The Bootlegger's Daughter

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An Evening Stroll

Because of the time of the year the sun had already set. Meaning that basically as soon as I had changed I could leave the house and go to the McKays’. While I didn’t like the end of autumn due to the weather, the early sun set was nice for vendettas.

I took off my dress, which is a bit of a shame because the one I was wearing was a cute purple one. I put on my tweed suit and I regrettably admit that I did still think that I looked alright. Is that bad or immoral to say that I looked good in men’s clothes? Oh who am I kidding? I have never cared about morals.

I wiped off the little bit of makeup that I had on and I brushed the waves out of my hair. Over the weeks I learned how to pull my hair up completely in a hat that I may or may not have stolen from Robert. He didn’t need another one… allegedly. Due to the decreasing temperatures I had to use one of John’s old coats. It looked a little miss matched because it was obviously old and a bit beat up compared to my nice new suit.

Once I was all ready to leave I did so without ceremony. I just walked right out the door as if I was going to school (sadly) or the speakeasy. It was a normal thing that was now a part of my routine.

The night was a lot chiller than it was earlier. I was grateful for John’s coat, but I could have gone for some gloves. Frankly I wouldn’t have been surprised if clouds opened up and dumped snow on me. There has been less unusual weather for Ohio than that.

About a forth of the way through my walk I checked my pockets as a force of habit. I had about ¢30 worth of pocket change, a lighter, a handkerchief, and a pack of cigarettes that only had like three left. But the problem was that I was missing something. I didn’t have my little knife that I had put my name on. I had lost it when Robert grabbed me off of David. And that scared me. I was going into enemy territory without means to protect myself unless I planned on burning people.

There was no way of knowing if I could get the knife that I had owned for years back. And I always liked to believe that I could hold my own in a fight if I needed to, but without the little bit of protection I was worried. And I know what you’re thinking: “Oh Lucy, you went a long time without your knife, why are you all upset about it now?”

Well first off, it felt different when David had it. Yes it was scary that I was unarmed, but I would just imagine that he was keeping hold of it to keep me safe in case I got caught by the McKays. Yeah my imagination was a lie, but it helped me sleep at night. Secondly, having my knife back in my hands felt so good. Like I had just gotten back with an old friend and nothing could separate us again. Except Robert. I felt empty handed even though I had a good amount of stuff on me. Nevertheless, I continued on my walk.

About half way through my walk something else happened. To this day I don’t know if it was good or bad. Fortune really liked messing with me. I was half paying attention to where I was walking. Therefore I literally ran right into some man.

Normally if I did this I would apologize and move on with my life. I’m sure the man would accept it and there would be no further consequences. But right before I spoke I remembered that I was supposed to be a man. I never really cared much to disguise my voice to Ruthie, because she never took notice, but I was afraid that an actual man might realize that I was not whoever I said I was.

“I’m sorry, sir,” I said in a horrible deep voice. It was bad and I knew it. A part of me wanted to go and jump into the lake. I was so embarrassed. I know that is stupid. The man turned around and I thought about running to a pier and seriously drawing myself. Or maybe run into the street traffic. It was none other than Sam, who I might remind you, I had not seen since he kissed me on Halloween. Unsurprisingly he recognized me immediately.

“Lucy! How have you been?! Your father told me not to talk to you anymore,” Sam said. I could tell that he wanted to say more, but I interrupted him.

“Shut it, Sam. I’m not Lucy, remember. It’s James Wood,” I snapped.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I cannot believe I forgot.” I waved my hand telling him that it was fine.

“Listen, a lot has happened and I need to talk to you, before you hear it from anyone else. And Father is still mad at me for… you know. Plus some other stuff. Anyway, the point is that I need to get going, but you can follow me if you’re not busy.”

“Lead the way, Mr. Wood,” Sam said. So that was exactly what I did. We walked about a block or so before I started to talk.

I told Sam everything. Everything that had happened that day. I needed to share. I needed to get some thoughts off of my chest. And it made me feel a lot better. Interesting fact: sharing my thoughts to Sam was where I got the idea to write these words that you are now reading.

When I had finished Sam had very little to say. “Sounds like you had some bad luck.” He’s a man of few words, I guess.

“Don’t tell Carl about the black cat. He’ll lose his mind,” I joked. It felt kinda good to joke with Sam.

“Are you going to go through with Mary’s wedding?” I nodded. “Your aunt is going to be mad at you.”

“No, she will be mad at Mary. Plus, I want to support my cousin. She means the world to me.” And at that we walked in silence.

It never did start snowing, but the autumn wind would blow quick and cold against my face. Once when I was still little I came in from lunch. The wind was freezing and the schoolhouse was quite warm. It made my eyes water. Lillian saw that and accused me of crying. Told the whole class that I was a crybaby. The wind that night felt like that. It made my eyes sting and tears would form. But I didn’t cry. Lucy Sweet is not a crybaby.

When we got to the street that the McKays lived on I stopped and held out my arm so Sam ran into it. He gave me a confused look.

“You cannot go any further. You need to go home now. But do you happen to have a knife on you? Or any sort of weapon? Something about the air is rubbing me wrong and I’d hate for there to be a fight while I’m unarmed.” I don’t know why I said that. But something about the night did feel off. If another black cat showed up I might have just run off.

Sam reached into his coat and underneath his jacket. Then he pulled out a gun. It wasn’t huge and it wasn’t one of those super little ones I have seen. I believe that Lady owns one of those. Sam’s gun was just a regular size pistol. I’ve said before that I don’t like guns; they make me nervous. It’s mostly because of the noise, but I have always been scared that it might go off on accident and I could quite literally shoot myself in the foot.

“It’s the only thing I have,” Sam said. I reluctantly took the gun.

“It won’t fit in my pocket,” I said.

“Keep it in your pants.”

“Excuse me?” I’m not prude, but I did not expect Sam to say that.

“You can keep it in your pants because no one will look for it there. My holster won’t fit you; it’s the best way.” Definitely not where I wanted to keep a loaded gun, but I nodded and told Sam I would do that. “Good luck,” he said and started to walk away.

“Wait!” I yelled in the quietest voice I could. “How do you want me to get this back to you?”

“Keep it. In case David decides that he wants to mess with you again. Just don’t use it against your father. Also I bought another one recently, so it’ll be alright.” I hoped that he was right. Sam turned and left for real that time and disappeared into the night.

I sighed and put the gun in my pants. I also made a small prayer that it would not fire while in my clothing. And also that I wouldn’t even need to use it. Then I walked over to the house where my “girl” was waiting for me.

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