Mabel and Ed take a few minutes to size each other up. Mabel sees a skinny kid wearing an air of diffidence that clashes with his ragged clothing. Not quite young enough for an urchin, this one; he's sitting on the cusp of manhood with all the typical bravado. Alone, balancing with boyish grace in their shared boat, he doesn't worry her - but then, she supposes, she in turn doesn't seem all that intimidating at first glance.
The kid speaks up first. "Nice evenin', ain't it, miss?"
"I guess," says Mabel, taking note of the mosquitoes, the smell of waterlogged vegetation and the ripples of potential alligators that make up their current surroundings. She takes a drag on her cigarette, hoping the smoke will keep at least a few of the insects at bay. "Ain't you kinda young for this gig?"
Ed smirks. "You'd think so to look at me, wouldn't you, miss? Trust me, I don't get beat so easy."
Mabel is charmed despite herself. This kid's swagger will take him places.
"You got guts there, kid. Almos