Finny's exclamation had Kru spinning on her heel and reaching for her gun.
She moved quickly backwards, scanning the few windows on this side of the building while trying to put herself between Finny and whatever danger had presented itself.
"What?! Where?! What is it?!"
Finny pointed at the logo.
"Look! Union Candy!"
Finny had already darted past Kru and was making a beeline for the office door in the loading bay.
Still with no idea what was going on, but pretty sure now that the kid's life wasn't in danger, Kru jogged after her.
Finny burst through the door and straight up to the battered counter where the delivery drivers of Unified Composites Inc signed in and out.
She had to stand on tiptoe, her hands and nose just visible above the countertop.
The startled middle-aged woman behind the counter stared at Finny in surprise, and then her eyes widened in shock,
and she backed away quickly as the pistol-toting leather-clad young woman rushed in through the still swinging door.
Kru quickly put her weapon away and stood behind Finny, putting her hands firmly on her scrawny shoulders.
Kru would have preferred to have them around the kid's neck at this point, but a vivid image of the lonely chair in an empty room forced her to smile an apology at the counter clerk instead.
"I'm sorry. She gets very excitable."
The woman behind the counter recovered commendably quickly.
"That's all right. We sometimes get drivers coming in all het up and bothered over some..." She shook her head. "Anyway, how can I help?"
The answer came from the counter-level head of ginger hair.
The clerk looked bewildered and glanced at Kru for an explanation. Kru just shrugged.
Getting no help there, the clerk put on her best smile, the one she used when trying to calm down the previously mentioned angry drivers, and leaned across the counter.
"I'm sorry little girl. We don't sell candy."
The clerk couldn't see anything bellow Finny's nose poking just over the countertop, so what she got was expressive green eyes accompanied by a soundtrack.
"Yes, you do. Candy bars. The ones in the white wrappers with the cow on them."
The penny dropped for the clerk.
The clerk shared another glance with Kru, who was now grinning but still showed no signs of offering help. She took a breath.
"Well, you see, little girl..."
"Finny. My name's Finny."
"Well, Finny, you see. The thing is, we don't make candy. We make what are called 'animal feed supplements' for animals that are suckling their young."
Behind her, Kru snorted.
The clerk ignored her.
"Well, suckling is when the momma animal lets the baby animal feed on her... teat."
Kru snorted again. Finny turned her head and gave her a hard stare. Kru stopped grinning, remembering what Ned had said about everything getting back to Joe.
The clerk waited for Finny to turn her attention back away from her companion? Guard? Minder? The clerk didn't really care, but the two of them were making her uncomfortable.
"The bars in yellow wrappers are for goats, brown for cows, green for sheep and... The bars in white wrappers are for, well, pigs."
Finny's eyes widened in horror. She stared at the clerk, waiting for the joke to end, but the look on the woman's face was telling her that she wasn't kidding. She thought fast.
Then she made a decision. The kids in the orphanage must never find out about this.
"Can I buy some anyway?"
The condescending smile returned to the clerk's face.
"I'm sorry, Finny. We don't sell the supplements to just people, only businesses, like farms."
Finny didn't want to let it go. If she could buy a whole load of Union Candy, or whatever it was, then she could keep her business going until next year's medicals. She had a lightbulb moment.
"But we are a business." She turned to Kru. "Aren't we Kru?"
Kru caught on immediately.
"We represent Spivey's Independent Traders."
Finny wasn't sure if the clerk had suddenly gone paler, but she had definitely licked her lips and swallowed.
"I see. Well, yes, in that case, I suppose... I mean we'd be happy to supply you with... How many boxes?"
Finny was thinking in bars, not boxes.
"How many bars are in a box?"
Finny's heart missed a beat. That was a lot.
"How much is a box?"
"A single box would be 200 chips. If you buy a pallet, that's twenty-four boxes, then there is a twelve percent discount.
Finny was still doing percentages, but from what she had learned, then twelve percent was like a tenth and then a little bit more, which seemed quite a lot.
She could probably afford it, but how was she going to get twenty-four boxes back to Flagg?
"Um, no. Just a box please."
The clerk nodded nervously and reached for a sales form.
"Ahem, aren't you forgetting something, lady? Mister Spivey's discount?"
Already nervous, now that she knew who these people were, the clerk became flustered.
"Oh, yes! Of course, I'm so sorry. Fifty percent discount, silly of me."
Finny stared at the clerk while her brain tried to do the sums. Fifty percent, that was half. So, half would be 100 chips for a hundred bars.
That's a chip each, and she was already selling bars for 3 chips. That was a lot more profit. When she got home, she would get a pencil and paper and work it out.
Suddenly, she had an awful realisation. Turning, she pulled Kru down to her level and whispered in her ear.
"I haven't got any chips with me."
Kru stood back up and addressed the clerk.
"Just add it to the company account."
The poor clerk was already nodding.
Then, with the completed paperwork, she disappeared through a rear door into the factory. A couple of minutes later, a cigarette smoking man appeared carrying a large cardboard box.
"Delivery for Spivey's?"
Realising that four feet and not very much of scrawny nine-year-old wasn't going to be able to carry the box, Kru sighed and took it from the man.
"Let's go and put this in the trunk, shall we? Joe and Don should be back soon."
A very happy Finny and a very laden Kru headed back to where they had parked the car.