The Unknown - Part 1d
He passed me a ceramic jug that had been fitted into a woven wool sock. I pulled the carved pine cork and took a deep pull after weighing it in my hand. I did drink to deep, he had plenty, but sucking down all his water would have been bad manners. I was a lot of things but I tried to avoid being an asshole whenever possible. It was difficult, I had been told a few times that I came by it naturally, but I tried.
The water was cool and actually tasted good. Both were pleasant surprises. I handed it back to him, he weighed it in his hand without thinking, did some calculations, and asked me if I wanted another drink. Once upon a time I would have declined, This wasn't then and I was thirsty. I took another deep pour and handed it back. He didn't ask again.
"Okay. I'm good." I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. "I'm coming from Kanab. I was on a bike...I was taking the old highway, and hit a hole wrong about 5 miles out of town. I've been walking since." I didn't bother to add that I went through Kanab at night and my starting point had been a bit further north.
"My cousin Alicia, she lives there. She works at the Saints fort in the supply department. She says it's a great job. Sometimes she comes home and brings really good stuff like canned pineapple. Have you ever had that?" He took a breath and I got inside the conversational curve by asking him "There is supposed to be a road stop around here. How far am I from it?"
"Oh yeah. The toll place?"
"About 2 miles that way." He pointed east and said "Just keep the mountain in front of you. You can't miss it."
You couldn't miss the mountain. It filled the horizon in the direction he had pointed. I wasn't so sure about the 'can't miss it' part but it was good to know I was close.
"You sure got a lot of guns. Is that real body armor? Are you a contractor? They said a really famous contractor was coming this way. Maybe you might know him. His name is..."
"Al. Work with me here. Not so many questions at the same time."
He actually looked embarrassed. "Sorry..."
"No problem. Yeah. it's real body armor. No. I'm not a contractor. I'm doing my two year mission and I lost my name tag and partner awhile ago."
He didn't look like he totally believed the last part. Maybe half of it. Damn, somebody let this kid run around by himself?
I knew why he thought that. First off I was one. Second, well, I was probably one of the best armed men in the state. I usually was no matter where I was.
I was wearing plate armor sewn inside a custom made canvas vest that I had lined with cotton except for the slits I had cut slits in it to allow me to be semi cool. I had thought it was a pretty good idea at the time but it didn't make any difference that I had noticed. It did allow me to reach through and scratch my self a lot easier so it wasn't a totally stupid idea.
My belt was held up a Y rig made out of leather and had a fighting knife attached to it and two leather pouches. My gun belt was tooled leather hung with two holsters filled with a Ruger .357 each. My cartridge loops were empty because I didn't like sparkling in the sun. A pouch hung off that with two spare cylinders for the Navy Colt I kept tucked in the belt, another modification I had added was a loop inside the belt for the barrel to slide through and help me keep it in place. A K-98 bayonet hung just behind my left side Ruger and I had a .38 snubbie in my boot. The Y rig had a scabbard fitted to it and it had once held a sword. Now it held a Winchester 30-30. I was a walking gun store and while they all showed a lot of wear I kept them clean and oiled. My hardware, once considered stupidly retro was now state of the art, well, almost, and If I decided to sell it all I could afford to buy a farm. It would end up being the farm but I wasn't planning on selling them. Otherwise I really didn't care.