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A Well in Emmaus Chapter 4 Community   2 comments

Chapter Four

Community

                 Alex Lufgren walked slowly down the old farm road, amid scrub bushes interspersed with occasional live oak. A rabbit ran across the path. The gravel road had been so beat down that it no longer crunched under his boots. Alex wondered how long it had been since his father had stopped farming this land. Longer than Alex had been alive. He rarely came down this way, except when people camped here. He had seen their fire from the hayloft before the sun had come up. He found them about where he’d expect to find them, camped by the old irrigation shed. The man was feeding small sticks into a low fire while the woman held a small child wrapped in a blanket, singing softly to her in Spanish. They’d pitched two tents and there were coolers set up around a neat camp with a beat-up truck and cab-over camper at one end. Somewhere off toward the creek, Alex heard a plastic bucket scrap gravel. He cleared his throat.

                Their eyes widened as he stepped from the brush into the clearing. The man stood. Alex held his hands before him, palms out.

                “Not looking for trouble,” he said. “I own this land.”

                They glanced at one another.

                “We didn’t see any trespass signs,” the man said. His accent was Texan, maybe with a hint of Mexico in it.

                “No. I’m not about having people arrested for parking on land I’m not actively using,” Alex assured them. “I’m also not into being taken advantage of, so when I see someone out here, I come introduce myself, so they know it’s not waste land.”

                The man nodded. He and the woman looked at each other again.

                “We only planned to stay the night,” he explained. “Our little girl is running a fever and we just ….”

                “Does she need a doctor?” Alex asked.

                “No, she’s just teething,” the woman said.

                “Okay. If she does, there’s a clinic in town. I’m Alex Lufgren, by the way.”

                “Mark Ramirez,” the man said, accepting Alex’s proferred right. “This is my wife, Alice, and our daughter Lisa. Our son went to get water from the creek. We’ll pay for the campsite if you want.”

                “No, I’m not looking to get paid. I wouldn’t trust the water from the creek, though. Lots of farms around here. There’s a well around back. Let me show you.”

                There were several doors into the shed, but Alex hadn’t bothered to clear debris from any but the far one. He used the combination and showed Mark into the dim interior. The old pump works sat here out of the weather.

                “You looking for work?” Alex asked, while he muscled the big valve toward the open position.

                “Yes.” Mark was probably in his late 30s, a lean man with wiry muscles and dark hair that had no grey in it. “You know of anyone looking?”

                “Me if you can show me valid ID.”

                Mark nodded, not surprised by the question. The water that spilled into the trough was orange. It had been a couple of years since Alex had tested the well.

                “We both have Texas license, but no green cards because we were born here.”

                “Sounds good. I’ve got some odd jobs for the rest of the week and then my green field needs to be harvested. That’s probably a week’s work. About two weeks from now the combines will come through and I’ll need workers then. So will my cousins and other folks around town. Most of it’s contract work, so they won’t ask.”

                “I appreciate you asking. I’m an American too.”

                Alex nodded. The water was flowing clear now. Alex closed the smaller valve that diverted the flow over to a large sink against the wall. Orange water flowed, followed by clear. He shut off the water at the sink. He heard a pigeon coo up in the rafters.

                “There you go. Just come up to the house in the morning and I’ll put you to work. How old is your boy?”

                “Fourteen.”

                “Might have some work for him too, but shouldn’t he be in school?”

                “Alice homeschools him so we don’t have to,” Mark explained. “Thank you for understanding, Mr. Lufgren.”

                “Alex. Lots of folks migrating through this time of year, following the harvests. How’d you find the shed?”

                “Honestly, someone told me about it.”

                “Another migrant?”

                “No, we’re not really part of the community. A man stopped on the Interstate with a flat tire last night. That was toward Denver. He seemed to know the area. I figured it was his land.”

                “You catch a name?”

                “I don’t want to cause trouble.”

                “No trouble. I’m mostly curious.”

                “Jason.”

                “There’s at least four in town, that I know of.”

                “This one was strapped.”

                “Oh, Jason Breen,” the tall blonde farmer identified. “Yeah, he owns some of the land near the airfield, so he would know about this clearing. Like I said, it’s no trouble. My wife’s sister-in-law is his daughter. Sort of an inbred town.”

                “You know anyone looking for more permanent workers?” Mark asked.

                “Might. I’ll need to think about it. What do you do besides pick vegetables?”

                “I work on cars and all sorts of machinery. Alice is a secretary, but she’s waited tables, cashiered.”

                “Let me think about it and see what I can come up with. You got maybe two months of camping here before the weather starts to turn.”

                “I know,” Mark assured him. “That’s why we’re hoping to secure permanent work, so we can afford a place.”

                “You’re not headed back to Texas then?”

                “No, I don’t think so.” There was something dismissive about Mark’s tone. “I really appreciate this, Mr … Alex.”

                “I don’t mind helping when I can. I better get back to work.”

                Alice had taken the little girl into the camper when Alex returned to the camp. A boy with his parents’ dark hair was filling a pot with creek water.

                “Like I said, you can use it for washing, but I wouldn’t drink it or wash dishes with it. It’s not just manure. It’s fertilizer and pesticides. And the creek comes out of Mission Ridge, which had a lot of mines on it back in the day.”

                “We’ll use the well,” Mark assured him.

                Alex walked on down the old farm road toward the county road.

                Lord, thank you for allowing me to serve You in this way, he prayed as he walked. The big red barn and the yellow farmhouse were in view as he crossed the road. Mocha the chocolate lab dashed up, tongue lolling in the heat. Alex loved moments like this, seeing the fields stretched out to both sides, hearing the cows lowing in the pasture. He spied one of the nanny goats frolicking down by the fence.

                His cell buzzed in his jeans pocket.

                 DINNER AT THE FOLKS TONIGHT. 7.

                 He texted in return. DO WE BRING ANYTHING?

                 POPPY

             I LOVE YOU!!!!

                 Times like this Alex sometimes wondered how he could have grown up with Keri Delaney and not known she was his soul mate until two years ago. Was it just because she’s Shane’s sister? That could have something to do with it? What sane man, knowing Shane’s temper, would fool with his little sister?

                Shane had been coming to Alex’ mind a lot lately. It was tempting to think that it was just Keri’s presence that was triggering the memories, but Alex didn’t believe in coincidence. Shane’s long absence had disconnected Keri from him in Alex’ mind. There was something else at work — a God thing. Alex turned into the barn where he’d been servicing a tractor. While he worked, he prayed. Mostly, it involved keeping Shane’s image in his mind, because — truth be told — Alex had no idea what was going on in Shane’s life that required prayer. It didn’t matter. God said pray and Alex complied.

                After a while, though, his mind wandered back to the Ramirez family. Some people would say Alex was too trusting, but he thought he liked Mark. That might be a God thing too. Sometimes people had good reasons for setting out in the family camper to pick vegetables. Alex hadn’t heard that Texas was having economic problems, but that didn’t mean much. Maybe Mark and Alice had other reasons. That wouldn’t make them bad people.

                When his mind wandered too far afield, Alex turned on the radio on the workbench. The Wichita station had a local talk radio segment where people called in with their opinions. It was mostly conservatives, but today some bleeding heart had called in to challenge the whole idea of profits. Alex didn’t consider himself a businessman, really, but as a farmer, he understood profit and loss. Any year when he made less than it cost him to bring his harvest to market was not a good year. He figured other businesses had the same consideration. When he had surplus, he used it to replace worn out equipment or repair the roof. Fact was, he relied on subsidies that paid him not to plant that lower 40 to keep his bottom line black instead of red. He sometimes questioned the wisdom of restricting production, but the subsidies could be relied upon and the crops might fail.

                You really are wandering far afield, my friend. What about Shane? What about Mark and his family?

                Alex turned the station to a national Christian outfit and let the music take him to a more restful and worshipful place while his hands went about the business of a farmer.

Copywrite – Laurel Sliney dba Lela Markam 2014

A Well in Emmaus   Leave a comment

Check out my page “A Well in Emmaus” where the first three chapters are posted. I explore through fiction the themes I blog about — survival, anarchism, societal breakdown, and faith.

What happens to us when the world as we know it spins out of control?

Emmaus is a typical small town in the center of the very blessed nation of the United States filled with ordinary people who live simple lives in the relative liberty of a prosperous nation. To Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, it’s a safe place to heal his scars and quiet his demons before escaping once more to the real world beyond the corn fields and smiling people who would reject who he has become.

When life as they know it ends abruptly, Emmaus finds itself in a desperate struggle to survive, challenging the town folks to question who they once were and who they must be. With dwindling resources and encroaching winter, questions of value and community, right and wrong, and practicality versus principle all take on new perspectives. The assumptions formed in prosperity and freedom may not hold true in starvation and danger.

We learn who we truly are in times of crisis.

A Well in Emmaus   Leave a comment

Check out my page “A Well in Emmaus” where the first two chapters are posted. I explore through fiction the themes I blog about — survival, anarchism, societal breakdown, and faith.

What happens to us when the world as we know it spins out of control?

Emmaus is a typical small town in the center of the very blessed nation of the United States filled with ordinary people who live simple lives in the relative liberty of a prosperous nation. To Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, it’s a safe place to heal his scars and quiet his demons before escaping once more to the real world beyond the corn fields and smiling people who would reject who he has become.

When life as they know it ends abruptly, Emmaus finds itself in a desperate struggle to survive, challenging the town folks to question who they once were and who they must be. With dwindling resources and encroaching winter, questions of value and community, right and wrong, and practicality versus principle all take on new perspectives. The assumptions formed in prosperity and freedom may not hold true in starvation and danger.

We learn who we truly are in times of crisis.

A Well in Emmaus   Leave a comment

Check out my page “A Well in Emmaus” where the first two chapters are posted. I explore through fiction the themes I blog about — survival, anarchism, societal breakdown, and faith. And keep an eye out for Chapter 3, soon to be posted.

https://aurorawatcherak.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2006&action=edit

What happens to us when the world as we know it spins out of control?

Emmaus is a typical small town in the center of the very blessed nation of the United States filled with ordinary people who live simple lives in the relative liberty of a prosperous nation. To Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, it’s a safe place to heal his scars and quiet his demons before escaping once more to the real world beyond the corn fields and smiling people who would reject who he has become.

When life as they know it ends abruptly, Emmaus finds itself in a desperate struggle to survive, challenging the town folks to question who they once were and who they must be. With dwindling resources and encroaching winter, questions of value and community, right and wrong, and practicality versus principle all take on new perspectives. The assumptions formed in prosperity and freedom may not hold true in starvation and danger.

We learn who we truly are in times of crisis.

A Well in Emmaus   Leave a comment

Check out my page “A Well in Emmaus” where the first two chapters are posted. I explore through fiction the themes I blog about — survival, anarchism, societal breakdown, and faith. And keep an eye out for Chapter 3, soon to be posted.

https://aurorawatcherak.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2006&action=edit

What happens to us when the world as we know it spins out of control?

Emmaus is a typical small town in the center of the very blessed nation of the United States filled with ordinary people who live simple lives in the relative liberty of a prosperous nation. To Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, it’s a safe place to heal his scars and quiet his demons before escaping once more to the real world beyond the corn fields and smiling people who would reject who he has become.

When life as they know it ends abruptly, Emmaus finds itself in a desperate struggle to survive, challenging the town folks to question who they once were and who they must be. With dwindling resources and encroaching winter, questions of value and community, right and wrong, and practicality versus principle all take on new perspectives. The assumptions formed in prosperity and freedom may not hold true in starvation and danger.

We learn who we truly are in times of crisis.

“A Well in Emmaus”   Leave a comment

Check out my page “A Well in Emmaus” where the first two chapters are posted. I explore through fiction the themes I blog about — survival, anarchism, societal breakdown, and faith.

What happens to us when the world as we know it spins out of control?

Emmaus is a typical small town in the center of the very blessed nation of the United States filled with ordinary people who live simple lives in the relative liberty of a prosperous nation. To Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, it’s a safe place to heal his scars and quiet his demons before escaping once more to the real world beyond the corn fields and smiling people who would reject who he has become.

When life as they know it ends abruptly, Emmaus finds itself in a desperate struggle to survive, challenging the town folks to question who they once were and who they must be. With dwindling resources and encroaching winter, questions of value and community, right and wrong, and practicality versus principle all take on new perspectives. The assumptions formed in prosperity and freedom may not hold true in starvation and danger.

We learn who we truly are in times of crisis.

Posted December 29, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Writing

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