"You sure this ain't your stuff?" Merle pouted. He looked so sad and lost, Rick almost felt sorry for him.
"Yep, I'm pretty sure." Rick reached into one of the boxes and pulled out a gaudy, gold-rimmed commemorative plate of the Virgin Mary. In the other hand he held a chihuahua dog lamp.
"Now that's just tragic," Andrea intoned.
"Where did ya guys grab all this stuff?" Rick asked, pulling out more cheap art that was obviously crafted south of the border.
"You said you parked on the east corner, right?" Glenn asked with a bit of uncertainty.
"Where do you think the east corner should be?" Rick queried.
"Right behind the little sandwich shop?" Maggie shrugged.
"Aw man, they don't know shit about directions," Daryl moaned. "That's the west corner."
"So I take it you didn't empty out a small, blue Ford truck?" Rick winced.
"No, its was a large, beat up, black Chevy truck. With those little dingle bells in the window and crushed red velvet on the dashboard…oh," Glenn stuttered, holding his forehead in one palm.
"See? I told you it wasn't his!" Carol clamored out in conviction.
"Okay, this makes us feel so much better about you," Sasha affirmed happily. "See this face? Relieved face."
"I knew it wasn't his," Beth scowled, her brows knit together. "Ya all wouldn't listen to me."
"So this ain't your stuff?" Merle sulked.
"No, Merle it ain't! Stop being such a fuckin' baby. We just haf' to go down again," Daryl grumbled. "Lord knows ya need the exercise."
"I ain't bitchin' cuz I gotta go back down. I wanted to know how much he wanted for this?!" And with that Merle pulled out a painting of Elvis on a black velvet background. "That there is a master-fucking-piece! And look at these shoes. Now these are some great fuckin' shoes!"
Merle pulled out a pair of bright blue suede dress shoes with zebra fabric on the vamps.
If there was a more hideous pair of shoes in all of Georgia, Rick did not want to meet them.
"Merle, put those god awful things back! Those ain't Rick's so you can't barter for em!" Daryl growled. "Sides, Rick would never be caught dead in em!"
"Why ya's gotta go get my hopes up and this shit ain't even yours!" Merle shouted at Rick.
"This ain't his fault Merle! The lot of ya couldn't even get tha damn car right!" Daryl yelled back in defense of Rick.
"And whaddaya' mean 'I need the exercise?'" Merle confronted his brother.
"Shut the fuck up Merle," Daryl groused in exasperation.
If he kept a running tally of every time he heard 'Shut the fuck up Merle', Rick wondered if he would win a prize when he reached one-hundred.
Something like, Shane getting the crappy shift that no one wanted at work or a particularly nasty case of the clap.
"I guess, we have to go downstairs and return this stuff to the correct person," Rick sighed.
"You actually think someone is missing this shit?" Glenn scoffed.
"Yeah, okay, Rick's right," Daryl nodded, while everyone groaned, got back up and marched down the stairs.
He already loved the fact that Daryl seemed to have his back.
"Boy, talk abou' shitty first impressions, huh?" Rick chaffed to Daryl, who happened to be walking down alongside of him.
"Yer talkin' to a guy whose brother's always running 'round naked," Daryl knocked back. "Sides, it were their own fault, don't know their damn directions."
"I knew which corner was east and I knew, that in no way, shape or form, was that your truck," a haughty Michonne derided as she walked up beside the two, nudging Rick playfully.
Rick looked back at the woman and smiled, tingling where she had made contact with him. "I suppose you would."
Before the trio could get into a more spirited round of banter, they heard a harried woman, speaking in what was undoubtedly the fastest Spanish Rick had ever heard, coming from the foot of the stairs.
Rick would bet Carl's college fund on who that voice could possibly belong to.
"Um guys, I think we found the owner of those boxes," Glenn murmured, confirming Rick's thoughts.
"Oh hey!" Dale said gratefully as he noticed everyone coming down the stairs, "My Spanish is pretty rusty. I'm not sure what in the hell she's getting excited about. Her aura is so distressed right now," he said as he rolled his eyes. "I think it's something about her stuff being taken. Either that or she hit a moose but I don't think moose are indigenous to Atlanta."
With the way everyone looked around guiltily, Dale nodded his head, Rick noticing the exact 'aha' moment.
"What was I thinking, of course you know. What did you do?" Dale sighed in resignation.
"Well, I think we…that is…I was moving. See, I have a blue truck and…and I said east…but not Glenn's idea of east…and I don't know, it's really funny…but we sorta…took her stuff," Rick winced. "It's all in my apartment right now."
Dale huffed in acceptance while nodding his head, "I don't know how to tell her that though. She's waving her arms around and…"
"I speak some Spanish, I can talk to her, let her know it was a mistake," Rick appeased.
"Oh good," Dale exhaled.
"Did I hear you need assistance in translating?" a very tall man stated as he came in from the outside. "I couldn't help but overhear her distress," he smiled as he looked at the people gathered. "I speak fluent Spanish."
"Oh that's just great!" Dale admonished as he threw his hands up in the air. "Rick here can talk to the nice lady. Stay out of it Philip. And since when do you know fluent Spanish?"
"No, I insist," the one called Philip contended.
"We know wha' happened here already ass," Daryl jeered.
"Look, I know Spanish," Rick reiterated. "I'll talk to her. It's ma' fault anyway."
"No its okay," Philip smiled condescendingly.
Rick grimaced as Philip addressed the agitated woman in the worst Spanish he had ever heard.
He just asked the woman if a caterpillar was walking around in her pants.
The angry woman started shrieking at Philip, hurling insults at him, no doubt the obstinate man having not the slightest clue of what she was saying.
Philip tried to calm her down by telling her a rabid monkey was going to come along and help her with her maidenhood.
Rick was pretty sure the flustered woman's shrill cries could be heard in space at this point.
"Okay, let me take care of this," Rick cajoled. "Thank you for your help Philip."
"Be my guest," he said as he dismissed the woman and stepped aside.
Rick asked the woman if she was looking for her stuff, and in turn she rushed out her entire story about how she was helping her sister move across town when she decided to stop at the sandwich shop (Rick noting that being the one on the west corner) when she looked up from eating her cubano, which she also explained was a Cuban grilled ham and cheese sandwich, (Rick now remembering it had been a while since he had last eaten and a cubano sounded heavenly) and observed people taking everything out of her truck.
He apologized profusely, told her it was a misunderstanding and that everyone would bring the boxes downstairs and put everything back into her truck for her.
She smiled, grabbed Rick by his face and kissed him on both cheeks, thanking him for saving her from the crazy, tall gringo with the very bad Spanish and that it wasn't his fucking business what she had running around in her pants.
And just when he thought the whole mess had been handled, Merle yelled out, "Hey! Don't forget to ask her about the damn shoes!"
"Shut the fuck up Merle!" Rick hollered back, his hands on his hips.
"Well, it's official. He's one of us," Sasha acceded.
"Sorry about that Dale," Rick apologized, "I should have gone down to the truck with everyone."
"It's okay. I'm used to that kind of thing around here," he shrugged. "So I see you've met some of the tenants already. I hope they didn't come on too strong?"
"We were fine Dale," Andrea scoffed.
"Uh huh," Dale nodded.
"So you're the one who moved into 5C, huh?" Philip grinned. "You know, a man who can live in an apartment like that, is a man people know isn't afraid of anything."
Despite the man's patronizing attitude, he had a point.
He wasn't afraid of the apartment.
He was more afraid of not being able to give his children a place they can call home for the few meager hours the courts in King County deigned to allocate him.
"I'm Rick. Rick Grimes," Rick said as he held out his hand.
"Name's Philip, as you've probably already guessed," he said as he shook Rick's hand, squeezing just a tad too firmly, quietly asserting his dominance, "but people have taken to calling me Governor 'round here. Don't know why."
"Because you told us to!" Glenn exclaimed annoyed by the brash man.
"Maybe its because they look to me for advice, for when they need help," Philip continued.
"No we don't," Maggie blurted out. "You keep buttin' in everybody's business."
"I'm sort of the 'go to' guy, dare I say, their leader, the conductor of this train we call home," he finished, entirely too pleased with himself.
"No you're not," Dale gritted out. "It's my building!"
With that Dale walked away muttering about egomaniacal office workers.
"And don't you worry Dale!" Philip called out to his retreating form, "I'll make sure the boxes get returned and our new tenant is all settled in."
"We have it under control Governor," Daryl sneered as he walked by. "You go on now and do whatever it is ya all do."
"Nonsense, this is what I do. So Rick," Philip said, as he walked alongside the stairs with him, while Daryl grumbled, "you play golf?"
"No, never had the chance to," Rick shrugged.
"That's good, that's good. So I'll see you up on the roof in the mornings on the weekends, to hit a few balls," the 'Governor' said, despite Rick's reply.
"But I don't play…the roof?" he exclaimed.
"Damn fool hits golf balls off the roof every fuckin' Saturday morning," Daryl muttered.
"You hit…but don't they, ya know, hit people walking 'round down there?" Rick cringed.
"You know, golf is an old sport. It was played by kings and the aristocracy," the tall man continued. "They say it goes as far back as Roman times and that it was played in China. It was known as Chuiwan there. Isn't that right Glenn?"
"I don't know," Glenn bemoaned. "For the last time, I'm Korean!"
Rick knew this kind of man, the Governor.
They had a soundtrack playing in their head and nothing could get through it. It didn't matter how many times you changed the channel, it was still the same song.
"I don't play golf, don't like golf, don't plan on ever playing golf and I'd rather be pole-dancing to Taylor Swift than play a game that makes men wear funny looking pants," Rick stated matter-of-factly.
Everyone in hearing distance stopped and looked back, Michonne giving him a small smile and a wink, while Daryl quietly chuckled, and the Governor?
Why he didn't even miss a step.
"That's great Rick. So I always tee off Saturdays, about 8 AM, that's in the morning."
"Wouldna' known that if you hadn't clarified it," Rick laughed, while turning to address Daryl. "I wish we could sneak off and have a cubano."
"Da hell is that?" Daryl burst out.
"Ah baby brother," Merle taunted while shaking his head, "and you say I know nothin.' It's a damn cigar dummy!"
After Daryl's response, Rick marked off another tally.