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the hell out of here.
 Keep your shirt on, Dr Severance told her.  Mr
Noonan is going to rent us a camping place on his farm.
Miss Harrington yawned.  Well, goody.
 You ll have absolute rest and quiet, and lots of fresh
leafy vegetables.
 Just what I always wanted, she says.
Pop stood up.  We got to drive in to town buy some
groceries, he told the doctor.  It won t take long, so you
The Diamond Bikini  42
just wait here and when we come back we ll lead you to
the farm.
Dr Severance came around the trailer with us and
when we got in the car he put his arms on the door and
leaned in a little. He jerked his head towards the trailer.
 When you re in town, he says to Pop,  maybe it would
be a good idea if you didn t say anything about Miss
Harrington to anybody. You know how the word gets
around, and I wouldn t want her pestered by a flock of
reporters all the time.
 We won t say a word, Pop says. He turned the key to
the ignition, and then he asked,  By the way, this
anaemia s not catching, is it?
Dr Severance shook his head.  No. It s hardly
contagious at all. The only way you can catch it is if you
actually touch somebody who s got it. He stopped, and
then took a long look at Pop s face.  And of course you
got better sense than to do a crazy thing like that.
 Now that you brought it up, Pop says,  I sure have.
We drove on around the bend and out onto the
highway. It was only five miles from there to town. Pop
was sort of quiet, except that every once in a while he
would say,  My God, like he was talking to hisself.
 Miss Harrington s nice, I says to him.  You don t
suppose she s with the Welfare, do you?
 I doubt it, Pop says.
 I didn t think so, I says.  But she has got kind of a
Welfare bosom.
Pop didn t act like he even heard me. His hands was
gripping the wheel real hard and he was staring straight
ahead.
 My God, he says again. The car swerved across the
road and almost went in the ditch on the wrong side. He
yanked the wheel and we straightened out again.
 You oughtn t to talk about Miss Harrington s bosom,
he says to me like he was mad.  The poor girl s not well.
She s got the anaemia.
 Is that bad, Pop? I asked.
 Well, he says,  I can t see that it s done her much
harm so far, but I reckon it s pretty serious if you got to
eat vegetables for it.
The Diamond Bikini  43
We got into town. It was a pretty little town, with a red
brick courthouse in a square and big trees growing all
around. We parked the car in the square and went into a
grocery store. Pop bought eight pounds of baloney and
six loaves of bread, and then he got a couple cases of
beer and some cigars. I asked him if I could have candy
bar. He said they was bad for my teeth, but finally gave
in and bought me one. We went back out and got in the
car.
We was just about to drive off when Pop suddenly
remembered something.  I almost forgot, he says.
 We re all out of hawg lard. I got to get some to fry the
baloney in.
He went back in the grocery store. I sat in the car,
finishing my candy bar and looking out at the square. It
was just then that I saw the big car go by with the men in
it wearing Panama hats. There was three of them, and
they all had on double-breasted flannel suits like Dr
Severance s. The car had Louisiana licence plates, like
his did, and it was just going along real slow while the
men looked around. They kept watching the sidewalks
and the other cars.
They went on around the square, and in a few minutes
they came by again. There was a parking place ahead of
us, and they pulled in and got out and started into the
restaurant next to the grocery store. They walked close
together, watching the other people all the time, and I
noticed they all had that awkward way of carrying their
left arm, just like Dr Severance had.
Just then Pop came out of the grocery store carrying
the can of hog lard, and he nearly bumped into them. He
stopped real quick and stared at them.
The one on that side turned his face a little and said to
him out of the corner of his mouth  You looking for
somebody, Jack?
Pop sort of swallowed, and says,  No. Nobody at all.
He hurried across the sidewalk and got into the car, and
we shot out of the parking place. The three men went on
into the cafe.
As we drove out of town I said to Pop,  They looked a
little like Dr Severance, didn t they?
The Diamond Bikini  44
 Yeah, he says.  Maybe there s a doctor s convention
in town.
When we got back, Dr Severance was still waiting
there around the bend from the highway. I didn t see
Miss Harrington anywhere, so she had probably gone
back in the trailer. Pop told the doctor to follow us, and
we started off.
It was only about two miles, and the big car didn t have
any trouble pulling the trailer in the sand, so it wasn t too
long till we came to the wire gate and turned off down
the hill towards Uncle Sagamore s farmhouse. About a
hundred yards before we got to the house Pop pulled off
to the left and stopped among some big trees in a little
level place looking out over the lake. He motioned for Dr
Severance to stop. We all got out.
 Well, how does this strike you? Pop asked the doctor.
Dr Severance looked all around and back up the hill
towards the wire gate and the road. You couldn t see
them from here because of the trees.  Hmmmm, he
says.  Seems to be all right. He took some money out of
his wallet and gave it to Pop.
 Here s a month in advance, he says,  But I was just
thinking. Maybe you d better not mention anything about
us being here. Around to the neighbors, I mean. There
might be zoning restrictions against trailers.
 That s right, Pop says.  I hadn t thought of that. We
won t say a word.
I saw Uncle Sagamore come out of the house and look
up the hill towards us and start walking this way to find
out what was going on. But just then I heard another car
coming down the hill from the gate. From the sound of it,
it was really travelling. It shot out of the trees and went
bucking down towards the house just the way those two
sheriffs had. A big cloud of dust was boiling up behind it.
Then I forgot about it, watching Dr Severance. We was
all three standing in front of his car when the other one
shot out of the trees, but then he let out an awful cuss
word and moved faster than I d ever seen anybody move
before. He whirled around and ducked behind the car so
just his head was peering over, and his right hand shot
up inside his coat. It all happened so fast I just stared at
him.
The Diamond Bikini  45
The car went on past, bucking like crazy over the
bumps. It slammed on down the hill and the man that
was in it put his brakes on and it slid to a stop right by
Uncle Sagamore. Dr Severance watched it, and then he
straightened up. He looked around at us, and his eyes
was real cold again.
 Who was that? he barked at Pop.
 Uh  Pop says.  Just one of the neighbors. Probably
wants to borrow something. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]