“Somethin’s got into Luce!”
“You see her out yonder? You see what she’s doin’?”
Now what you need to understand is, my sister Luce, near on a full year older’n me, she ain’t jest faster’n me, an’ taller’n me, and sly-er’n me all day long, why, she’s meaner’n me, too! She turned fourteen last week, and we had us her fav’rite dinner (chili and cornbread with them little vienna sausages all smothered underneath) and sang her “Happy Birthday!” Were you to know Luce, she don’t take kindly to havin’ much attention throwed her way, but tell the truth, she come near to smilin’ once or twice.
She’s a mean one, but she’s got her a good heart. Least that there’s what I tell all my chums. We fellers, we sit together on the fence shootin’ the breeze ever so often, and these fellers, they all tense up real tight when Luce throws them a glance. Reckon the fact she beat all them upside the head more’n once over time, well, I’d tense right up, too. And, well, since I seen the back side o’ her hot head, I do.
Here today, though, we got us a di-lemma. Twins Lawton and Lewis, never one far from t’other, they come runnin’ to where I was out to the paddock out front of the kittywompus gray barn, both huffin’ and puffin’ and wavin’ like they was swattin’ bees.
“Liam! Liam! Somethin’ got into Luce! She’s gone plumb crazy!” That there was Lewis.
Then, “LIam! Liam! Somethin’ got into Luce! She’s gone plumb crazy!” That there, that was Lawton.
Figurin’ these two was teasin’ me an’ playin’ a prank, as they are wont to do reg’lar, I give ’em a fine view o’my back whilst I pitchforked hay into the trough.
“Got work to do, boys,” I said.
“Liam!” One or t’other grabbed my sleeve.
“Liam!” One or t’other grabbed my other sleeve.
“Come look! Come look!”
So. Given they ‘ppeared truthful and sincere, I let them grubby ornery seven-year-old hellion brothers o’mine pull me out the paddock and out to the edge where the paddock meets the pasture , and the meadow out yonder meets that.
Well, sir, that’s when it dawned on me what them two was pesterin’ me ’bout, it rung true!
Somethin’ shore had plumb got into Luce!
A’way out yonder, out where them clovers and Velvetleaf and Cream Wild Indigo and Yarrow grow wild, why, smack in the middle o’all that purtiness sproutin’ from God’s green earth, was none other than mean ol’, sly ol’, hard hittin’, gristly Luce.
A doin’ what?
Well, a’smilin’, fer one thing. Law!
“See, we tol’ you!” Lawton or Lewis nodded knowin’ly.
For what ‘fore my my wonderin’ eyes did appear? Why, not only Luce a’smilin’ fer all she was worth, but Luce a’pickin’ flowers! A’pickin’ flowers! Luce! And what’s more’n that, she be singin’ to the top o’ her lungs, and if I didn’t know better, it was some…., some…., some itchy smoochy love ballad we hear ever’ so often on the Opry’ come Saturday nights.
Made my skin crawl!
An’ beyond that? Law, if she didn’t so a little jig and dance and spin herself in a circle!
That she turned jest that moment and seen us starin’, all googly-eyed from up in the yard, well, that there was a moment what went on for e-ternity, till she throwed them flowers to the wind and lit out our way ninety to nothin’, dragon blood in her eyes, I jest knew it! And with oil black terror in our hearts, we lit out our ownselves!
Now, we got us long memories, we Goodwells. And we loves tacklin’ ourselves a problem. And tackle it we would.
Right now, though, our problem at hand was a demon-possessed son of a gun big sister what could take us all with one hand tied ’round her back!