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 Your Mother Was a Crook

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Remuda

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Posts : 749
Join date : 2013-08-25
Age : 42

PostSubject: Your Mother Was a Crook   Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:31 am

Your Mother Was a Crook
“Han, wait up!”

The dark-haired lad slowed his pace a tad.

“Han!”

“What?”

“Wait for me!”

“Hurry up!”

“Will ya hold up ‘til I catch up?!”

Hannibal Heyes stopped in his tracks.  Turning, he watched as his younger cousin drew alongside.

“Why couldn’t ya wait?”

“I did.  Come on.  Time’s a-wasting.”  The older boy started forward again.

Jed Curry stood his ground, trying to catch his breath.  “Han, wait!”

Another stop, and turn.  “What now, Jed?  We gotta get going or we’ll be late.”

Jed sighed.  “I know.  But do we have to run all the way?  I can’t keep up with ya.”

“I’m not running, just walking fast.”  Han smirked.  “I guess I can slow down a bit.  Maybe it won’t matter.”

“What’s your all-fire hurry anyway?  Mrs. Traeger told Ma the party started at two o’clock, and we left in plenty o’ time to get there, even if we had to dress up.”  He pulled at the bow at his neck.  “I hate wearin’ this.”

Han’s expression softened.  “I do, too.  But a party’s a party, and this one called for Sunday best.”

“Still don’t say why you’re in such a hurry to get there.  If we’re too early, we’ll have to sit around in the parlor with Mary Jane and Sally, mindin’ our manners and bein’ real polite.”

“Jed, what’s wrong with being polite?  Better’n the tanning we get when we’re not.”

The blond youngster rubbed his behind.  “I know.  The one I got yesterday still smarts a little.”

Han laughed.  “That’s why you don’t want to have to sit too long with the girls.”

Jed looked up.  “No, it don’t hurt that bad.  Just don’t see why we have to run there, is all.”

“I wasn’t running.  You’re just not keeping up.”  Han reached out to Jed.  “Your tie’s crooked.”

Jed wriggled away.  “You’re not my ma, Han.  My tie’s fine.”

“All right.  We’ll wait ‘til we get there to re-tie them.”  Han gave Jed a cursory looking over.  “Okay, you got your breath back.  Let’s go.”  He turned, his pace picking up quickly.

“Han, can’t we just walk normal?”

“No, I want to get there early.”

Jed ran a few more steps to catch up.  “Early?  You sweet on Mary Jane or Sally Traeger?”

Han stopped.  “Jed, how can you even think that?  You know I don’t like girls.”  His expression turned sheepish.  “Well, except maybe Molly Tildon, but she likes to go fishing and climb trees.”

“Then why did you want to go to the party so bad?  Because Molly’ll be there?”

“No.”

“Then why?”

Han rolled his eyes.  “Because.”

“Because why?”

“Jed!”

“What?”

“Let’s go.”  Han picked up his pace.

Jed did his best to keep up.  “It is because Molly’ll be there, isn’t it?  But she’ll probably be wearin’ a dress, too.  Can’t do much tree climbin’ in a dress.”

Han looked straight ahead.  “We’re not gonna be doing any tree climbing today.  It’s a party.”

“We shoulda brought a present.”

“I have a present, from both of us.”

“Where is it?”

“In my pocket.”

“What is it?”

“A handkerchief.”

“Let me see.”

Han stopped, fishing a tiny, brown-wrapped package from his coat pocket.  “See?  It’s just small.  Ma made it and thought Mary Jane would like it.  She said it could be from both of us.”

“Oh.”  Jed scrunched his nose.  “It’s probably all lacy and stuff.”

Han stuffed the package back in his coat.  “It is.”

“So you’re in a hurry to get there so no one sees us givin’ her such a frilly present?”

“No.”

“Then why?”

“Stop it, Jed.”

“Stop what?”

“Asking questions.”

“Okay.  But slow down.  I’m gettin’ out of breath again.”

“Okay.”  Han slowed his pace.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

They walked in silence for a minute.  The pace slowly quickened.

“Han, you’re doin’ it again.”

“Stop whining, Jed.  You sound like a baby.”

Jed stopped, crossing his arms in disgust.  “I’m not a baby.  You’re so worried about my tie and all.  I’ll be all dirty from runnin’ after ya by the time we get there.”

“All right.  I’ll slow down.”

“Ya promise?”

“Yeah.  I promise.”

Jed reasoned, “Mary Jane and Molly’ll be there whether we get there before everybody else or after.  It don’t matter.”

“Yes, it does.”

“Why?  You’re never in a hurry to see a girl.”

Han stopped.  “If I tell ya, will ya keep it a secret?”

Blue eyes grew wide.  “Yeah.”

“Cross your heart and hope to die?”

Jed made an “x” across his chest.  “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

Han held out his pinky.  “Pinky swear and spit?”

The younger boy crossed pinkies with his cousin.  “Pinky swear and spit.”

They spit, watching the trajectory of the saliva bombs.  

Jed laughed.  “I beat ya!”

Han smirked.  “That’s the first time.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Whatever.”

Jed looked at his cousin, expectantly.  “So what’s the secret?”

Han looked around them.  The road along which they trekked was empty save for the two of them.  Nonetheless, the dark-haired boy moved closer and leaned down the few inches to Jed’s level.  He whispered, “You promise not to tell.”

Jed lowered his voice.  “Uh huh.”

Han peered in all directions again.  “Well, I overheard Mrs. Traeger telling your ma …”

“Yeah?”

Han lowered his voice further.  “She told your ma … Well, she told your ma …”

“Told her what?”

“There’s no easy way to say it …”  He blurted it out, “Mary Jane Traeger’s mother is a crook!”

“Shh, Han, you’ll wake up the dead!”

Frowning dimples full of caution, Han looked around them.  Still, no one was in sight.  “I thought if we got there early, I could kinda … ya know … talk to Mrs. Traeger and all … and see if she would say anything more about it.  A crook!”

Jed’s face lit up.  “Han, I think ya heard wrong.”

Han paid him no mind.  “You know, it’s gotta be a neat story …”

Jed’s tone grew more insistent.  “Han, ya heard wrong.”

“No, I didn’t.  I was waiting for you just outside the door the other day and she came by and was talking to your ma.”

“I know.  She brought some mendin’ for Ma to do.”

“I know your ma does mending.”

“Uh huh.  And Ma said how Ruthie was gonna be in that play at school.”

Han rolled his eyes.  “I know that, but it has nothing to do with ...”

“Han, will ya listen to me?  Yes, it does.”

The older lad’s brow furrowed.  “How?”

“Ruthie’s playin’ Little Bo-Peep, and Ma was sayin’ how she needed to get a costume for Ruthie …”

“She just needs to wear one of her dresses.  That still don’t …”

“Listen.  Mrs. Traeger said she had a crook Ruthie could hold.”

“Huh?”

“Mrs. Traeger said she has an old crook, and Ma could clean it up for Ruthie to use in the play.  I’m supposed to bring it home from the party.”

“You mean a crook … like what the shepherds use?  Your sister using Mrs. Traeger’s crook?”

“Yup.  For Little Bo-Peep with her sheep.”

Mouth agape, Han looked at Jed.  No words came.

“Han, we should get goin’ or we’ll be late.”

The dark-haired boy pulled the package from his pocket, shoving it into Jed’s hands.  “Here.”  He started to walk back from whence they had come.

“Han?  Where ya goin’?”

“Home.”

“Why?”

“You know I hate girls!”

_________________
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything. ~ Wyatt Earp
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