Connal ignored the resentment simmering in the silence and enjoyed his drink.
Ally might have exhausted her tongue, but she hadn’t exhausted her bitterness. Her arguments would start to flow again as soon as the drink hit her, maybe with more vehemence than before if she was that kind of drunk.
But he pitied her too. It did seem a raw deal.
Connal sipped the beer again, looking at Ally thoughtfully. She was tough. She was wiry and long, the muscles visible below the tanned skin. The expression that she wore was as fierce as his own could be, enough to make others skirt her in this dingy taproom despite the swell of her chest and the flare of her hips just hanging over either edge of the stool. With her hair braided back she looked as ready for action as any man in the tavern.
Connal let his eyes slide around the barroom. Ally really did look as capable as many here, and she was trustworthy besides, which he could say for very few of the burly men lit by the candlelight.
“How,” Connal asked her carefully, “attached are you to your hair?”
Ally’s eyes narrowed sharply. “What?”
“Your hair. Would you cut it?”
“And your chest. If you wore baggy clothes and maybe bound those things back more firmly….”
“What’re you getting at, Connal?”
“I’m saying you’d make a good crewman.”
This week we all stole from Kate Kearney from More Than 1/2 Mad. She wrote “The Living and the Dead.” We pinched the first line and used it but saw nothing of the rest of her story before we wrote our own stories.