The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 127

blanket from the back of the chair and tucked it around him. The kid watched as she stepped back and leaned against the wall where she pulled a pack of Camels from under her cloak and lit up. She blew a cloud of smoke directly at her charge. "You got everybody fooled with your little act but not me. Not even for a minute. I can look at you and see by your eyes that you know what's going on.'' She took another drag and tilted her head back and blew a cloud into the air. "I know you're hiding something. Come on, you can tell me what it is. I won't tell anybody just like you won't tell anybody you saw me smoking and get me canned.'' The kid stared at her. He knew she was lying: she's going to tell everybody just like that dirty little rat Buddy back in Denver who promised not to tell anybody then told everybody and got him run out of town. Nurse Hardy stepped on her cigarette butt and aimed the chair at the elevator. "Well...I guess you're not going to talk. But think about it. You're going to need a friend some day.'' ### The mid-morning sun warmed the small town. The streets and sidewalks were deserted. Only a few cars parked at scattered intervals give a hint that people might be about. On Main Street there was a narrow storefront café. Inside sat a tiny man perched on a stool at the lone lunch counter. His feet dangled six inches from the footrest. A cloud of smoke engulfed him as he puffed on a pipe and cradled a coffee cup with his left hand. A woman walked from the kitchen and stood across the counter. "Whitey, you've been awful quiet lately. Anything wrong?'' Whitey pulled the pipe from his mouth and blew a stream of smoke into the air. "Naw, everything's all right. I've just been doing some thinking, that's all.'' The woman laughed. "That's going to get you into trouble. Whatcha thinking about?'' Whitey rested the pipe on the table and studied her face. "You know, Hazel, you're about the only person I ever talk to but I've been thinking that I've been wasting my life. I've been thinking it's time I got me a home and maybe even a family.'' Hazel dropped her eyes to the counter top then used a cloth to wipe up some imaginary puddles. "Gee...What ever got you to thinking crazy thoughts like that?'' Whitey twisted around on his seat to face the front door. He peered through the glass and out into the street. "There's that boy ... you know the one Hoover found. It's been three weeks now and nobody's come forward to identify him. I'm thinking his folks have abandoned him and he's going to need a home if he ever wakes up.'' "Whoa! If you're saying what I think you're saying just forget about it right now. You don't know anything about that boy. He might be more trouble than the Lord allows.'' Whitey spun back around on the stool and grabbed Hazel's arm as she tried to walk away. "It isn't like we got all that good a life. That boy is going to need somebody to give him a home and nobody's going to let me take care of him unless I got somebody to help me.'' Hazel's eyes and mouth popped wide open as she stared directly into her captor's face. "You're crazier than hell. You're not getting me into any of your cockamamie schemes. Who do you think you are anyway?'' Whitey released her arm and dropped his chin. "I just thought we could get together for the boy's sake. That's all.''