I've been on hiatus this past week because my family and I were on vacation. But, I'm back and more determined than ever to get this book finished. Today's segment returns to the stories of Widow Ricketts, Diana and Jane. For those of you who are just joining the story and want to start reading it from the beginning, click here. Hope you enjoy today's segment!
Widow Ricketts Learns How to Eaves Drop
By the fourth day, the girls and I we have a system. By mid-morning we got to take a shipment of oil out. The Irish boys who drive the teams have been kind enough to stop by to pick up our barrels of oil twice a day on their way out of town. We are paying them all real well. No reason to not pay out now. We’ve got more oil already then we could ever need. Word has gotten out about the girls, how they bought their freedom from French Kate. Word is also out that I’ve gone nuts and given away portions of my oil to these here girls. You’ve got to love the way gossip waddles its way down these dusty streets. Sits it’s fat but down at the salon or over on line at the post office and divvies out stories like they are free bread.
This morning when the boys showed up they were real clean. I’ve never seen them without a coat of oil dulling their skin to a dark brown sheen. Today, their cheeks were raw and ruddy as if they’d just spent an hour with a wire brush. They were clean right down to their fingernails. Well, wouldn’t you know they drive on up for their morning pick up, dismount and walk right over to the well where Diana and Jane are bent over working the line. Jane is a tiny thing but she is beautiful even with those two black eyes she came with that are healing but still remain like two dark moons under each of her eyes. Diana is tall and willowy as if she is always blowing in the wind. When the boys walk over I see the girls look up from their work.
“Um, excuse me ma’am.” Says the stout one. Taking off his hat and looking at the ground. “May I have a word with you?” He’s looking at Diana. She barely gives him a glance and says. “We real busy right now. What you gotta say you say while we work.”
Then, the second one clears his throat and lets out a squeaky voice directed at Jane. “Well ma’am,” he says. “We here are young men and we see you ladies are in a mess of work. We know you haven’t lived a Christian life. But, we willing to forgive this in light of the situation at hand.”
With these words he awkwardly points at the well as it beats out a heartbeat of oil.
“What we are saying,” finishes the stout one, “is we willing to offer you both our hands in marriage.”
When he finishes, Diana doesn’t wait long before she lets out a loud belly laugh. More like a whoop than a laugh. “Oh boys,” she says, “it’d be a cold day in hell when I’d lie back down with another man in this god forsaken town. Ain’t you getting’ paid to pick up our load of oil?” She says. “Why don’t you all stop wasting our time, pick up our oil and get it delivered to town so we can sell it and get the hell out of here.”
Well, I never seen such shock wash across the faces of two young men. They are so embarrassed they move real quick. Picking up the barrels and almost running them to the wagon.
Jane is a real quiet one, but as the boys tear down the hill, their wagon billowing clouds of dust. I see her shoulders begin to heave and shake and I know she’s ain’t crying. Diana gives her a solid pat on the back and joins in laughing. In fact, by the time I stop eaves dropping and walk over to the girls we are all laughing so hard we can hardly breathe.