Sunday, 25 April 2010

Job offer

Jetain watches the young boy climb the steps, the box of water bottles heavy in his hands. He is new to the job, she hasn't seen him before. His master stands in the dusty road, piling up more boxes for the kid to carry into the mosque. The water master and Jetain do not get on. The master does not approve of Jetain sitting outside, only her head covered against the sun, her dark eyes looking on disapprovingly. They have argued any times. She has little choice but to sit here and watch. The caravanserai located next to the mosque is one of the few places that will allow her to stay, unaccompanied, while she waits for her rocket to be repaired.

The boy disappears into the cool darkness for a brief while and emerges again.

"Good morning."

Jetain turns to see Williams has joined her on the roof. She nods back at him, sipping at her tea and wincing at its sweetness.

"Day twenty eight, huh?" Williams continues. Jetain has no wish to talk to him and keeps her focus downwards, towards the road. "You sure you won't reconsider?"

"Parts are arriving on Tuesday. Then I'm gone."

"Tuesday? On the freight? Sorry, I heard it had been delayed. Major sandstorm. Going to be another week, at least."

Everything Williams says strikes her as bullshit and she has to be careful to try and filter it for fact before she responds. In this case she knows that he is not lying. She curses.

"Look, I know you don't like me, but this is a genuine offer and a good job. You have a lot of experience flying around here and my client is offering a good day rate. Being sat here has got to be hurting you."

The boy has finished carrying all the boxes and jumps onto the back of the cart. The water master fires up the engine with a cracking spark and a drift of ozone. The cart moves off with a dull hum, its dusty wheels leaving narrow tracks in the sand.

"How long is the job for?" She asks.

"Three days, top. Drop off, wait around for a couple of nights and then bring them back."


Williams nods.

Jetain takes another sip of tea. Williams takes it as a yes, necking the coffee held delicately in his hand before he disappears back down the stairs.

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