“Well, Hell, Luce,I didn’t mean to!” Marie-France with her short little Michelwait legs couldn’t no way in keep pace with me, her a’hop, skip, and a’jumpin’ just to stay close. We was moving quick like, through the long stickly grasses of the meadow other side the bridge. “It’s not like I set out to catch me my own German Nazi son of a gun! But now I got him, what in tarnation do I DO with ‘im?
My head was fair buzzin’. Had me a sudden vision from one o’ them film strips what come to the County Library some time back. Feller named Picasso painted all sorts o’ nonsense, points and people and sick horses, all drippin’ with colors and confusin’ the daylights outta me. That’s how my mind was lookin’ right now. Like them paintin’s, maybe I was jest lookin’ at ’em from the wrongways angle, but I couldn’t figure neither out with ease.
So, like ever’thing else in my way, ‘stead of studyin’ the proper way around, I jest pointed my head forwards and headed right on through.
Which blessed me with yet one more headache, more often than not.
“Oh, quit ‘cher whinin’, Marie-France, ” I tossed back her way, “What’s done is done did. What we got to do is sort out just what to do now.”
We was gainin’ on the treeline just ahead, and where cousin Marie-France had herself a lean-to hidey hole for readin’ and makin’ daisy chains and what have you. ‘Tol me that’s just where she’d stashed her Nazi man.
“He’s next to near a boy his ownself!” she’d claimed more’n once, but who could ever tell. I’d brung along Grandpap’s buggy rifle just in case. Had it stuck in my boot and half way up my dress jest to get past Mama. Gave me more’n a little hitch in my get-along but I still had Marie-France two strides to one.
“What’d’you think we’ll do when we get there, Luce? You got a plan?”
I squinted back toward the sun, lowerin’ slow in the afternoon sky.
“You say you been a’takin’ him dinner and such for now on three days and he ain’t run yet?”
She stopped still in her tracks. Lord, I wanted to keep on movin’ but I needed the answer more.
Hands to hips, “I TOL’ you, Luce, he promised! He promised to stay put ’til I could figure a way out this perdicament.”
Then, gol dang if she didn’t remind me, “You promised, too, Luce, you did, you know it! You promised not to turn him in nor me neither! You solemn sweared before Jesus, Luce, no lies, no crosses, no nothin’!”
Now why’d I go and do such a stupid, bumble-headed thing like that? But Marie-France, she knowed me too well, and while yes, I’m a durned good liar, best I know, once I swear before Jesus, I’m done for. I could just feel the air go outta my balloon. Marie-France, knowin’ she’d won this round, bore her glistenin’ eyes through mine.
“Look,” her voice low, “Maybe there’s some way we could get some information outta him, like war plans and such. We could hogtie ‘im then drip drops o’cool water on his head ’til it drove him just this side o’crazy. He’d answer all our questions right now jest to get us to stop! Why, think of it, Luce! We’d be heroes! They’d likely be even a parade in our honor and we could ride on a float and wave at folks and have them wave back! We’d like to even get a day ‘er two off from school for interviews and picture-takin’!”
She was settin’ to roll, face flushin’, eyes lookin’ dizzy off to the distance. “Jest think, they might’n even name a schoolhouse after us. Or a milkshake!”
Reckon we’d gone one furlong too far. I shook my head.
“Marie-France. Lissen to yerself. What we got here is a feller, true, I’ll ‘low an enemy of our beloved nation feller. He ain’t been doin’ nothin’ but raisin’ taters in a gravel hole for nigh on a year. Whatever he got in his head, even if was worth somethin’ once, it’s long ago done and over with.” Her face , though turned to mine, only lost just a shimmy of hope.
She’d done landed herself a precious commodity and would not in no way be obliged to give it up willingly and without a set to. Marie-France, while a mite smaller, was one worthy adversary, bein’ full of tricks and thiev’ry her ownself.
Finders keepers. We’d use her rules for the time bein’.
We’d just see if her prisoner had stayed stuck in his hidey hole, waitin’ for the master o’ his fate. And his dinner.
‘Cause while I brung me a buggy rifle, Marie-France, she swung a bucket o’ leftover fried chicken with some drippin’s gravy for soppin’.
My head was fixin’ to hurt.