“Yes. What are you going to do about it?”

The ten-man crew that passed them by was led by Ronnie, the brusque owner of the voice that constantly challenged Allen and his two friends. In the granary, he was a relic of an old timer, some said older than the building itself.

“I do not want problems, old guy.” Allen looked down on him. Being taller and much younger, he hid his disdain against the entire members of the group who inappropriately called themselves as The Giants: they were all short.

“Look straight to me, boy, when you talk to me!”

There was a chorus of derisive laughter behind the man who could be described as the worst patient a dentist could have. He spat his words authoritatively.

“I am far-sighted,” Allen shot back. “I have difficulty seeing small things in front of me.”

Ed and Danny doubled up laughing, automatically getting the ire of their counterparts.

“Watch it, boy!” Ronnie grinned, controlling his fists. “Look there!”

Everyone looked to where The Giants’ leader pointed to.

Allen accepted the veiled warning with a sly smile.  Three against ten could be considered an unfavorable odds but he was sure that if the push became a shove, he and his friends could give The Giants a hell of a fight.

“I think Boss would never think twice to let you all go.”

“So what if you’re his favorite!” Ronnie let out an outburst. “He still needs me. My group!”

“Stop your troublesome behavior!” Allen roared back. “You’re bad for business!”

“Am I now?” Ronnie stepped back a bit, readying himself for an attack.

Their loud confrontation did not escape the attention of those waiting outside their Boss’s office. Someone reported it immediately.

“What’s happening there?” Mr. Yang walked briskly toward the hut. “Don’t you have work?”

“Boss, we’re just taking bets for the boxing fight next Sunday,” Allen replied, lying for all concerned. “It will over in a minute. Right, Ronnie?”

“Yes, Boss!” he nodded. “No trouble here!”

“Go back to work!” Mr. Yang ordered, his eyes squinting, trying to interpret the looks of his workers. He often suspected they were all saying one thing but doing something else. Even the language barrier between them added to the daily misunderstanding.

Their boss walked back to his office without another word when they dispersed immediately. Ronnie’s crew left him with Allen and his friends.

“I am not thanking you for what you did,” Ronnie said, staring at Allen without blinking. “I did not ask for favors.”

“Neither did I,” Allen shrugged.

“This will not be the last time we’d talk,” Ronnie warned, caressing his knuckles.

“Why wait?” Allen dared. “Give me your best shot!”

“Some other time, boy!” Ronnie backtracked, turning around.

“Oh, you need more practice,” he jested. “While you’re at it, learn to run, too!”

“Don’t push it!” Danny held Allen’s arms tightly. “He’s not worth it!”

“Give him to me,” Ed butted in. “I’ll spin him around several times to get him back to his senses.”

“What if I spin you around now?” Danny asked angrily.

“That would be great!” Allen escaped the hold and turned to Ed who frowned at the idea.

(to be continued)



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