The market was busier this morning, compared to the last few days.
Harvest season was in full swing and the various farming families of the town, if you could call it that, were gathered to buy and sell. Brick, the term for money now, which reminded older folks of mini Kit-Kat bars cast in gold or silver, usually didn’t go far among locals for day to day needs, especially during harvest time. Bartering and trading were truly the primary source of currency as the value was immediate: services, labor and trading goods for goods. Some food was being prepared from a couple vendors, ready to barter or trade their freshly made meals. The grilled meat and baked bread smells amazing, I love this time of year. Go ahead, take a whiff.
Sorry, I got sidetracked by the food. And who wouldn’t? This cool late morning air and all the tasty aromas floating lightly on the breeze… See? There I go again. Forgive the hedonist in me! But back to Brick.
Brick had its place, of course. At market, regardless of the season, it could help to lubricate the acquistion of items that were either harder to come by, or were more desirable. Brick went even farther when it came to town-to-town relations versus inter-personal trade. It’s funny, how for multiple millenia, various peoples and tribes the world over have agreed upon the value of a shiny metal that can’t make you warm, won’t feed your starving kids and can’t be used to start a fire. But when you get enough people to agree that it is valuable, then it becomes the tool to acquire such things.
Anyway… I’m trailing again.
These towns, ghosts of what they were before, have some form of hierarchy: Magistrate, Governor, Boss – take your pick depending on the town. Oh, speaking of, here comes our own Governor’s entourage now! Look over there to the eastern entrance of the market, you’ll notice the Governor’s fully armed guards and timidly behind them, the Bricklayers – a crude title for a treasurer – are coming in to set up the Governor’s place in the market today. Anytime Brick may be involved, someone connected to the Governor will be present, and on special occassions such as Harvest time, he’s personally involved. Seated in a visually advantage spot to, um, preside over the Harvest market. He’ll be around shortly, I’m sure.
Governors and their company do have some sort of function, to be sure: keeping order, settling disputes, catching and punishing thieves, offering their version of leadership and vision to the people, yada yada. Think of it sort of like a Mayor, Sheriff, Judge – as well as Jury and Executioner and any other role of power of influence he choses – all rolled into one. You know, even in a time such as this, where people could choose to create a better or different form of self-governance, people seem to want someone in charge and tell them what to do. Human nature is interesting, it seems we are preconditioned, hardwired even, to want a God-King or Queen, some Grand Poo-bah to be over the rest of us. Regardless of how much the people struggle and the ruling class profits. Interesting, too, the connection with how the God-King is the one with the most gold and weapons.
Ah, the real Golden Rule: The one with the most gold makes the rules. Or guns. Or both. And see! I’m trailing again. Oh, how I appreciate your patience with me!
This isn’t a tale about the economy or the ruling class or the masses, during this time of hardship and instability. But we shall see how they all naturally intertwine with our man in due time.
What’s that, who is our man? Oh, well speak of the devil! Take a look at the man near the northern entrance to the market, he just walked in a moment ago. That is our man.
See how he walks in? A purposeful stride, solid posture, head up and alert, yet unassuming and approachable. Work boots, jeans that are in good condition yet have been put through the paces, an older military style olive drab field jacket zipped and buttoned halfway up, an untucked and unbuttoned worn flannel underneath with a gray undershirt. And look, a darkened leather holster poking out just below the field jacket and flannel on his right side. While most people around here carry semi-automatic pistols or small snub-nosed revolvers, that, my friends, is a Peacemaker, a revolver harkening back to the days of Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock, Western American Outlaws and all that.
There aren’t very many of those around in working order anymore.
Oh, who am I?
I’m that younger chap walking in behind him, haha, see? Haha, see how I come in! How old was I now… twenty-five? Twenty-eight? Ah, I can’t remember! I was on an errand to get some of the early picks of vegetables, some eggs and a gallon of milk for my family and friends, as well as barter and trade for some supplies. I had my head in the clouds though, pining after a chance to see Samantha, one of the mint and alphalpha farmer’s daughters. We lived near her father’s property line. I know I was also drooling for a chance to take a moment to myself and eat some of the freshly cooked food I was blathering on about earlier.
I hadn’t a clue who Jason was at the time. See how I just walked passed him without a glance! Though our paths would irrevocably cross very soon here in this marketplace and even though we’d be practically inseperable whether we liked it or not for for quite a long time after this moment, I wouldn’t know his name for some time…
To be continued…