I pulled a leaf out of my sock. The backpack was killing my shoulders. Why had I decided to walk into the woods? Because Kaiti wanted to walk into the woods to find a rainbow. I didn't care about the rainbow. I just wanted my job back, and she was refusing to give it to me. Because of all the miscellaneous things I have had to do as an apology for not showing up for two weeks, I should probably ask for some sort of pay. Not that I needed it.
"They found that body." She stopped, checking a map with her compass.
I dropped the backpack on the ground. At least the trees were shading us as it got closer to noon. "Are we looking for the end of a rainbow, because that's not actually possible. Science-"
"What do you think happened with the body?"
"I don't know." I rolled my shoulders. It had been what six months? Longer? When... had I stopped counting? It was enough time that I was near fluent in Russian again. "Could I get my job back. Maybe a paycheck? I don't-"
"Like walks in the woods? I think you'd prefer them if you had the right clothes. You always look ready for a formal evening."
That reminded me of the least formal thing I owned. "Do you want a pair of pink socks? I mean, I-"
She held up her hand. "We're continuing. Pick up the bag."
"No complaining, Michael. Here you don't have to be worried about your roots showing."
My grip tightened around the shoulder straps, freezing. "What?"
"Oh, you just keep your hair so well cut, but I guess you hadn't noticed." She was smiling, hiding a light laugh. "That your blond hair was growing out."
No, I definitely had not noticed.... Maybe that was a good thing. I had finally forgotten who I was even with the occasional journalist. Still, I couldn't let my blond hair grow out to it's natural black, the press would jump on that faster than the murder party, so I would need to-
That blue hair dye was still sitting on my counter.
Grinning, I pulled the bag onto my shoulder.
"We're going to find the end of that rainbow?"
"Yes, Michael." Kaiti nodded. "Then I suggest you mop the floor of the laundromat tomorrow."
So I got my job
and a little show of change
with an opened box.