I wrote 5,149 words I like to think I’ll keep and fixed a nagging plot point by changing the gender of one of the characters. Here’s a taste of the new stuff:
Paulie’s steam whistle shrilled Rolling Dandyman, jerking Proffitt from a nasty dream. He’d been running through a forest, pursued by wolves, and the vivid scent of the surrounding trees lingered. Hell, he could taste it, too.
Proffitt rubbed at his mouth, dislodged some sort of rough fragment from his lips. Pine bark. He lay curled on his side in the sawdust Micah and the Burley boys scattered about the tent before the night’s show.
Someone had deep-piled blankets over him to protect him from the wind, for he lay in the open. The tent, the clay ovens and all the tent’s furnishings had been removed around him as he slept and he had remained oblivious through it all.
Proffitt felt moisture touch his cheek. All about him, the ground lay covered by an inch or so of snow, excepted for the cleared space where the tent had been. It had snowed in the night and the sky promised more snowfall soon.
The whistle shrilled again.
“Hey, boss,” Paulie shouted. “You gonna sleep all day?”
“God-damn you, Paulie,” Proffitt whispered.
Proffitt shoved his hand from beneath the blankets, rubbed away the sawdust from his hand and knuckled at his eyes. Paulie had gone beyond annoying. If Amelia wasn’t such a draw, Proffitt would just leave the obnoxious little turd to his own business today, not wait to think about it more once they hit the warmer weather they’d find in the southern Union states.
Proffitt threw off the blankets and pushed himself to his feet. Before he could do much else, the Burley brothers scooped up the first of the blankets and began to fold it. They worked together as if they shared one mind.
“Go get something to eat, boss,” Lee said. He rolled the folded blanket into a cylinder, as his brother picked up the second covering.
“Yeah, boss,” Jake said. “We’ll take care of it.”
One look, two looks if you like, at Marley and Jacob Burley was enough to convince anyone that the brothers could take care of most anything.
The Burleys could stand beneath Proffitt’s outstretched arm without ducking but their chests and shoulders were half as wide as they were tall. Hard, tight and muscled, Lee and Jake could lift the front end of Proffitt’s motor truck when they worked together. And they did everything together.
Best thing to do right now would be get out of their way.
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