He looked at Fetch. The man appeared to be standing a thousand miles away.
"On second thought, I might have some you're interested in. Come around the auction block tomorrow and I'll see what I can do." His voice flowed out calm and steady. The only shakiness Behrin detected in the sound was from that bad swallow of rum.
He gave Fetch a ghastly smile.
"Don't have anything special. But I have some that'll do."