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Jenkins' Pig: Part 1
It was a cloudy day at the farm. Anna and I were out by the barn, loading bales of hay outside of the massive door, for Papa to pick up in the truck later. A muffled cry came from the farmhouse, “Girls, Breakfast! We thought it best that we not keep Mother waiting, so immediately made our way to the farmhouse. As we approached, we heard another voice, Old Man Jenkins – rough and annoyed, “If ya dun pay for the property, I, as the landowner’ll take it back!” After a moment he mutters to himself, “Darn! Where’d that pig go? He’s an award winner, he is. Hmmph, ‘should raise the reward to three thousand bucks…” The delicious scent of fresh fried eggs, sweet marmalade, and homemade wheat bread distracted us from the rest of Jenkins’ muttering. We gulped down the food, but not before enjoying the smooth, hot, peppered egg and tangy marmalade; the two contrasted greatly together.
Anna glanced up , just as I stuffed the last chunk of bread into my mouth. I winked at her, and she mirrored me. As usual we were both on the same page. She made a mad dash to the door, and I pushed against the old, wooden dining room table to give myself a boost. I was hot on her trail. Following routine, she and I bounded through the doorway, pretending to be excited about returning to farm work, only to re enter the house through the back door. I kicked off my boots, and expertly maneuvered up the cracked wooden stairs. Anna pulled out the county map from under her bed, and we crossed off unlikely places of where the pig may be: the highway where there are so many cars, and Jenkins’s farm.
“Wait,” I stopped her from crossing off his farm.
“Hmm?” she replied.
“I think we should stop by the farm anyway, to look for clues,” I reasoned.
“Oh, of course! Shall we go then?”
I tucked the aged map and tucked it into my pocket, then followed Anna down the ragged stairway. I had forgotten about being careful, and a loud creak seemed to echo through the small farmhouse. Frozen stupidly , one foot half hanging over the creaky step. Anna jerked back, her eyes wide. If Mother found us still in the house, we would be put back to work. Fortunately, we made it out without any other problems.
About half way to Jenkins’s farm, a consistent buzz rang in my ears. Anna seemed bothered by it as well. Both of us tipped our heads back, as if on que. There, directly above us, was a tightly spun beehive. Ah, not bad… just creep by it.
I spun around. Just a couple feet away the hive was buzzing, louder than ever.
“Run!” I blurted. Anna didn’t even have to look back to understand why. We broke into a sprint. I dared a peek back; an angry mob of dozens of angry bees were directly at their backs. I knew what a bee sting felt like; it was a sharp, and extremely painful, given the tiny size of the stinger. I imagined more than one, all at the same time. Ouch. With a splash, we both dived into the shallow stream. Foamy seaweed smothered my mouth, and a faint manure scent pervaded my conscience. Anna and I were content with the experience after thinking about bees. Who had knocked down the hive? Someone was not happy with our quest; how did they know what we were doing?
Out of the stream, we continued on, like nothing happened. That was hard to do, however, because when we were just about to reach the property I noticed Anna, with a confused countenance. That’s when I looked around, and saw it. Anna stepped forward and rubbed her palm against a tree. The trunk was raw, as if the bark was torn from it; several branches hung on their last limb – broken by an unknown person. Probably that guy who had attempted to hinder us with the bees. Being adventurous as we were, we knew how to climb trees well. An aura of honey and butter was oddly in the air. Attached to every sturdy, unbroken branch was a thin rope. Attached to each rope was… a fruit cake! Another distraction – a good one at that. She pulled one down. An iron structure remained, probably baked into the cake in order to hang them from the tree. The fruitcake was in both hands, above her head, as if it were some godly statuette. Before I blinked again, she stuffed it into her face. I did the same. It was exceptional… sweet, spicy, and chocolaty. Yum.
Once in range, we picked up Old Man Jenkins’s crashed in our ears. He was arguing again, and who knows with who. On a second though, it was not good to get onto his bad side, and it would be a nice surprise to him if we found it without his knowing. We backed out, intending to continue tomorrow.
Plip, plop, rumble, plop.
“Well, on the second thought,” Anna continued, “perhaps we should just wait for the Old Man’s temper to cool, then go in.”
“Wh-what’s that?” I peered around. Maybe this is a little too much of an adventure – a danger. A thud followed, and I turned in time to see a stone, no larger than a baseball, pat into the wet soil.
“Umm…,” I stood there for a moment before jumping back, just before I spotted the column holding up the awning. Seconds later, the whole awning collapsed, a choir of cracks, crashes, and thuds. So much for keeping Old Jenkins at bay.