All the Old Man wanted was writing sticks and blank sheets. Sheet pads, blank sheets, even sheets that held words would get a little something. They would be easy to find.
All Dusty wants is to feel good again. He wants to feel better.
The grime of the Old World clung to Dusty’s fingers. He’d stuck his hands deep into the long-dead guts of For Car High. A big chunk of the Old World rife with splinter, stink and sadness. Shadows on the wall watched Dusty while he rifled through their hiding spots. Metal doors barely big enough for a child held all the paper and writing sticks in the Old World. Dusty was pleased.
The Old Man’s sled was in sight. It’d been a long walk. The Burning Yellow’s blaze was simmering. The Big White would arrive soon with the Sparkly Plains.
The Old Man put scary eyes to Dusty. His hand rested on a Hip Iron, ready to put Dusty underground with a twitch of the finger.
“You have what I need?” The Old Man asked.
“Yes, I bring all of it. Sticks that make words, and the spaces that hold them.” Dusty put his pack on the ground at the Old Man’s feet. He unzipped the filthy duffel, and displayed its guts.
“I brought what you want. Now…give what I need.” Dusty said. His neck itched. His chest quivered.
The Old Man bent down to get into his Sled of Many Bags. In a few moment, he produced the Happy Cans that Dusty craved. Three as agreed.
“Do you have the Browns?? I need the Browns for the Cans!!” Dusty’s eyes widened.
“…Do you really need them?” The Old Man asked. Dusty nodded frantically in response. The Old Man crumpled his lips into half an upside-down smile and produced the Browns for Dusty.
Dusty’s eyes lit up. He quickly grabbed a Happy Can and a Brown to get rid of the bad feelings. He didn’t even notice the Old Man leave with his findings.
Dusty was in a better place. A place far away from the New World. Away from the cold, and the lonely.