A novel by Danny
For the next couple of weeks pa had sworn the entire family including Doc Wilson to secrecy concerning the return of Kevin and Meggin. You might think that was something cruel to do to Meggin's ma but really it was Mrs. Griffith that asked everyone not to tell Meggin's pa just yet. I recon that it was a good idea `cause if'n Meggin's pa found out they were back he'd be over here shoot'n off his mouth again and causing all kinds of trouble. What's worse is if'n he would have caused ma any more grief; seein' how she's got more then she can hardly stand right now, pa probably would have shot him or something.
During that first week after they had
returned, while Kyle-Lee, Kane and I were in bed sick, Kevin and Pa managed to
finish repairing the old farm house and building some furniture too. I ain't been all the way out to see
it but I was told that they plowed a driveway all the way from the old house
That first Saturday pa invited Doc Wilson and his wife as well as Nugget and his parents over for a pig roast. Of course I insisted that Basset come too `cause he's more like a friend then just their driver.
Sure enough pa let Doc Wilson kill the pig that had knocked him down the previous week. Well, no one really knows which one done it but that don't matter much. I expect that cutting one of the pigs' throats made the Doc's head feel better `cause he seemed to ejoy it... maybe even a little too much. They killed the pig early Saturday before the sun was all the way up. Then with Kevin's help they dropped it in the ground behind the house, covered it with a piece of corigated of metal and about a foot of dirt on top of that. It was left in the ground to cook all day.
It turned out to be the last kinda warm day we would have this year. Ma, who had been suffering from a bad case of cabin fever, was allowed out of bed to come out and join us but only after sweet-talking Doc Wilson. Actually, he seemed to think it was a good idea as long as she kept covered and didn't exert herself any. Pa even fired up the barbeque to cook up a mess of corn on the cob and taters.
Now you might recall that I said Kane, Kyle-Lee and me didn't get any licks from pa for the whole late night peaches incident but we didn't get totally away with it. Seeing how we had been so sick the best that we could hold down was water and a bit of plain toast dipped in chicken broth. So while everyone else was eating roasted pig and grilled corn on the cob me and my two younger diapered brothers were forced to sit at ma's feet sipping chicken broth through straws and chewing on plain dry crackers. It was torture watching everyone else eating pork, corn, taters and apple pie. And I think Karen might have done it on purpose `cause she baked a peach pie too.
Ma was sitting under the big oak tree talking with Meggin and Mrs. Goldberg while watching Pa, Kevin, Doc Wilson and Mr. Goldberg playin' Horseshoes with Kristen sitting atop Bassets shoulders keeping a close eye on pa so he didn't cheat like he tries to do when he's playing against us.
I suppose that Kane, Kyle-Lee and me were feeling a little better; I guess it was the fresh air that done it. Anyway, we felt good enough to stir up a little trouble. Actually, it was Nugget's idea to do what we done and boy it was a good idea too!
While no one was lookin' Nugget snatched Basset's pipe from out of his jacket pocket. He had left his jacket hangin' on a broken tree branch so it weren't hard to sneak off with it. It was my job to act as lookout and warn them if someone was looking or coming over. While Nugget was knocking all the tobacco out of Basset's pipe Kane and Kyle-Lee picked up a few fallen leaves from the ground around us and passed them to Nugget who then carefully repacked the bowl using the leaves. He pressed them down with his finger just the way we'd seen the Basset do it earlier. When that was done, Nugget took the pipe and placed a thin layer of real tobacco over the top. It was all any of us could do to keep from laughing while we watched him work. Kyle-Lee insisted on being the one to replace the pipe in Basset's jacket pocket, and as he was doing it Ma and Mrs. Goldberg seen him. They must'a guessed what we were up to and I thought for sure we were about to get yelled at but instead ma bit her lip to keep from smiling. She then looked at Mrs. Goldberg who nodded toward Kyle-Lee and they both looked away as if they were giving us their blessing to pull the prank on Basset. I was so glad ma didn't get all upset; I would have felt really bad if something happened to her or the baby `cause we got her upset.
The four of us sat there trying not to look guilty while waiting for the end of the game. The whole lot of us were in this together now, including Ma and Mrs. Goldberg. By allowing ourselves to be, we had got them mixed up in our little prank.
The players came back over, Kevin thumping Mr. Goldberg on the back and congratulating him on a well played game. "Great game!" he announced to everyone.
"Don't think we could have asked for a more beautiful afternoon!" Mr. Goldberg added.
"Yeah and that pig," Mrs. Goldberg said licking the tips of her fingers. She looked at me kind of odd and made me wonder if she and ma knew about the pipe too. I was sure they hadn't seen, I mean we were real careful... but then again.
Ma patted her big belly and said, "I think the twins enjoyed them most."
"TWINS?" Kevin shouted as he was sitting down next to Meggin. He was so shocked that he missed the lawn chair and fell over backward. Everyone laughed so hard.
Pa, still laughing at Kevin, said, "Of course your ma isn't having twins!" and then turning to ma he asked with concern, "You're not having twins right?" He then looked at Doc Wilson, "Tell her she can't have twins!"
"Oh dear you're so funny!" ma said dryly.
Kane made the grossest comment, "I bet the baby comes out covered in barbeque sauce!" and then laughed. You should have seen Mrs. Goldberg's face. I thought she was going to be sick right then and there.
As pa was heading for the lawn chair next to ma he reached down and with one hand snatched Kane off the ground and dropped him on his lap after he was seated. Kane giggled with joy, "Hey, that was fun!"
Ma said, "Oh honey, don't get him all sickly again!"
Pa poked Kane in the nose with a single finger and jokingly said, "You puke on me again and I'll tan your hide and hang it on the back of the barn next to your little brother!"
I ain't sure if Kane was acting or if he forgot that quickly about the pipe but at any rate he pushed pa's hand away from his nose and cuddled up to pa with he head nuzzled under pa's chin. It took nearly a full minute before Kane rose back up and squeeled, "I ain't got a younger brother!"
Kathy laughed, "Took him long enough!"
The suspense was getting to Nugget and he was beginning to crack. He was sitting closet to pa and began to giggle quietly. Pa tickled Nugget's ribs with the toe of his boot and said, "How about I cover you in barbeque sauce and drop on you in pig pin?" to which Basset replied, "No, they still wouldn't eat something that's as ugly as him!"
Nugget sprang up and launched himself at Basset but Mr. Goldberg caught him in mid air, spun him like a baton before tossing him over to Kevin.
"Don't give him to me; I don't won't him! He smells like barbeque sauce and grape Kool-Aid!" Kevin teased.
Nugget scrambled away from Kevin and sat back down on the ground, this time on my other side away from pa's foot and everyone else's reach.
While all this was going on those of us involved in the conspiracy were watching Basset out of the corner of our eyes. I thought Kyle-Lee had given us away when Basset reached for his pipe and Kyle-lee gasped with anticipation.
Half a dozen pairs of eyes watched him intently. Not a one of us so much as giggled or made a peep to give Basset any clue that he was about to be prank. My legs began to tremble with expectancy and a good deal of suspense was caused by the fact that none of us knew just how he was going to react.
Out of consideration of ma and the baby Basset walked over to the furthest tree, about twenty feet downwind before he struck the match. He held the flame over the bowl and sucked. The tobacco on top ignited and glowed and Basset's head was enveloped in a cloud of blue smoke.
"Ahhh!" he sighed, blowing smoke through his nostrils. "There's nothing like a good pipe after a good meal and a good game of Horseshoes."
Still we waited. We could hardly bear the suspense. Meggin, who evidently knew what we'd done, couldn't bear it at all and asked with superb innocence, "What sort of tobacco do you put in that thing.
"Captain Black!" Basset answered proudly, "It's the best there is. Folks will smoke all sorts of disgusting scented tobaccos, but not me!"
"I didn't know they had different flavors," Meggin went on.
When I glanced over at ma she looked like she was about to bust at any second. I knew for sure then that they had seen us and seemed to be enjoying it as much as we were. I knew she felt; it was exciting and funny at the same time.
"Oh yes, of course they do!" Basset said giving his pipe another puff. "All tobaccos are dissimilar to one with a discerning palate. Captain Black is refreshing and nothing short of breathtaking." Basset was yapping on but that didn't much matter `cause I wasn't really listening to him, I was just watching and waiting for him to take another puff or two.
Karen had come over, settled beside me putting her arm around my shoulders and snuggling her cheek against mine. I was so keyed in on Basset that I forgot she was beside me so when she whispered into my ear, "Do you need changed?" I jumped `cause her breath tickled the inside of my ear. I shrugged her off with the jerk of my shoulder and whispered, "Not now!"
And then Basset lifted the pipe to his lips once more and all of a sudden he let go a howl and began to jump around like his britches were on fire. His pipe shot from his mouth and landed a couple yards away. Basset began to cough and thump his chest all the while still jumping up and down like an overgrown bunny. His face was all screwed up like he was trying to poop out a sharp pointy rock or something.
"What in tarnation?"
The whole lot of us stared at Basset spellbound and about to burst.
Basset somehow found the ability to cry out, "I'm on fire inside!" before sputtering into a fit of coughing.
Pa musta known something was up `cause he went over, picked up the pipe and sniffed it.
"Deep breaths, deep breaths!" Doc
Basset fell against the tree and breathed in deep breaths of autumn air and in another minute or so he was on the mend.
"What on earth caused all that?" Doc
"Think I know," Pa said looking right at us and holding up the pipe.
"What was in my pipe?" Basset asked going over and snatching it away from pa. He tapped the contents out and sniffed. "LEAVES!" he said looking at Nugget.
Nugget squeeled with delight, "He's figured it out! Run!"
Well seeing how sickly Kane, Kyle-Lee and I had been and the fact that we'd not had a decent meal in nearly a weeks time, we were in no shape to walk let alone run. Like a fox after a squirl Basset took off after Nugget.
"Run Nugget, RUUUNNNN!" I shouted.
Of course Basset didn't catch Nugget. He was still suffering from sucking down the smoke from them leaves to try running too much.
Before Basset came back over ma suggested we head back up to our room to, `REST' and we sure didn't waste no time at all getting the heck out of there. All the way into the house we were laughing and falling all over each other.
Not long after Nugget came storming up the stairs and into our room. "Hide me!" he cried and that's just what we did.
Basset came in about the time the three of us had gotten into bed, "Did he come in here?" he asked looking like he wanted Nuggets head on a plate. We innocently shook our heads and from half-way down the steps we heard him call out, "You got to sleep sometime you little..."
Too keep Basset from getting Nugget I asked ma and pa if Nugget could sleep over and they said yes. Mr. Goldberg thought it was probably a good idea and laughed when he said to Nugget, "Top notch show son! Top notch!"
To be continued . . .