"What ya got there, Nathan?" Buck asked as he came out of the break room and saw the frown on his friend's face.
Hearing the question, the rest of the guys, except Chris who was in his office, looked up to see what was going on.
"It's a work sheet that Rain's niece left in our car. I can't believe they have them doing something this hard in the third grade."
"Just what is it they have to do?" Josiah asked.
"They're given a list of words and they have to write out something that will describe the word without using the dictionary meaning of the word. For example, 'The Sun.'," he explained.
"A fiery circle in the sky" JD answered.
"No, that won't work, JD, it's too similar to the dictionary definition. It can't be even close." Nathan shook his head as he reread the instructions.
"Well hell, what kind of answer do they expect someone to come up with?" Buck said.
"A brightly colored light bulb, turned on, lighting the area," Vin shrugged.
"That's a good answer, Vin, it would actually be accepted. Here's another one, 'Window'."
"Seeing the rain from your couch," Vin replied.
"Bet you can't do all of them, Vin," Buck responded with a smile.
"Bet, Mr. Wilmington, did I hear you right? I say Mr. Tanner is able to complete the list," Ezra grinned.
"You're on. Winner buys around at the saloon after work."
"Anyone else wish to lay odds?" Ezra asked the others.
"No offense, Vin, but I'm with Buck. Some of these are hard," JD said as he looked at the list Nathan was holding.
Josiah, along with Nathan, both shook their heads, expressing they weren't betting at all. The five men looked at Vin.
Shrugging his shoulders, Vin calmly offered, "I'll try to answer, but I ain't betting."
Nathan lifted the paper to say what the next word was, pausing as another voice was heard.
"My money's on Vin," Chris announced, having come out of his office.
Everyone looked at Nathan as he called out the next word. "Cowboy."
"Chris," Vin said.
Everybody broke out laughing.
"But that ain't a right answer," Buck stated with a smile.
"On the contrary, Mr. Wilmington. The instructions state for each person to give an answer that their group will understand. And this is Mr. Tanner's group and we do all understand the reference. So since it conforms to the rules it is a right answer. Is that not correct, Mr. Jackson?" Ezra responded.
"He's right, Buck, that's how it reads," Nathan nodded.
"Give Vin the next word Nathan," Josiah said.
"The road's ups and downs."
"Eating caught fish under the stars."
"Saying goodbye forever," Vin softly answered without thought.
"I'm not anymore." Again his soft truth came out without thought, yet left him a bit embarrassed and feeling the emotions in the room.
Nathan, not sure whether to go on, having gone from a funny thing to something else, paused for a moment.
"Mr. Jackson, if you would be so kind as to say the last word on the list," Ezra expressed, wanting to get the issue over with now.
Vin, hoping the last word would be something he could ease the tension in the room with, looked up as he heard Nathan speak.
"Last word, Vin, 'Volcano'."
"Chris's reaction when one of us gets into or causes trouble."
Silence rang for almost a full minute, before the first snicker rang out, then another, and another till five of the men were either leaning on desks or falling back in chairs with their uncontrolled laughter. Chris glared at Vin and Vin calmly looked back at his friend. Chris finally shrugged and stated, "Come on, cowboy, Buck and JD are buying the rounds this evening."