Swamped Chapter 59 Page 8

You realize that you have a unique opportunity now. With Squib preoccupied, the rest of his squad might be a bit more willing to talk about what they really think of him. That would be interesting in and of itself, but it could also be a good opener to a more informative conversation.

The trick is in figuring out which of them to single out. You’re looking for someone who doesn’t care much for Squib, but wouldn’t tell him that to his face. Which means, someone who looks to be relieved that he’s gone.

And you think you spot one. One of them who’s turned towards the wall and is brushing his rather long beard. Funny, you thought there were regulations on beard length; too long and they can get tangled in breather masks.

“That looks like it takes quite a bit of work to maintain,” you whisper to him.

He gives you a look that very clearly says “don’t make fun of me.” Yes, this is definitely a promising target.

“I’m sorry if that came across wrong. It’s just that I once tried to grow a beard, but all the day-to-day work proved too much for me. I can’t help but respect someone with the self-discipline to manage a beard like yours.”

He starts beaming proudly.

“Well, I’m glad someone appreciates it,” he says. “Squib sure doesn’t. He always has some choice words for me if I do my beard care in front of him.”

You definitely picked the right person to question.

Now that you’ve got his attention, how should you proceed?

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