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• Chapter Fifteen red Power August 27–September 6 On Wednesday afternoon when Sissy got home from her shift, she threw a load of her sheets into the washer. Her mom and dad had cleaned the downstairs rooms, but upstairs was her responsibility, something her dad reminded her of the night before when he had walked up the stairs just far enough to see over the stair rail and into her room, and said, “Looks like a hog wallow up here,” turned around and clumped back down. She had just dumped in the soap when she heard car tires crunching on the gravel in the driveway. She was climbing the outside basement steps just as Sonny stepped out of his blue Pinto, walked up and gave her a hug, stepped back and looked at the left side of her face. Taffy barked maniacally from the neighbor ’s yard. “Oooo,” he said, “looks like that would hurt.” She grabbed his left arm, shoved his shirtsleeve up and looked at his wrist, where there wasn’t so much as a thin line of bruise. “Oooo,” she said, “looks like that would hurt.” He snatched his arm back. “Never mind. I had a momentary mental aberration.” “Momentary?” she asked, “Don’t look now, but I think it’s become a permanent condition.” “You hurt me, Sissy. You cut me to the quick, and this might be the last time you ever see me,” he said, putting his hand over his left shirt front. She looked around him at the Pinto, at the backseat piled to the roof with full bags and boxes, at the clothes hanging on a rod stretched across the back. “Jerry kicked you out, huh? So, you’re planning to move into Uncle Lawrence’s basement?” He feigned deeper hurt. 166 Chapter Fifteen “I would never, I repeat, never take advantage of a relative like that!” “Really? So what’s changed, then?” Sissy asked, one arm on her hip. “Actually, Jerry did kick me out,” he said, putting his arm around her and leading her to the back door. “But, he’s doing me a favor. It’s time I moved on to bigger and better things.” “Back to the seminary, then?” she asked as she opened the back screen door. “I said moving on, not back,” he said to her, and to Lily, who was folding clothes on the table, “Hi, Aunt Lily. Where’s Unc?” Lily gave him a hug and sat him down at the table. “He’s down at the gas station playing dominoes with his buddies. Want some iced tea?” “Don’t encourage him, Mom. If you feed him, he’ll think he lives here,” Sissy said. “Don’t be silly, Sissy,” Lily said. “Sonny is always welcome.” Sissy shot Sonny a disgusted look and sat down. “I came to say good-bye, Auntie Lily,” Sonny said as she poured tea from the pitcher for the three of them, added ice cubes from the bin in the freezer. “I’m going east to work the high steel.” “Sonny, no! That’s so dangerous,” Lily exclaimed. Sonny chuckled. “No, I’m not. That’s so dangerous. I’m moving up to Rapid City, stay with friends for a few days. One of them promised me he could get me on working out at the air base.” “Well, that might be a good idea,” Lily said. “A lot of people made good careers out of doing civilian work out at Ellsworth.” “I figure it might be a good opportunity for me,” Sonny said. “Oh, hold on a minute,” Lily said, “I have to move the sprinkler in the backyard. I’ll be right back.” When she had gone out the door, Sissy said, “So, you’re running like a scared rabbit with your tail between your legs?” Sonny choked on his tea, splattering his shirt front and laughing. “A scared rabbit? How does a rabbit tuck that little puff ball of a tail between its legs to run?” he asked. “Shut up, Son, you know what I mean.” “What can I say? I’m a lover, not a fighter.” “Sonny, you are not a lover. Look how bad you messed up that career option. You’re a runner not a fighter, and you sure as hell aren’t any good at the priesting profession, either,” she said. Sonny sat his tea down on the table hard, slopping half of it on the table. Red Power 167 “So, I...


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