This is the 4th of the vignettes for the new book in the Monk Buttman series, A Twinkle in the Eyes of God. Emily is a little girl who lives at the commune started by Monk’s father, Moses. Monk helps her when he comes to visit with Agnes.
The apotheosis of a man’s fate lies in the garden of a young girl. That’s what I tell myself every time I return to the farm and find myself in the clutches of my erstwhile overseer, Emily.
“Are you ready, Mr. Sunshine?” she would demand.
“Ready for what?” I would answer.
“You know,” she would say… and on and on.
“I think I should be helping do other things,” I would say to chide her.
“Moses says it’s best when you help me, Mr. Sunshine!”
I imagine Moses did.
Formalities having been given, we were off to our work.
The herb garden, Emily’s domain, was composed of four raised beds, ten feet by twenty, with three feet in between. For the most part, I was simple labor. It was the only time I wore blue jeans and a work shirt.
Agnes thought that was cute. “Oh, look at my little working man!” she would exclaim.
I would ignore her.
Having weeded, trimmed and culled the herbs, we sat on the corner of the northwest bed. Emily used this time to pepper me with questions.
“Do you like your brothers, Mr. Sunshine?”
“I don’t really know my brothers, Emily. Sterling was only seven when I left and Isaac was a baby. Jacob wasn’t even born yet. Why do you ask?”
“I have a sister and brother, but I don’t know them very well either. They’re my father’s kids,” she said.
“Then I guess he didn’t ask you first, huh?”
“No,” she admitted, rather sullenly.
The crows were squawking in the trees behind us.
“How come you were away so long? Was it bad? I heard the adults talking about you,” she said, as if that justified the question.
“Yes, people like to talk.”
She waited for me to actually answer her question.
I had no interest in answering.
“Well?” she tapped my leg.
“I don’t know that you’re old enough for me to explain…” I demurred.
“I’m very mature for my age,” she stated as a matter of fact. “Is it because you got your girlfriend pregnant?”
I laughed at that. “No. Well, I wasn’t proud of that, but that’s not the reason I left—”
“You’re not going to let go of this are you?”
“And if I don’t tell you? What will you do then?”
Emily crossed her arms and pondered this deep question. “I’ll keep asking,” she said.
“Interesting. What if I never answer?”
“Oh, I think you will, Mr. Sunshine, I think you will.”
Our test of wills continued.
©2019 David William Pearce