|Conway||Down an old dusty dirt road, just west of the Pecos River is a farm that spans for miles upon miles. Bordering the farm is a gate of razor wire to keep animals in and people out, but a creaky wooden gate is planted in the middle which is accessible to enter the farmland and walk or drive down to the farmhouse. The dirt drive is debouched into a close-bitten field, and out of this empty land the farm rose up with its buildings like a huddle of old, painted vessels floating in still water.
In the distance is a barn and the old wooden farmhouse with chipping paint. A diesel tractor is infront of the porch.
|Tibbie|| The always helpful Shantytown tom girl Tibbie has arrived to the rustic Brigham Farm, her boots are dusty and her spirits are up as she heads to the farmhouse,
"Heeyaa? Anybody up?" Tibbie loudly asks as she's now a few feet from the porch not bothering to knock, surely she could be heard over the background of cattle and horses. Today her head has a shoddy baseball cap added to it, and her usual brown braid's been pulled out through the snapback.
|Aris||Walkin' isn't glamorous, but it sure is cheap. A small figure, clad in jeans and a ragged gray button-up, emerges from the treeline, walking towards the old farm. That it's a woman is plain enough, though a cowboy hat and large sunglasses shade her face from the sun. She pauses briefly at the gate, gazing around the fields and up to the farmhouse. It's hard to tell whether she's looking for someone specific, or maybe scoping the place out for a good ol' burglary. You never know, these days. Spying a woman up near the farmhouse, the dark-haired stranger calls across the distance to her, "Excuse me! You the missus around here?"|
|Conway||Conway sits in his recliner with a plate of flapjacks on his lap, eating them as his lunch. He hears hollering and hooting at his front door, and it makes him stand upright quickly. His plate clangs on the ground aswell as the remainder of his pancakes.
"What in God's name!" Conway slips the straps of his overalls back onto his shoulders, grabbing his Hunting Shotgun from the corner of the room. He wasn't expecting vistiors and he isn't quite sure who it might be. He places his black fur felt Steston on his head and steps outside with his shotgun at the ready, but aimed towards the ground.
He notices it's women and loosens up a bit, but demands an answer. "Who are ya'll, what'ya doing 'ere?" He's a fresh-faced young cowboy who wants answers to why there's two girls on his property. Though it's the thing of dreams, he's spooked.
|Tibbie|| The cap turns towards the fence and Tibbie cups her mouth, "Naw! I'm lookin fer the boss though! C'mon up with me!" Tibbie hollers back to the distant cowboy hatted woman. After a clang and footsteps, Tibbie bends her elbows, surrendering her open hands casually to the tall tanned and armed man,
"C'mon now, we aint try'na play those kinnda games here boss! I heard round Shanty that this place needs some extra elbowgreasin, an I came on up to see if that's true or not." Tibbie replies to Conway and points to the woman with her, "And I bet she's lookin to do the same. Name's Tibbie Gaines." She speaks with her usual southern charm, she doesn't offer a hand just yet, she keeps them up for the man's peace of mind.
|Aris||That shotgun is why the dark-haired woman had stayed at the gate! Once she's fairly certain she won't be shot, she comes up the property to the house. She glances between the man and the younger woman, letting them talk before finally interjecting. "You Brigham, then?" she asks, pulling a folded up piece of paper out of her front pocket and holding it up. It's a 'Help Wanted' ad. She nods at the other woman, who is far more charming than her. "Thought I'd see if you still need a farmhand."|
|Conway||Conway licks the corner of his mouth absently, thinking back. The rusty gears in his brain start to turn when he hears 'farmhand', and sees the ad as a visual. He remembers posting the ad now, it all makes sense! "Oh, oh!.." He chuckles nervously, opening the screen door behind him to set his shotgun back inside.
"Didn't mean to scare ya'll, probably didn't. I've just had some problems before with some big'ol boys trying to bring me outside, thas'all." He wipes his hands on the pantlegs of his denim overalls, stepping down off the porch to look over the two.
"Brigham, uh-huh. Conway." He grabs Tibbie's hand that's at her side and it gives it a few stern shakes before dropping it, placing his hands back on his hips to look at Aris. "I did need some workers, ya'll got experience?"
|Tibbie|| The tom girl shrugs at the first interview question Conway gives the women,
"Nah boss, I just know how to cook things a lot. Figured maybe by helpin out here I kin take a few stragglers and whip up some dinner for y'all and Ma back home on the cheap. Plus knowing how food works full circle oughta help me out later down the road." She earnestly replies. "Sounds like you ruined somethin good too just jackrabbin' up to us two, though it's understandable, I had my shack rustled up once or twice when I stepped away." She shifts her weight to one hip and maintains her easygoing posture.
|Aris||Watching the two of them shake hands, the black-haired woman keeps a bit of distance but does remove her sunglasses, at least. Her face is freckled and pretty, but her disposition doesn't seem particularly sunny. "Aris," she offers tersely as an introduction. The farmer's question elicits a subsequent nod. "My aunt owns a mutfruit farm in Texas Commonwealth, been diggin' in the dirt for her the last ten years or so. Gonna be in town for awhile, maybe I could dig in the dirt for you instead."|
|Conway||Conway rubs the underside of his dirty and stubbly face, making a 'hum' noise. "Didn't mean any offense, ladies." He looks between the offended cook and the freckled farmhand, thinking aloud. "Well, I could use a cook. Especially if I hire this one, she ain't going to want my cookin'." He bops his head towards Aris, still rubbing his jaw.
"Right, Aris and Tibbie. I've got work for ya'll, and it ain't just contract work. If you do a good job you can earn a living here."
"We've got six dairy cows, each one with their own respective calf. We've got some horses, some pigs, and we've got all the root vegetables growing." ... "I s'pose this won't be much trouble if'ya helped'yer aunt. You'll milk a single cow every morning and every evening, the same cow. When the next day passes, you pick another cow that hasn't been milked."
"On Sunday, that's your day off. All you need to do then is clean the horse stalls and lay out some feed." ... "We ain't got any gadgets round 'ere, so you best have strong wrists. All cows have to be milked by what God gave you." He turns towards Tibbie, outstretching his callous, rough index finger. "You'll be cooking for me an'my hand. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On Sunday, that's also your day off. Aris and I can fend for ourselves."
"I also expect'ya to learn how to harvest and take care of the animals too." ... "For all this, ya'll can expect 200 resources a week. That's what I can do right now, ya'll got any questions?"
|Conway||Conway halts the breaks on his terms, also holding up his finger. "Also, I've got a quarters for ya'll. Both of you have a bed upstairs in the house with'yer own respective bathroom. If ya'll don't want to sleep in the same room, there's also a loft above the barn."|
|Tibbie|| A grin breaks across Tibbie's face as she's getting the low-down from Conway, "Sounds like a good deal t'me!" she replies and asks,
"Y'all stomachs' aint tender to nothing I oughta know about? Don't need y'getting sick now." Tibbie asks the two. She grabs the bill and adjust her cap with a nudge, "There any dogs around?" She asks endearingly and takes a few hopeful glances around.
|Aris||The other woman's eyes scan the farm as Conway speaks, likely following the narrative he's laying out. "Never milked a cow before, but I'm a quick learner. Quicker than some, anyhow," Aris muses, settling her sunglasses on top of her hat for now. Slipping her hands into her back pockets, she nods at his offer. "200's fair, though I'll clean the horse stalls on Saturday, if'n it makes no difference to you. Shovelin' shit doesn't sound like much of a day off to me." She half-grins at this, hinting at the existence of a healthy sense of humor beneath all those rough edges. Gray eyes slide to look between the house and the barn, and her smile fades. "I'd prefer the loft in the barn, if you're amenable," she says sidelong to Tibbie, adding, "And 'long as it's not people I'm eating, I'm good." Is that a joke? It doesn't sound like a joke.|
|Conway||Conway bites the inside of his cheek, nodding his head. He removes his fur felt hat from his head, fanning himself with it. "There's going to be a heatwave through here in the up'n'comin' days, so stay cool, wear appropriate clothing and stay hydrated. Ya'll are welcome into the farmhouse at anytime, but stay out of the basement." .. There's something threatening and ominous about how he said that.
"With milking, you'll use a 15 quart stainless steel bucket. Wash off the teat with warm water before'ya start, and then it's just a matter of squeeze and shoot on all four of'em until the utter is all out. Then, just strain the milk with a cloth and put it in the fridge."
He looks over back at Aris, "Amenable I am. I'll bring some blankets and pillows up there for'ya." .. "Also, we've got some diesel tractors. They're the type you stand on and work, there ain't no sitting. You'll plow the back field next week and harvest the field of turnip greens infront of the house." .. "I expect you'll be teaching Tibbie some things as time goes on, but if ya'll ever need something, I'm available to help."
"So, Tibbie. You've got the room upstairs. We've also got plenty of barn cats, and one Border Collie named Gus who plays with them. You'll like'em, and he's going to want to sleep in the bed with you. Push him off if'ya want."
|Tibbie||Tibbie smiles at Aris' subtle joke and gives her a wink, "Corse not! I can't cook what I can't wrestle down first, and them kids is too fast for me!" She chuckles softly. Once Conway's stopped to take a breath from his instructions and Gus is introduced at the end, Tibbie seems ever perkier than usual as she nods along happily, "Aww now, Gus n'me'll be the best roommates y'ever seen boss!" she assures Conway. "He eats scraps? What kinnda kitchen you got back there? Do all the animals have names? Are there any baby animals? Are vegetables hard to dig up? There's standin machines here?" Tibbie seems to be on a rambling roll here as she tends to do when she's excited, her foot's tapping and her fingers are drumming on her sides "You git to sleep with all them kitter-cats! Lucky!" she adds on the end to Aris with a smile.|
|Aris||Tibbie's joke earns her a wry laugh from Aris, rare indeed. But now, with her work assigned, her next meal lined up, and a place to lay her head tonight, Aris looks satisfied with the agreements made. No need to stick around and socialize unnecessarily! "Appreciate the opportunity, Brigham," she cuts in before the brunette can ask another well-meaning question. "Gonna go check out the loft, if all's right with you." Finally offering a handshake to the man-- not in greeting, but in agreement of their deal-- Aris tips her brown cowboy hat at Tibbie before moving off through the field towards the barn.|
|Conway||After the duo is briefed of their work, Conway invites them inside to have a tour of the old farmhouse. He walks them through the bedrooms, including Tibbie's. It's a minimalist bedroom that's lit by an oil lamp. Nothing special, but she's got some nice handmade quilts sprawled over her bed.
He explains how his family used to occupy the home, but now he's the only one around since his mother and father died - going into the history of the farm.
Conway shows Tibbie the kitchen area, it's a small kitchen with a stove, a large fridge, and a large freezer. The kitchen table is just a few feet away.
Conway then shows Aris the loft above the barn where she'll be sleeping, but has to yell at the barn cats to move away so they can get a real picture of it. Everything is coming together, and everything is prepared for two extra helping-hands.