She turned and went back into the store. Senta took a swig of her Billingbow’s and looked across at the construction of the bakery. A boy only a few years older than her was directing several grown men working on the project.
“Do you know that boy?” asked Miss Lusk, coming back outside.
“That’s Aalwijn Finkler. I guess he wants to make sure that his mom’s bakery is put together right.”
Miss Lusk had apparently gone back in the store for a straw, which she now stuck into the top of her soda bottle and daintily sipped from. Noticing the girl looking at her, she said, “I never learned to swig.”
They both heard a commotion across the square at the same time and turned back to the bakery. Aalwijn Finkler and the men working with, or for him had stopped what they were doing and were speaking loudly, though Senta could only catch a few of their words. The subject of their discussions soon became apparent though as a line of some forty lizzies came walking into the square from the south. A sole militiaman, armed with a rifle slung haphazardly over his shoulder accompanied them.
The workmen went back to their hammering, but Aalwijn Finkler hopped down from the construction site and skipped across the square just in front of the line of lizardmen, who were moving so slowly in the cold weather that it looked to Senta as though they were suffering the effects of a slow spell. The young man walked up to the woman and the girl.
“Hey Senta,” he said.
“Hey.” Senta took another swig of soda.
“Um… Hello Miss Lusk.”
“I’m flattered that you know me, Mr. Finkler,” said Miss Lusk smiling.
“Oh, everyone knows you, Miss Lusk,” Aalwijn said, not registering the fact that she knew his name. “I suppose you’ll be heading over to the base after this lot.”
“Why would you suppose that?” wondered Senta.
“These are the lizzies that are going to be the household servants,” explained Aalwijn. “I expect you’ll need quite a few for that fine house of yours.”
“My home won’t be ready for a few weeks yet,” said Miss Lusk.
“Someday I’m going to have a house like yours. Then my mother and I can take it easy and we’ll have dozens of lizzies to wait on us.”
“I’m sure you will. I’ll tell you what. When my home is completed, I’ll have both of you over to tea.” She smiled at the two young people. “In the meantime, I’m on my way back to my apartment, so I must say adieu.”
“Good day Miss,” said Aalwijn.“Bye,” said Senta.
Alwijn is another minor character who shows up again and again in Senta and the Steel Dragon. He's one of the Zaeri that arrive in the colony from Freedonia and with the help of his mother's cooking, he becomes one of the most successful. I was looking for unusual names when I found Aalwijn. I think it fits him.