- Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 1
- Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 2
- Just A Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 3
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 4
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 5
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 6
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 7
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 8
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 9
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 10
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 11
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 12
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 13
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 14
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 15
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 16
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 17
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 18
- Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 19
Dawn was breaking at the Green ranch. Two bushy tailed pine squirrels chattered in the treetops. The old red rooster crowed his loudest telling the world it was time to get up and get going.
Jim sat up in bed and yawned. He had spent a very restless night. Telling Elly May that he was convinced that Seth and Martha were not her real father and mother was not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially where he had no proof. It was a delicate subject alright. Maybe he should take her up Dead Horse Gulch once more and let her get a good look at the rest of the family That should do the trick.
Jim shook his head. This didn’t seem to be the right thing to do. He had better come up with a better idea than this.
He climbed out of bed and dressed. The women were still sleeping and there was no need to awaken them. He went into the kitchen and cooked himself a good breakfast.
The water on the meadow needed his attention. He slipped outside and carefully closed the door. He picked up the shovel, which was leaning against the big pine tree and headed for the meadow. There was a lot of work to be done. Maybe after a good workout a better idea would come to him.
It was almost noon before he got the watering done. He was hungry so he put the shovel over his shoulder and headed for the house.
No new ideas had came to him about how to tell the girl about his suspicions. But he knew he must do something. She had been a member of the Rotten family long enough:
He passed the barn. He would feed Old Spot later. One look at the house and he could see that they had company. An old beat up truck was parked in the driveway. It belonged to Seth Rotten.
As he drew closer he could see Seth and his two offspring, Clyde and Oswald. They were lined up in a row leaning against the truck bed.
They certainly hadn’t dressed up for the occasion. Their faces were covered with a couple of days growth of whiskers. Clyde and Oswald’s was a dirty black and Seth had a black and white mixture.
Their clothes were filthy dirty, covered with grease and grime from the old cars they were always working on. The three of them had on black hats that matched the clothes. At one time they had been the broad brim high crown type. Time had taken it’s toll. The brims sagged down over their ears almost touching their shoulders. They were withered and shrunken. They were a frightful looking trio.
Each of them had a straw in his mouth. Each had a pocket knife and was whittling on a piece of bark.
Jim stopped a few feet from them. He tried to make his voice sound cordial, “’Howdy fellers. How are you gents today?”
Seth chewed on the straw and whittled on the piece of bark. “We’ve come after Elly May,” he stated flatly.
Clyde and Oswald grinned showing tobacco stained teeth. “Yeah we come after Elly May.” they chimed in.
Jim took a quick look at the house. No one was in sight. A slight rustle of the window curtain indicated that someone was peeking through. He wondered what had taken place. How long had they been here?
His voice was cold. “Have you talked to her Seth?”
Seth spit on the ground. “Yeah we talked to her a bit. Seems like she has taken on some high and mighty ways. Say’s she will come down when she is ready.”
Jim leaned on the shovel handle. At the same time keeping a sharp eye on them. “Ain’t that alright Seth? If she says she will come down when she is ready I reckon that is the way it will be.”
From under the sagging brim of the black hat Seth glared at him. “She is my daughter, feller. And we are taking her home. You wouldn’t try and stop us now would you?”
Jim nodded. “I’ll stop you Seth. So better you crawl into that bucket of bolts and get the hell out of here”
Clyde and Oswald were grinning like a couple of apes. Clyde sucked air between his teeth. He hissed. “Let me take him Pa. Get out of my way Ossie!” He took a John Sullivan stance his fists stuck out in front of him.
Oswald moved down to the rear of the truck. Whittling away on the piece of bark. Jim took a firm grip on the shovel handle. He knew what was coming. He had seen this pair in action before.
Clyde was sputtering. “All right man. Put that shovel down and let’s get with it!”
Seth moved to the front fender of the truck. There was a sly grin on his face. He had taught his boys well. It would all be over with in a few seconds.
Clyde was moving slowly toward Jim. His: fists moving out and in like pistons.
The sun was at Jim’s back. Oswald was no longer in front of him. He was back there somewhere. When Clyde yelled to attract his attention Oswald would charge. He was ready and would watch for the shadow.
Suddenly Clyde let out a loud yell. Somewhere a woman screamed!
Jim spun around swinging the shovel like a baseball bat. The steel blade caught Oswald in mid air. The knife flew from his hand he came crashing to the ground
One quick glance told Jim that he was out of the fight. He was groaning loud and was clutching his right arm which was shattered at the elbow.
Jim turned to Clyde who was staring at his helpless brother.
“Want some Clyde?” he whispered.
Clyde’s face was as white as a sheet. He licked his dry lips and slowly he shook his head.
He turned to Seth who had not made a move. “Alright Seth are you getting off my place?”
A faint smile passed over Seth’s homely face. His voice was low and polite. “Yes sir, mister Jim. I reckon we had better do just that.”
Jim leaned on the shovel and watched while Seth and Clyde loaded the groaning Oswald on the back of the truck. It would be a long time before they pulled any more of their tricks.
Seth and Clyde crawled into the cab and without a backward glance retreated down the road. Jim had a feeling that this would be their last trip here.
Shirley Green opened the door and come walking out. Her face was white. Otherwise, she had retained her composure. She stopped in front of him with a faint smile on her face.
“You are a good man Jim. You remind me so much of your father. You certainly took care of that situation in a hurry.”
He glanced at the house. “How is Elly May did they bother her?”
“Yes and they tried to take her away from here. But she put up a fight.”
“Did she see what happened here”
Shirley Green nodded. “She saw it alright. Didn’t you hear her scream when he came at you with that knife?”
“I heard someone. Is she alright?” Did they hurt her?”
“Clyde and Oswald tried to put her in the truck. She fought Like a wild cat. Thank God you came when you did.”
Jim cursed under his breath. “Damn that dirty Clyde! I should of busted him one.”
Shirley Green shook her head, “No Jim boy you did just right. But right now I think the girl needs you. Go take care of her. I am going out gather the eggs and take care of some chores.”
Jim walked to the house and opened the door. Elly May was curled up on the couch her head buried in her arms. She was sobbing softly.
He walked over and looked down at her. What she had just gone through must have been a terrible shock to her. Even the trip up Dead Horse Gulch hadn’t prepared her for this.
His eyes smarted as he knelt down beside her. “Elly May darling. Are you alright?”
She did not seem to hear him.
“Elly May,” he whispered. “Look at me darling; I love you.”
Slowly she turned her head and looked up at him. “What did you say?”
“I love you darling.”
She propped herself up on an elbow. The big blue eyes were red rimmed and filled with tears. “Oh Jim you can’t love me. You mustn’t love me. I am nothing. They were so horrible, and I can never be your wife. Suppose I bore you a child and it was like one of them?” Sobs shook her body.
He slipped an arm under her and raised her to a sitting position. He then sat down beside her, “Elly May,” his voice sounded hoarse. “Listen to me for just a minute. Those people are no kin of yours they only pretend to be.” He stopped talking searching for the right words. Yesterday he wondered how he could ever bring up the subject. It was much easier now. The Rottens had opened the gate.
Her sobbing ceased. Her body stiffened. Slowly she turned her head and her blue eyes were wide. “What are you saying Jim? Your mother said they were and he said he was my father. Now are you telling me something different?”
Jim licked his Lips. He couldn’t lie to her and he had no proof. He must not mislead her for she had been through enough. He stroked the honey colored hair and kept his voice low. “Listen Sweetie.” he said. “I have no proof of what I am about to tell you. but it can be no other way. You are in no way related to that family.”
“But your mother said.”
“I know, darling, but she doesn’t believe.”
“Oh Jim, I am so confused!”
“So am I Sweetie. And we are going to get to the bottom of a few things. By the way, what day is your birthday?” She looked confused. “May the first why?”
“Just checking I have an idea.” His mother had this date correct. He continued, “Eighteen years ago, in the latter part of April, Seth and Martha took a load of scrap iron to Boise.
Martha was expecting. She hurt herself while unloading the iron. She was taken to a hospital and several days later on May the first she gave birth to a baby girl. They named her Elly May.”
He hesitated for a moment. The girl was listening to every word. He continued, “I guess it was Martha’s first time in a hospital. Seth had been the doctor for all the boys. Anyhow Martha returned home with a blue eyed beautiful baby girl which was quite a step above the rest of the family.
As the girl grew up she was the subject of many a conversation. No one could understand how such a lovely girl could belong to the Rotten family.”
A slight grin crossed Jim’s face, “As I grew up couldn’t keep my eyes off this girl. Rotten or not I was in love with her. Rut no one could ever make me believe that she was one of them. I always figured that Martha came home with the wrong child, and believe me, I wasn’t the only one that thought this.”
Elly May’s eyes were wide she said nothing.
“This is nothing new,” he continued. “It has happened a lot of times. A lot more than have been discovered.”
He drew her close and kissed her. “Listen sweetheart I don’t give a damn who your parents are. We will be married just the same.”
The girl moved close to him and put her head on his shoulder. “Keep talking.” she whispered. “Tell me more.”
He closed his eyes and rambled on. .
They would be married. There would be a long honeymoon. Probably they would go to Hawaii. They would have several kids. They would always be happy.
Jim quit talking and looked down at her. She was sound asleep with a contented look on her face . Once more she reminded him of a sweet innocent child about four years of age.