Mending The Broken
June 16, 2013
Cecily pulled the Camaro up to the cabin beside the yellow Corvette. Lilliana looked out the window at the new shiny car, “That girl is all flash, just has to have the newest fanciest thing she can get.” She turned to Cecily, “Let’s get you into something you like.”
“It’s Ok.” Cecily said as she cut the engine off, “I’m feeling better now.” On the ride out of town she had untied the shirt tails and fastened the buttons covering her midsection, the shorts did not seem to bother her. “I just need to wash some clothes for tomorrow.”
“We both do. You and Hank have the driver’s test, and I have those Seminars all week. I have a bit of a surprise for Friday if all goes well.” Lilliana turned to get out of the car while Cecily removed the painter’s extensions from her feetpaws.
“How do we wash the clothes? Hank doesn’t have a washing machine.”
“We’re in the field, we do it the hard way,” Lilliana answered with a smile, as she walked to the cabin followed by Cecily. As soon as Lilliana had her hand on the door handle their attention was drawn to the dirt drive as the old Chevy slid to a stop, kicking up a cloud of dust.
Alex jumped out of the truck before the dust cleared. She coughed as she sucked in the dirt filled air. “Hol on dere, Squeaky.” She yelled while running to the porch. Alex steadied herself on the cabin wall, “K, Squeaky,..” she huffed breathlessly.
Lilliana looked at Alex and shook her head, “Ok Boomer, detergent is with the supplies, washtub is in the kitchen by the water pump, and I haven't seen the washboard yet.” She then looked down at Cecily, “Get Hank some shirts washed also. He can’t get his license looking like he does. I’m going to hit the river for a bath.” Then she turned back to the Camaro to get her shower kit and towel.
Alex slumped against the wall and slid down to the floor, then tilted her head toward Cecily, “Looks like we got chores, Squeaky. We’d beta get to em for sarge ges back from er bath.”
Cecily walked into the cabin, Alex scrambled to her feet and into the cabin before the door closed. “Wadeup, Squeaky.” She followed Cecily and the little mouse collected up the three piles of discarded clothes. She watched as Cecily struggled with the collection, much larger than she was. The eagle reached out and took a large amount off the top of her load, “Let me take some a dose.” and continued to the kitchen area.
The kitchen looked as if it had not been used in days, the pots and pans were clean and stacked on a makeshift counter built of sawhorses and 2x4s. The wash bucket Lilliana had mentioned was situated under a hand pump well spout, the detergent was readily available on a rickety shelf on the near wall. Alex dropped her load in the washtub and said, “Dis is stupid.” She grabbed the box of detergent and dropped in into the tub as well. “Trow da stuff in ‘ere. We’re goin to da laundra mat in town. Dat crazy riva rat can power ‘is workchop dat he doesn even use, but can’t geta wachin machine.” After Cecily dropped her arm load into the tub, Alex grabbed it and carried it out to the Corvette, releasing the hatch with the push of a button. She looked over her shoulder at Cecily, still standing in the doorway of the cabin and said, “Come on, Squeaky, I can’t do dis all by myself.”
Cecily grabbed her denim backpack, ran to the car and jumped in the passenger seat. She had not been off the mountain in three days, other than the short trip to the dinner, and was looking forward to seeing something other than trees. She looked over as the eagle sat in the driver’s seat. There were things about her that reminded Cecily of Lilliana, but there was so much different. Alex was confidant like Lilliana, but in a different way, and that is what scared Cecily.
Alex looked over at her small companion, “So, wha kinda music ya listen to?” Cecily pulled some CDs out of her bag and handed them to Alex. Without looking at what she was given, Alex pops them all out of their cases and loads them one-by-one into the multi disk in-dash CD player, then punches the play button on the steering wheel. She rolled down the windows as the old-school punk music started blasting from the speakers. With a smile she said, “I see Lilly has already had ‘er influence on ya.” Then they pulled away from the cabin with the washtub full of laundry the waited to be washed setting in the back.
The trio pulled up to the cabin in the Willy jeep, The Camaro, Old Chevy 10, and Nomad were all still in their place. They had passed Alex in her Corvette, speeding down the mountain to who knows where. Lilly walked out of the woodline with her clothes over one arm and a towel over her shoulder, rubbing the back of her head with the end.. General Helfgrad raised an eyebrow at the site, “I see Lilly has not changed at all.”
“You expected her to, Sir?” Susan asked.
“Not really, I just thought she might be more modest with the girl around.”
“Lilly, change for someone else? Now that would be a surprise.” Hank added as he got out of the jeep and made his way to the cabin.
Lilliana walked up to the jeep where The General and Susan were still seated, “Where did Alex go? She’s supposed to be doing laundry.” She said leaning against the door frame.
“We passed her on the way up. I am betting she is on her way down to the washateria instead of doing it here.” Susan pointed out. “You know how she has always hated field living.”
“Well, If Hank would get off his ass he has more than enough room and generator power to run a small washer like we had at camp DOHA.” Lilliana said, “By the way, General, the sleeping arrangements are slim. Cecily, Hank, Susan and I have been sleeping out here. We do have an inflatable in the cabin you can rack out on, and I think Hank’s got a few field cots in the workshop. We will all need to get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow. You want me to get the troops working on the situation?”
Detlev locked eyes with the liger, “Sergeant Lilliana Fargo, you are no longer a soldier and zese are not your troops. I don’t need any special treatment vile we are here. I still know how to setup my own cot. Now if you don’t mind I need to get my chit out of your car.”
Lilly stepped aside to allow the aging badger to pass, then looked at Susan with a mocking wide eyed expression, “We’re not soldiers?”
“Apparently not, Top. Should I requisition those cots from the supply sergeant?” Susan said before they both started laughing.
“Let me throw some rags on and I’ll help you get them.”
Outskirts of Portland
The Corvette screeched to a stop in the Wash-a-teria parking lot, Classical music pouring out the windows at peak volume. The place was empty except for a doe and her calf. Alex killed the engine and the music along with it, got out of the car and retrieved the washtub from the back. Cecily followed her into the small storefront filled with washing machines. Alex grabbed four of the baskets readily available in the shop and began separating the cloths mumbling, “Whites, Darks, Delicates, Delicates, White, Colors, Darks colors…” As she went. When she finished she spun around to the nearest washer and began to shove a basket full into it. She dug through her purse pulling out loose change, “Dammit, I only got enough fer one load. I’ll start dis one and run to get more cash. Can ya stay and watch dis, Squeaky?”
Shyly Cecily nodded her head, clutching her backpack tighter; she squeezed the spot where the taser was to give her confidence a little boost.
“K, I’ll be jus arounda corner at da ATM. It shouldn’t take me but a second.” Alex said as she ran out the door. Cecily pulled out her sketchbook and flipped it open to a page with two photos paper clipped to it, one of a Barn in a cornfield and the other a flock of flying birds. On the page was a drawing of the combination of the two pictures, with the flock of birds flying over and through the barn and field.
The sound of the bell over the door made her look up expecting to see Alex come back, she was sure the pattern would continue with this group and Alex would tell her more of that fateful day. To her disappointment it was only a group of four wolverines. They were dressed in oversized clothing, each wearing, a bandana of the same blue color. As they entered, the deer left rushing past them as one hissed at the mother and child. Cecily, taking a slight queue reached into her bag for the grip of her defense device. It did not take long for the quartet to notice the lone kangaroo mouse sitting against the wall. Panic began to set in as she saw their position in the laundry mat gave her no obvious exit without going through the group.
Cruel smiles dressed their faces as they moved in on their new pray. One spoke in a raspy voice, “What have we got here? A little mousy all alone? Where’s your mommy, mousy?” Then mockingly looked around the room and said, “I guess we’ll just have to take care of you for now.”
They closed in faster than she expected, cornering her against the wall. She pulled out the S.T.R.I.K.E.R. and shot the largest in the chest, quickly releasing the cartidge and fumbling for the next. The shock of their comrade falling to the floor only lasted a second before they started laughing at him. “Da bitch shot you dude.” One added followed by a “thanks, fucken captain obvious.”
As he ripped the leads from his chest and looked back at her trying fruitlessly to insert the new cartridge, “I was going to be nice and not hurt you, mousy, but it looks like you want to play rough.” He looked to his left, swinging his arm with the order, “Hold her down, I want to get a piece of that.” Two rushed her and pinned her to the wall as she kicked and screamed,
“Ain’t nobody comin for you mousy.” Their apparent leader said as he unfastened the belt, holding up his baggy pants. “They know better than to come in here.” She trembled uncontrollably as he walked up to her and ripped the blouse away from her chest, revealing the pink sports bra.
The sound of loose change hitting the floor caught the group’s attention. They looked to the door to see Alexis standing five foot nine, only inches shorter than the largest of them. She screeched, “Hell no! Da was my Favrit shirt. Somones gona pay fer dat.”
With the same cruel smile the largest said, “Look boys, we got ourselves another playmate to go with the mousy. Get her, I can handle this one.” He pinned both her arms to the wall as she struggled against his strength. He licked her up the chest and across the neck stopping to whisper in her ear, “I ain’t never had a mousy before, I’m gona take this slow.” With that word and his closeness she kicked up toward his crotch only for her paw to be caught up in his sagging pants. “Oh, you are a fighter. I like that.” He said as he slid both her hands together into one of his.
Across the room, Alex kicked off her sandles revealing her slender taloned toes, “Ya might want to think abou dis befer I havta hut’cha.”
Two of the three pulled out knives as they approached, “This little birdy’s got a mouth on her.” One said to the others.
Alex took a quick assessment of the situation. The space was small and filled with washing machines, with Cecily in a open area in the back with a few tables and counters to provide space for dealing with finished loads. The wolverines could not be more than eighteen to twenty years old. With their baggy clothing she could not get a feel for their real size and strength. The sound of Cecily’s scream brought her mind to action. She rushed forward grabbing the knife hand of the closest assailant and swinging him like a baseball bat knocking the other two into a row of washers. She jumped over the row of machines that were now between her and the wolverine holding Cecily. She grabbed the back of his head, slamming it into the wall between Cecily’s arms with all the force and momentum she had. As Cecily fell to the floor Alex screeched “RUN!!”
Cecily stood as quickly as she could, bounding for the door and the Corvette. Alex watched as she disappeared into the distance across the street. The only thought on her mind was Cecily is out, now I need to get out. The wolverines recovered from their surprise attack to see the mouse gone and the eagle in her place, talons readied for a fight.
Cecily ran until she was out of breath, turning left and right down streets and alleyways, the shops and storefronts all closed for Sunday. She finally stopped exhausted and lost. She slumped against a wall, tears rolling out of her eyes. She gathered the torn shirt around her top, and screamed unintelligibly at the sky. No phone, no bag, no taser, she was defenseless in a strange neighborhood. The dark alley was as comforting to her as it was frightening. She was alone; then again she was finally alone. She huddled into a corner near a large garbage dumpster. She looked around, taking in the familiar sights and sounds of the back streets of the city. In the distance she could hear police sirens and a gun shot. She pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her tail around her legs. Two weeks, it had been two weeks since she had been taken off the streets by Lilliana, and only two weeks to be back on them… alone. Maybe she was safer on the streets, at least then she knew what was coming.
Alex through the clothes, both wet and dirty into the hatch of the Corvette. Her eye was swelling where they got a hit in, her shirt was torn and unable to cover her completely, and she pulled out one of Lilliana’s shirts and tossed it over herself. The wolverines were lying on the floor and over machine unconscious and broken. She dropped into the driver seat winded and sore. She pulled out her phone and dialed the number from memory, “Lilly, I fuckdup… I lef ‘er alone fer only a minute… I ‘ad to get change for the wacher...der was a doe and ‘er kid in dere when I lef, so I tought she’d be ok… Some punks came in; I guess day ren off da deer… She ‘ad it and used it, but dere were four of dem… day ‘ad her pined to da wall when I got back… I did wha I tought I ‘ad to, I got ‘er out. But she ran… I don know… I gota stay for the police… I got dis… I’ll bring ‘er home… jew lef ‘er wit me, Ima fit dis.. I gota go, da cops are ‘ere.”
Cecily sat eyes squeezed shut. She could see the light fading as the hours moved on. She had no idea where she ran to, or what places she ran through. In school they always said if you get lost, just stay where you are, people will find you. But they never do. Cecily had spent her entire life lost, and just as she thought they might have found her, she was lost again. The sound of a glass bottle hitting the ground pulled her to the reality that she had absolutely no idea where she was or where she came from. At this point there really was no going back for her. Would they even come looking for her? They really had no reason to. She knew she was more trouble than she was worth. The foster families said it all the time. She rested her head back on her knees as the tears returned to her eyes, she said aloud to herself, “No one loves me enough to come looking for me, why would they?”
Cecily jerked her head up as the thud of something heavy hit the ground and wall next to her. Opening her eyes she saw the smiling eagle, “Da fuck you takin bout Squeaky? You’re one of us, an we live by da rule no soldier lef behine.” Cecily watched as Alex turned her face to look back, her eye was black and swollen, and patches of feathers were missing from her face, abdomen, and legs. “Lilly’s always been da mamma of our troop.” She said las she leaned back against the wall, “She was always da oldes of us. An she took charge like it too. kep us out da touble more times den I can coun. She was da closes ting I had to an oler siser. She trused me wit ya, an I scewed up. I shouldn’t a lef ya dere alone like dat. Clothes can be replaced, people can’t. I chould know dat by now.” She looked over at Cecily, “Can ya forgive me? I’ll neva leave ya like dat again, I promis.”
Cecily looked up at her as she wiped the tears from her eyes. She squeaked as the eagle wrapped her wing around her and pulled her closer. “Jer my lil siser now, I can’t go back ta Mamma cat wit out’cha. She’d skin me alive, den send me out ta fin ya.” she shook the mouse a little with her wing, “So to save the heartache of losin anoder mouse we love, I hadta come fin ya.”
Cecily wiped more tears from her eyes and asked, “Lose anoder mouse?”
“Well dats a lon story, one better tol by da General. Maybe ‘ell tell it, maybe ‘e won’t. Dat one is ‘ard fer him. He was da yunges when we los ‘im.” She looked down at the mouse in her wing, “Stories aside, we gots abou a two mile ‘ike back to da car.” Alex stood up reached down for Cecily, “While we walk, let me tell ya a story, bu firs I have to splain smutin. ya see dere are tree type of stroyes, fairtale dat start wit unce upon a time… den tere are lies, day start with wha ha hapen was… den ther is da truf, you alway tell it wit, No shit dere I was… Wit dat in mind, let me tell jew a story. No shit dere I was my back to da wall. Dere were four woverins closin in o me...
The sun was setting as they waited at the Wash-a-teria. Hank and Susan were in the laundry mat tending to the folding of clothes, while the General sat reading a book. Lilly was pasing outside while she watched and waited for the return of the duo. Two police officers were still on the scene questioning the owner of the establishment. Windows we broken and several machines were damaged. The cost of the repairs would be substantial.
Lilly stopped in her tracks as music came to her ear from the distance. Cecily was riding on Alex’s back as they walked, singing a strange song as they passed under a street lamp. Alex kept a brisk pace in time with the tune; the joyous sound filled the air as they got closer. the melody even brought a smile to Lilly’s face:
“This is the song that never ends,
It goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue singing it forever just because…”
Lilly ran as fast as she could to see the little mouse. Unhindered by her approach the duo continued to sing and march forward, which caused Lilliana to watch helplessly as the injured bird carried the smiling mouse past her. They continued their giggling, singing madness right up to the faded Chevy 10, where Alex spun around and lifted Cecily into the bed of the truck. Together the two stopped singing and started laughing as the fell on their backs onto the hard wood truck bed.
Lilliana put her hands on her hips and looked at the two sternly, “And where the hell have you two been?”
The struggled to stifle her laughter, Alex looked at Lilly and said, “Jew see, whahadhapenwas…” and without being able to finish the line, both the mouse and bird began to laugh hysterically again.
Lilly shook her head as she walked back into the Wash-a-teria. “I worry about you sometimes, Alex. I am just glad you're both OK. Now come in here so we can clean you two up.”
In unison with a salute the tow said “Roger Sargent!” and broke into laughter again.