The Bootlegger's Daughter

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The Joys of School

After the trip to the speakeasy my family and I walked to school. I can drive a car but Father doesn’t want me driving to school, which is a shame. Driving can be quite fun. The walk to school is quite uneventful. John and David talk on the way over. Robert and I walk in silence. At this time him and I were fairly similar. We both would do anything for our family and wanted nothing more in life than to do what the adults do for the business. This would change later.

The funny thing about Robert is though that while he is younger than me, he looks like he’s older. Robert was fourteen but could pass for twenty. He even had to make sure to shave regularly while David and John didn’t. Robert always dresses somewhat formally, with the high stiff collars and always wearing a jacket. Meanwhile my own brother only ever wears a vest and a bowtie, never any jackets unless he is made to.

I figured I best tell you about school. Our school is quite big as we live in a city so there are two schools. One of them is for the older children and one of them is for the younger children. All of us go to the older school. Everyone there is somewhat scared of us. They all know who we are and what we do, so they try to keep their distance. That’s probably the biggest reason I have no friends. There is one girl, Ada who pretends to be my friend. She is nice and new in town. Luckily I got to her before everyone else could put bad images of me in her mind.

In the older school there are two classrooms. Robert and I go in one and David and John go in the other. In my room I sit in the second to last row on the girls’ side. I only sit here for two reasons. One, I am short and can see better when there isn’t an extra row of heads to look over. And two, because I actually do like to learn some things. Robert being so tall and who hates school sits in the back row on the boys’ side. As I somewhat alluded, Ada is my desk partner. Before she moved here last year from some country that I don’t remember, I sat by myself. At first my teacher tried to get me to sit with some other girls but most of them refused and few who didn’t sat as far away as possible. It didn’t and still doesn’t bother me, I don’t like most people. But my teacher gave up making me sit with others after Father came in and paid her extra to just drop the problem and leave me be. But then I met Ada and she needed a seat so on her first day my teacher asked me if she could sit next to me for one day because there were no more desks. I said yes and we became something. You can call our relationship whatever you want, I just don’t see us as friends but maybe to an outside eye we are.

Nothing exciting happened that day in school. Ada and I passed notes back and forth to each other. After a month or so of Ada being here we got caught passing notes but I said that I was just helping her with her English and my teacher never got me in trouble. Perhaps she was scared Father would stop by again. I hope you do not get the wrong impression of me and think I am a terrible student. I do like to learn and I don’t try to throw around my power, I was also quite dumb then and did that stuff more than I do now. Anyway besides our notes and Robert and his friends heckling our teacher, nothing happened. Well that is nothing happened until lunch.

Ada and I were eating on the steps of the school right outside the school yard. In the yard the boys in both classes play while girls sat in little groups talking. Robert and his friends went around teasing the girls and picking fights with the boys. I always try to ignore Robert when he does this because it’s just not worth an argument over. Also at this time, I wanted a tougher demeanor, so intervening on my cousin’s fights would diminish that. And as dumb as Robert is, he would never tease or hurt Ada when she was next to me. That is if he still wanted to not be hurt. But not stopping Robert’s teasing also hurt me as the most annoying girl in my class came up to me mad that Robert poured her milk on her hair. Her name is Lillian and Ada and I both hate her. She’s one of those girls that will make everything a bigger deal than it is then blame others for it.

“Are you going to do something about your brother, Lucy? Or am I going to have to?” Lillian said to me in her most whiny voice when she came over. Frankly seeing her with milk dripping off of her curls was and still is pretty funny. So as any reasonable person would do, I laughed at her. All Lillian did was just make an annoying sigh.

“What. What do you want me to do? I can’t control Robert. But I would pay to see the two of you fight.” I said snarkily. Then I turned to Ada and talked to her. “What do you think Ada, would you watch Lillian and Robert fight?”

“Yes I would.” Ada said in her heavily accented voice. I really wish I could remember where in Europe she is from. But as I was ignoring Lillian, she just got madder.

“You pay attention to me Lucy or I am going to tell Miss Hayes!” Lillian yelled. I just laughed again. Ada was silent beside me. She was used to this happening and preferred to stay somewhat out of the argument.

“Go ahead. And by the way, I am not Robert’s sister. One would think you could tell as we don’t even have the same surname. But then again one can never tell how much Dumb Dora knows.” I said to Lillian. Apparently that last part pushed her over the edge. So Lillian punched me right in the face. Truthfully I am surprised she even had the guts to do so. It wasn’t a terribly strong punch but I could tell that it would give me a black eye. During the punch I heard Ada scream a little but I never looked at her or even reassured her that I was alright. All I did was stand up and punched Lillian. It was a much harder hit than she gave me and her nose started bleeding right away. But to me it was worth it in the end to see her running off with milk in her hair and blood running down her face. It’s the small things in life that make you happy.

“Are you alright Lucy?” Ada asked me when I sat back down on the stairs. I layed down on them with my head resting on the landing. I sighed then answered Ada.

“Yeah I am fine. I’m just waiting for Miss Hayes to come over here yelling for me.” I said. I knew it would happen. Lillian is a very predictable person.

“Well just tell her that you didn’t strike first.” Ada said.

“I was planning on it. Truthfully I am not worried, my father doesn’t care what I do.” I said. There was a pause and my eye was starting to hurt. “Do you have any milk left? I drank mine and I could use something cold.” I asked. Ada handed my her milk and I put it on my eye. I didn’t have long to enjoy it though as Miss Hayes, my teacher came over.

“Lucy Sweet get up and come with me.” Miss Hayes said in an angry voice. I stood up and gathered my lunch. I gave the milk back to Ada.

“Thank you.” I said to Ada as I handed the milk back. I started to follow Miss Hayes who had already turned and not seen my already bruising eye. From behind me I heard a faint ‘good luck’ from Ada which made me think of Carl and his ‘luck comes in threes’. Which might I point out, is the second unlucky thing that has happened to me on this day.

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