Monday, August 25, 2014

Part 57


Still hefting my bat I told him, "People die every day.  One day I'll die.  But since you aren't pointing that rifle you are carrying yet I might as well fight before I die."

Mr. Svenson snapped, "That's enough.  Jamie, what the hell do you think you're doing out here slinking around like a weasel?"

"Dad told me to keep an eye on you," he said mildly, answering the older man that was fast beginning to look like an irritated badger.

Suddenly I recognized the young man "slinking around" and I winced.  He wasn't my favorite person in the world but then again if he'd been under orders from Mr. Owen he didn't deserve the "dressing down" that Mr. Svenson was gonna deliver.  "Run.  Run now Jamie.  He's gonna blow."

Jamie was Mr. Owen's only child by his first wife.  She ran off when she couldn't hack the lifestyle he was devoted to, leaving Jamie behind.  He was a cross between Mr. Owen's brains and Mr. Carter's personality.  Being one of the older kids I'd never had much to do with him because he had a habit of making me feel and look stupid when I got too nosey about wanting to join that crowd.

My words only caused Mr. Svenson to growl deep in his throat and cross his arms in front of his swelling chest.  "Yeah boy ... run ... 'cause I'm about to blow."

I saw a smile split the beard and he said, "I'll take my chances with you, thanks anyway.  You I might stand a chance with.  Dad I know will take my head off if I don't make sure you are ok.  He loves you too much and doesn't know whether to trust her yet or not even if she was one of your summer favorites."  He punctuated "her" with a toss of his head in my general direction.

I leaned against a tree to show how little I cared about what his words meant and told him, "Your father doesn't need to care either way.  Looks like it'll be better if we all just leave each other alone.  That's the way it was in the city sometimes.  No matter what or why, sometimes two groups just couldn't help but rub each other the wrong way."

The young man tried to rub salt in a wound that didn't exist and said, "You're just as puny as you ever were and will starve if people don't look after you."

Jamie and Toddie had always gotten along though I do say that Toddie was the wilder of the two.  It was a friendship both families had encouraged - they even skyped and emailed during the off seasons and when they went to college - as both of them were the type that were too smart for their own good on many occasions but together they got so busy doing interesting things that they stayed out of trouble.  Mostly anyway.

"Small I still am and will always be but puny I am not."  Then I performed a trick that I had perfected in the city but hadn't done in a while.  I hadn't been as lazy as I'd made out as I'd been leaning against the tree to hide my hand going into my pocket.  I tossed a stone really fast and hit it with the bat so that it shot right at where Jamie had been standing.  He ducked and the stone took off a deep chunk of bark from the tree he'd been in front of.

He looked at the tree trunk then at me, then at the tree trunk again and said is a suddenly respectful tone, "OK, that was unexpected."

"Good."

He grinned again and said, "Maybe you can show Belinda how to do that."

When I looked at Mr. Svenson his mouth gave a twist and said, "That girlfriend of his that he brought from school.  Came here a vegatarianist or some such.  Biggest bunch a silliness I've every seen.  Won't even eat fish or help to cook or clean the meat that others bring in.  Won't wear fur or leather.  Makes a lot of work for the rest of the women and then she wants to have a bowl of something made completely separate from anything that has touched meat.  If she didn't do most of it for herself, and learned to shut her mouth about it, she'd been out of here before last winter."

Jamie sighed and said, "I'm working on it Uncle Joseph.  She's coming around.  It's just part of her religion."

"Yeah, and that's another thing.  How you ever got hooked up with a ... a what's its name ... and expected the family to look the other way ..."

Jamie shrugged and I could see it was an old argument ... and one I had absolutely no intention of getting involved in.

"Where you going Little Bit?" Mr. Svenson asked when I started walking away.

"To see if Mr. Owen is tired of 'watching' Mr. Carter and is ready for you all to go or if he has more questions he wants you to ask me."

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good book. Its one of my favorites and Im so excited for when the new stuff starts rolling in. Until then, I think i'll re read this all lol

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