Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part 12

Sarge complained, "Slow down Kid.  I can't exactly run with this crutch."

I felt like being in a snit but I slowed down.  "I'm perfectly capable of walking from the cafeteria to the clinic.  I don't need an 'escort' or a babysitter."

"Yeah.  You do."

I thought about that.  "Because of the girl thing or because people are freaked out I came out of the city?"  He glanced at me.  "Lee told me his dad posted a guard because people had made some noise."

He muttered, "Boy talks too much."

"Maybe.  But I'd rather know than not.  Although technically I really don't know anything except I make people nervous.  Is it just nervousness or is it something more?"

He sighed.  "Kid ..."

"Or is it somebody doesn't want me to do any talking until they hear what I might be able to say?"

That got me a sharp glance.  "I'd be careful letting people know that you're a lot smarter than they think you are."

"Sorta like not letting them know about the stuff in my pack?"

"Along those lines.  Where is it by the way?"

"In Sheriff Berio's office.  He was in a meeting when Lee and I went by this morning so I just kinda of ... borrowed ... a little space in the supply closet in there.  I figure if someone goes through it one of two things will happen.  The sheriff will be in on it and I'll have things I have to figure out; or, the sheriff is going to rip someone a new one for violating the privacy of his office which will give me time to figure things out.  Either way I'll have added to the list of people I can't trust."

He nodded.  "Not bad Kid, not bad."

We weren't exactly gliding along so there was some time and I decided to ask him, "Can I trust your girlfriend?"

He gave me an irritated look.  "She's not my girlfriend.  We ... er ... we're seeing each other.  That's all."

"Are you sleeping together?"

"What the Sam Hill does that have to do with the price of beans?"

I shrugged.  "In other words you are but you aren't real secure about it yet ... or comfortable with people knowing about it yet ... or something."

"That ... is none of your business Kid."

"No, it isn't.  But when you answer me I have to know if you're telling me the truth or if you've got the lusty fuzzies and only think you are telling me the truth."

Giving me the kind of look Dad would have given me he snapped, "Hell's bells ... what are lusty fuzzies ... and how the hell do you know about 'em?"

My lips twitched with a smile that wanted to sneak onto my face.  "My dad didn't shelter me quite as much as people think.  He set boundaries.  He ran interference so I wouldn't have to deal with certain kinds of guys.  But he said he didn't want me to grow up stupid to the tricks people ... in particular guys ... can play.  Lusty fuzzies are what happens to people when they are in love or lust and only want to see the good side of the person they are in love or lust with."

After a moment of thinking about it Sgt. Watson snorted in amusement.  "OK, good name for it."  Then all the funning went out of his voice and he sighed.  "I'm not saying you can or can't trust Maria.  You'll have to decide that for yourself.  But she ... she means well.  She believes in what she does.  But like with anyone else you'd be foolish to not ... er ... be cautious."

"She doesn't like me."

"Now hold on a ..."

"Relax.  It's a girl thing.  She thinks I have a crush on you."

He had to stop when he choked on some spit.  "Damn you say the most outrageous things."

"It's true.  That's what she thinks.  I don't though.  I like you.  Just not in a mushy kind of way.  You're just ... normal.  And you aren't weird ... well, you are but not in THAT kind of way.  You're like the sheriff.  You shoot straight."

He didn't say anything as we made our way into the clinic but before I had to go answer more questions he stopped me and said, "I like you too Kid which is why I'm going to give you some more advice.  Those people in there?  Don't lie to them.  But you don't necessarily have to tell them everything either.  If they make you feel uncomfortable, tell them.  If you don't want to answer something, tell them.  Don't play games.  And if you don't understand something, tell them that too and ask them to explain.  They might not but at least you'll know one way or the other where you stand.  Got it?"

Before he walked away I asked, "Should I be afraid of them?  Will they hit me if I don't do what they say?"

He got an outraged look on his face.  "Hell no.  And for that matter if anyone ever hits you, you come tell me about it.  I've got a little sister ... she's older than you ... or would have been," he said sadly.  "You remind me of her a bit."  After another sigh he said, "Go on.  Sooner you start the sooner you'll finish."

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