Evans knocked three times on the side of the dugout, then stepped through the door. He looked around at the bored looking miners and Polly. He pulled the scroll out from under the crook of his arm and unfurled it, even though knew the statement by heart. Stupid tradition. “I am most honored to present The Most Beautiful, Marriageable Lady Demetria Kestel, Heiress to the Duchy of Medway, Captain in the 202nd Infantry, who sheathed her blade inside Baron Semyon of Kalach at Urbs.”
Captain Kestel then entered in the finest clothing she had. Her cleanest jacket with all her medals pinned on and the rarely used officer’s skirt. Evans had even polished her boots to a mirror shine. A mirror shine that he would have to take off tomorrow. If this was a date, so far, Evans had put most of the work into it. And he wasn’t getting anything out of it. He probably wouldn’t even get dinner tonight.
Polly stood up and pointed to a side room, “Captain Stoddart has asked for you to wait in his office. He is currently inspecting the number three shaft and I shall retrieve him.” She did an about turn and walked into the mine entrance.
Evans led Captain Kestel into the office and pulled the door close. The Captain walked to the closest chair, sat down, and put her feet up on the desk. Evans leaned against the wall and sighed, “I hate you so much.”
Captain Kestel flipped her hair, “Why? Are you saddened because a poor farmer such as you will never have the chance to wed me?”
“Oh man, you’ve caught me. Every day. I’m like, man, I would murder my wife and daughter just for one night in Captain Kestel’s bed. To get the chance to marry you would be unimaginable,” Evans faked crying.
Putting her hand on her chin, Captain Kestel responded, “You know, technically we slept in the same bed several times when we were up here in December. So you will have to kill them.”
“I hardly think that counts Cap,” Evans lit a cigarette and took a puff. “When someone says they want to spend time in someones bed, they are thinking of some sort of sexual enco-”
Blushing, Captain Kestel put a hand over her face, “I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!”
“Are you sure?” Evans bent down, blew some smoke into the Captain’s face, and whispered into her ear, “I could give you a demonstration.”
“Oh yes, yes, take me now,” Captain Kestel and Evans stared at each other intensely for a moment before breaking out laughing.
“No, but seriously,” Evans took another puff, “It takes so long to introduce you.”
There was a knock at the door. Captain Kestel quickly straightened out her uniform. Evans walked over and opened the door. Evans saluted Captain Stoddart then left the room.
Polly waved him over to a table the miners were sitting at. He walked over and sat down. The miners were kind of creepy. They were all staring at him. Polly smiled, “Walls can be very thin Evans.”
Evans was confused for a moment, then he realized, “Oh shit. Um… Oh God.”
One of the miners, heavily bearded and covered in dirt said, “From what I could hear of the conversation, I could probably get a lot of money from a tabloid. I can see the headline now,” He spread his hands out, “Lady Demetria in Love Affair with Poor Farmer. Pregnant?” The man extended his hand to Evans, “I’m Clay by the way.”
Shaking the hand, Evans responded in kind, “Jim Evans, and, sorry, You’re a miner named Clay?”
“Wow, I have never heard that before. Are you some sort of genius?” Clay laughed, paused a moment, and then started pointing out everyone, “So, I’m Clay. That’s Basil. Next to him is Breezy. Next to her is Bob. Next to him is Brynn. Next to her is Chris. And you already know Polly, the most useless person in the world.”
“Hey! I’m not useless! I have lot’s of talents!”
Basil spoke up, “OK, what talents do you have for a mining operation?”
“That isn’t my job though. I am here to provide security and administrative support. So there.”
“And Cap Winny needs his garden, I saw him give you a green gown” Bob laughed.
Polly looked indignantly, “Well he’s a good Gardener. Plus I like the green gown.”
Clay, Basil, Bob, and Chris all started to sing, “An’ then they began, / Like lightnin’ an’ thunder / An’ then they began, / Like lightnin’ an’ thunder / On the green green grass, / Pretty Polly layin’ under. / Just lie your leg over me, do!”
Brynn smirked, “See, you should have planned ahead. The only song with my name is Lines on the Brynn.”
“Well it’s better than when I went by Ann. People would ask me to dance the Tra-la-la-loo and call me Greenmount Smiling Ann,” Polly shrugged.
Bob leaned forward, intrigued, “So, Greenmount Smiling Ann, is that nickname based on reality?”
Polly sighed, “You wouldn’t understand.” She looked at Breezy and Brynn, “Don’t you agree, the feeling of wet grass on your back, staring up at the sky?”
“Oh my God you miners are so weird,” Evans slapped his hand on the table, “Polly, you really like being fucked outdoors on grass. We all know what you’re talking about. Goddammit in the Infantry we can speak without all these stupid fucking metaphors.”
It was silent for a moment. Breezy giggled, “Maybe they just put all the smart people here. All you need for infantry is a pair of legs and a rifle. So we use our brains to make metaphors and things.”
The playful arguments continued for an hour before Captain Kestel exited the room. She nodded to Evans, who got up, stuck his tongue out, and followed the Captain out. Evans looked down at Captain Kestel, “So how’d it go?”
“Oh God I was so bored,” Captain Kestel put her hand over her face, “At first I was having a good time. Then he gets to the real reason he asked for dinner. He asked me if he could visit me some time after the war. To look at rocks. He was not interested in marrying me in any way. Apparently Medway has really good rocks. After I said yes out of politeness, he proceeded to ask me questions about all the rocks around my families castle and what it was made of. Why would I know what my castle is made of? Stones? Does anyone even know what their castle is made of?”
“I for one don’t know what my castle is made of,” Evans laughed, “My house is made of wood though.”
“Gah, I hope you get killed in the attack,” the Captain laughed, “Then I can have a proper assistant who will not give me any lip.”