Sometime later they stood upon the top of the cliff, looking across a flat field of waving grasses and short trees, small mud dwellings dotting the landscape. Not far away, in the foggy distance, a mountain peak rose from the plateau. The weather here was significantly cooler than on the plains.
"Again," growled Vic, checking his map, "this is not on the map."
"Again," echoed BA, "this is in the book."
"Well, darn it." Vic snarled, looking down. He removed his pack and started rummaging through it.
"What's the problem, Vic?" BA looked around for danger.
"I have a grass stain on these pants. I really hate this color. Every bit of dirt shows. It's annoying."
BA rolled his eyes. "I don't remember you caring so much about stains. That's a little odd…"
Vic grimaced. "And the stain isn't coming out. He sat down on the ground and rubbed vigorously at his knee.
"Fastidious, perhaps. But this borders on psychotic." BA muttered with folded arms as he stared at his brother.
"It's neurotic. If I were psychotic I'd be hearing voices telling me things."
"No, just that tiny voice that tells me you're not going to like why I am angry about the stains." Vic straightened, shouldered his pack and started walking. "We might as well walk as I tell you."
BA caught up to his brother and matched steps with him on his left, still not saying anything.
"You recall we made some decent money in the market rise a few months ago?"
BA grunted assent.
"Well, I took it and invested it in a small firm. A good idea, good business plan, nice concept…"
"Stain-proof clothing. I put almost all the money into stain-proof clothing. These pants were supposed to be stain-proof."
BA looked at his pants. "Well, they are holding up well. In the city or for casual wear they probably would be stain-resistant."
"Yes, and we'll get some return on the investment, but they aren't stain-PROOF."
"Well, thank goodness."
"You don't want to make a small fortune?"
"Have one. Love to make another, which is why we're here, as you might recall. But I'm just glad you aren't going bonkers on me. You're a bit too neat for my taste already, and this was putting you over the top."
"Oh." Vic smiled. "I still like clean socks."
BA laughed. "Everyone likes clean socks."
"Sorry about the investment."
"No worries." BA laughed again. "It's only money. We'll just do another adventure."
"Or get lucky on this one." Vic leaned down and picked up a palm-sized rock, squinting at it in the sunlight. The rock disappeared into one of his vest pockets.