Copyright © 1999 Brien Engel
I had a job to do that
Marble and I had discussed and I'll tell you about that. You nervous?
You'll do allright. It don't matter if your a man or a woman, it's the
same thing really. Some folks are scared. You'll do allright.
Yeah, that's the
grandaughter over there, that's Trish. She came during spring and that
was a grand day, I'll tell you. I watched her hatch and everything
went well cause when her mother hatched I screwed up even though it
all came out right in the end. You have to learn by your mistakes and
it's practice what makes perfect.
Back to that first day
in the branch. Well I let Marble sleep and got to thinking about what
I was going to do about Papa and all that took place at the market. I
thought I'd go to Murphrey's and get one of his catfish so I could
bring it back and nobody'd know the difference. I can think of these
things. It seemed a sweet plan plus I knew I couldn't stay gone
So as it was getting
dark I kind of tapped Marble and she said she had been awake for
awhile and that I had to get back to Papa. She looked at me that way.
Oh man, I hardly could stand it. She said she was just going to make a
nest on the far side with some moss and sticks there and not to worry,
she'd be good and out of sight for the evening. She said it would be
around a week before she could make it on dry land though, and that I
had to take care of a few things.
I hated to leave her
but I just took off. What she had told me to do was first of all, I
had to go back to the tires in the back ten and get bitten by skeeters
on purpose. But this time she was going to make it so I didn't get
sick but that something else was going to happen. And I trusted her
more than anyone else, so I knew that'd be ok. She could of told me to
do just about anything. Murphrey was sweeping up when I got there and
he hadn't heard about the market and I found a nice fish. I didn't bet
on it being a talking one like my Marble and sure enough it was just a
dumb bull circling around, and I didn't feel bad about it becoming
battered and fried. So I bought a bucket and took him to the market
stall where I found Marble.
They gave me the same
looks like they do but I hung my head real pitiful and said I don't
know what happened which was true. Papa'd gone home and I knew that's
where I had to be more careful, cause he drinks. They look out for me
there and it wasn't bad. Mrs. Kennedy was saying how if I knew
anything it was about making amends and that I should stay out of the
sun. Then I bought Dog chow for Marble and hid it on the way home.
Papa was out cold on the big sofa Sister had given him when she came
to visit. I was glad for that, let me tell you.
That night I got good
and bit. It was hell but I had to do it for my catfish girlfriend.
Well, I thought about the word girlfriend and it fit just fine in a
way and made me proud. I hadn't had a girlfriend after Penny
McCandless but I never really counted her anyway. So this was true
love. But Marble was more than a girlfriend, I knew. It's just it
still feels right to say it. I was so excited to have her in my life I
didn't sleep much, but it didn't matter. The next day Papa said, boy
what you doing with that parka on in the middle of summer, and I said
going to play jungle warefare and I ran off before he thought of
anything else to ask.
to chapter four