Swamped Chapter 33 Page 9

You turn to the grebling.

“What’s your name, again? Rider said it a few times, but it keeps slipping my mind.”

“Yvonne,” she says, a little impatiently.

“Right. You think you could look around the wagon, see if there’s anything dangerous? Don’t want our new friend here trying any funny ideas.” You pat the wagoner on the back with mocking affection. They just grumble at you.

“I’ll see what I can dig up. You sure you don’t need a second pair of eyes on that scoundrel?”

“Not at the moment.”

Yvonne scurries off and starts poking around in a closet. You turn your attention to your captive.

Fact is, whether you’d come barging in or not, this poor sap has no future if they stay on as a courier. Their prospects would be slim even if the job had gone smoothly; that’s just how the whole dirty business is set up.

You want to convince them to leave. Of course, that would be easier if you had a better sanctuary to offer them than a filthy swamp filled with deadly beasts, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

“What’s your name?” you ask.

“Pubert,” they say. You doubt that’s actually it, but then, it’s not like you’ve got ground to complain about giving a fake name.

“All right, Pubert. Let’s have a little talk about this job of yours. Specifically, how it’s not a very good one.”

“You think I don’t know that? You think I’m out here in the middle of the desert because I’m having the time of my life? If I hadn’t picked a few pockets to pay for these goggles, I’d probably have come down with the fever by now. But it’s the only life I know, and it’s not as if I can run from it.”

Hmm. What can you say to that?

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Approach the conversation from a more empathetic angle. Establish some rapport if possible. People get defensive when they feel like they’re being lectured.