by Torn MacAlester
Deep wrinkles sat at the corners of Morgan’s blue eyes. His face was a stubble of gray and brown beard, perhaps a day’s worth of growth. Morgan’s thin lips had no hint of a smile, nor did they hint a frown. Pulling off the communications helmet, he revealed a long mane of graying hair. Nelson saw a hint of a sparkle in the man’s eyes as he spoke.
“Thanks,” stated Morgan in a gravelly voice, trailing into a question.
“Nelson.” He extended his hand in friendship to Morgan.
“Nelson,” Morgan smiled, returning the handshake. “Can we strike a bargain for a meal and two tanks of oxygen?”
“Sure,” answered Nelson. “What did you have in mind?” Making a deal did not surprise Nelson. Prospectors usually made deals, though they fiercely followed through with them.
“A rousing conversation and a secret is all I can offer.”
“That seems a little thin,” said Nelson, feeling that the stranger was looking for a handout instead of a deal.
“Son,” smiled Morgan, “once you know the secret, you won’t think so.”