The story so far:
“Rummy on the board,” she reached down and pulled the three, four, and five of diamonds from the pile on the crate.
“You have good eyes and a quick mind.” The man sitting across from her laughed lightly. “Too good and too quick for me.”
“Thank you, Solomon.” They sat outside his tent, the sun shining brightly as it banished the chill of the night before. Her companion grabbed another card from the deck, checked his hand and discarded, making certain before he let go of the card that it did not create another rummy.
“You visit Mr. Sharp this morning?” Solomon asked.
She picked up a card and immediately put it in the discard pile. Renni knew what she needed to win the game and the five of spades wasn’t it. “I visit him every morning.”
“And then you visit me for our daily after breakfast game.” He placed three cards on the crate, leaving three in his hand after his discard. “And after this you will visit Carter and his daughter. Where do you go from there? To Marshal?”
She nodded and again discarded an unwanted draw.
“What exactly do you and Marshal do together?”
“He’s teaching me.”
“You spend several hours a day with him. Those are pretty long lessons, Renni.”
“Not really. We only practice for about an hour before we make our rounds.”
“Ah yes, the good Samaritans who visit the masses distributing needed supplies, taking requests, making lives better. You also work in the mess tent during meals.”
“What are you getting at?” Renni finally got the card she wanted. Setting down her hand, she discarded and went out.
“Haha, you caught me with some hefty points.” Solomon showed her the three cards in his hand, all face cards.
“I think this puts me over the top today.” She counted out the points on the board and marked them on a slip of paper they kept with the deck. They then gathered the cards and slipped them into the tattered box.
“What were you saying earlier, Solomon?” she asked.
“I was saying, you work too hard, Renni.”
“This is working too hard? I might have to challenge you to another round.”
“Haha! No, no more losing for me today. Your mind is too alert. I cannot make a mistake around you without it costing me dearly.” He grinned and gave her shoulder a playful push. “A thousand points is too short a time these wintry mornings.”
“Agreed.” She stood and stretched, raising her arms over her head towards the warm sun. “We might have to organize a tournament one of these days. I heard Thomas taught Phys the game.”
“Yes, and I heard that Thomas regrets it. Our resident doc is unbeatable. I would love to watch a match between the two of you. My money would be on you.”
“Save your money… wait, you have money?” She looked at him incredulously, her arms poised and forgotten above her head.
“A few dollars left to my name. Not that they matter anymore.” He chuckled. Settling down, his eyes went to her coat pocket. “What is that?”
She reached into the pocket and pulled out a doll made entirely out of yarn. “Mrs. Shoes taught me a little bit of crocheting. I can’t knit to save my life. This is for Gloria. The kids here have so few toys.”
“You are not a good Samaritan. You are Santa reincarnate.” He took the doll from her hand and studied it a bit. “Mrs. Shoes is a good teacher.”
“So are you, Solomon. It seems that everyone here has something to teach and to learn.”
“Eh, teach me how to beat you at Rummy, Renni. That is all I want to learn right now.”