Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chapter 9: Adjustment

Unfortunately for Altin, Elsie had been sleeping all night. And also unfortunately for Altin, it was no longer nighttime.

See, this is why he had never settled down. He didn't speak Toddler, and the number of things he knew about kids could be counted on one hand. Even if that hand was missing most of its fingers. Altin knew when they smelled you changed the diaper...somehow. And that dropping them was bad. But that was the extent of his expertise on the subject.

It showed.

"Aren't there people who get paid to figure out what you want?!" Altin exclaimed. And then he realized...there were people who got paid to translate Toddler. And Elsie had one. 

Still carrying his howling daughter -- she didn't get that from him, he was subtle -- Altin hunted down the phone, which turned out to be as old as the rest of the house. He remembered the babysitter had said something about leaving her number, and as he reached for the phone, he saw she had left considerably more, in the form of a letter. Great. He had such luck with letters lately.

This one wasn't so bad, though. The babysitter, Kylee, had written down her number like she said, but added some essential information. Like how if Elsie was crying but didn't stink she was probably hungry. 

Altin retrieved one of the suspiciously colored bottles of formula the babysitter had stocked the fridge with. That one was definitely a keeper. "So, uh..." He looked at the toddler, who looked back at him. "Do I just give this to you, or what?"

Elsie didn't answer, but he figured that meant yes. She didn't seem to mind, anyway.

All the screaming tired Elsie out, and Altin was able to grab a few hours more sleep before he needed to go to work at his new office.

After finally getting some decent rest, he arranged a new babysitting schedule with Kylee on his way out the door, and hopped in the carpool to the office. That's right. The Grey Meadow Organization branch had a carpool. How fancy.

Work was both more and less nervewracking than he had expected. He kept expecting to see the boss show up around a corner, but it looked like she was still in Appaloosa Plains. It would happen eventually, though. With this being the Organization HQ, he wasn't working for middle management like Oxendine anymore. In the meantime, despite Kanzler's instructions, the local team didn't seem quite ready to trust him to be a thug yet, so he spent most of his day hanging around helping out with odd errands.

When Altin finally punched out, he noticed something odd across the street. It had been a while since he was last in a proper city, but he was pretty sure he could recognize a private club when he saw one. Come to think of it, he could use a drink...if they let him in.

Huh. Low standards.

Inside, Altin found only the bartender, an older woman who seemed ill at ease. Maybe that was due to the club's revealing uniform...

...or maybe her obvious inexperience at mixology.

"Did you see that?"

"Oh yeah."

Still, Altin had to admit this whole mixology thing seemed pretty cool. Thanks to his temporary and unwilling bout with vegetarianism in Appaloosa he had a bit of a knack for gardening. Maybe when he started to fix up the farmhouse he'd put in a bar.

"Is that supposed to happen?"

"I don't think so."

"You gonna do anything about it?"


This is Altin's cool face.

Eventually he made his way home, with a few more stops on the way. When he reached the house, though, it had a visitor. A creepy, possibly-serial-killer kind of visitor.

Perhaps it was the flaming purple drink thinking for him, but the blacked-out windows didn't stop Altin.

"Hey you," he said, rapping on the window with his knuckles. "Sell me something."

No response.

He turned to leave, but heard a noise behind him. Sitting there, balanced sloppily on its side, was a single ice cream cone, the darkened window already closed behind it. Okay, that was weird.


But now, Altin had presents to deliver. 

First priority was a bouquet of flowers to leave at Kirk's grave, in what he had deduced were her favorite colors. He had also found a squat, longlasting candle, which he lit and left at her headstone.

Huh. He actually felt a bit better now.

For Elsie, a puzzle blocks set. If she was going to grow up to be something better than a petty criminal, she'd need to get a head start on a proper education.

Elsie approved.

And last, for himself, bedsheets a bit less purple for the master bedroom, and decoration to match. Classic Western, to remind himself how he got here.

And then Altin climbed under the covers and almost immediately fell asleep. Maybe the wall hanging was working already, because he dreamt of only one thing...the pink diamond, whose theft had sent him to Appaloosa Plains, and to Kirk, and to here.


  1. D'aaaaw. Elsie is SO cute! And I'm glad Altin is slowly getting adjusted to fatherhood. He's doing a (more or less) decent job thus far.

  2. Elsie is everso cute, and Altin's confusion about how to look after her is adorable

  3. Somehow I got behind on your legacy, I can't remember seeing any updates....anywho I'm caught up now...again. Elsie is absolutely adorable. Altin always makes me laugh. I think he's doing an okay job with Elsie. Considering he's lead a life of crime and has no knowledge about children whatsoever.

  4. Ooh same here as with Jessica!

    Elsie is cute! And altin is as well trying the best he can, I don't think there's anything more Elsie could wish for!