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I awakened the next morning to find the others still in dreamland. Get even time. I looked at Sarah, sleeping on her side, facing the rest of us. No. That would be dirty to take unfair advantage of her when she is sleeping, but I was asleep, or the same as. Yeah. It's get even time. I found a thin limber stick, and began tickling her ear with it. She shooed me off a couple of times. I ran the stick down her back. That got her to turn over. I quietly moved to her head and began to tickle her forehead, eyes and nose. When she awakened and realized that I was the pesky fly, she spun like a top on her back and tried to kick me in the face. I grabbed her foot and started tickling. Her other foot connected, and I lost my grasp, but I was too quick for her that time. In a second she was on her stomach, and I was sitting on her, so she could not get up. "I told you pay backs are fun."
"Stop! Please stop! I'll pee my pants if you don't."
"I don't care. Your the one who has to wear them."
"Jamie, Debbie, Julie, somebody help me. He's making me pee my pants. I'll get the bed all wet."
I dragged her off the bed, so she would not get it wet. By then I had three others tickling me, trying to pull me away from her. In the process I lost my grip on Sarah, and she got away.
"Now, you're the one who's in trouble." She came at me from the back. "Hold him kids."
"Hey that ain't fair! Four on one is cheating! You better let me up! You'll all be sorry! I'll get you one at a time, when you're not expecting it! Get off everybody! This is between me and Sarah!" I laughed, giggled, kicked and screamed. I did everything I could to get away, but they hung on.
"Do you give up?"
Fortunately I had taken care of the morning necessities before I started pestering Sarah, but I was in tears, "No! No! No! How come you guys always take her side? She started it."
"I did not. You did."
"You'll be sorry next time. I'll get you when they're not around, an' I'll get them when you're not around. Hey, you kids, remember; I'm the daddy. You're s'posed to do what I say." More giggling, kicking and screaming.
"Not this time," Sarah squealed. I'm the momma, and I'm telling you to hang on to him.
"I'll spank you if you don't let go," I giggled. I was getting frantic.
"And I'll whip you if you do." Sarah found a new place to tickle.
"That ain't fair." Debbie sounded worried. "No matter what we do we get a whipping."
"They ain't gonna whip us, silly," Julie giggled. "They're just teasing."
"You wanna bet?" I squealed. "Wait and see. If I don't getcha. I'll tickle you until you cry."
"You won't either," Sarah laughed, "or we'll gang up on you again. Won't we kids?"
"Yes!" Came the chorus.
I began to relax. I had been held down and tickled until it did not tickle any more. "Go ahead. Tickle me. It doesn't tickle any more."
"Do you give up?" Sarah asked.
"No! No! A thousand times, No! You can tickle me all day if you want to. It doesn't bother me."
They tried for a few more seconds, but when they saw they could not get another rise out of me, they soon stopped. "I'll get everyone of you for that; just wait and see. I'll get you alone someday. Then look out!"
"That ain't fair." Jamie tried to wipe some of the dirt off. "You're bigger'n us."
"And I suppose what you just did was fair."
"It's the only way we can get you," Julie claimed.
"And it looks like the only way I can get even is to get you alone. I'm gonna tickle you 'til you don't tickle any more; just like you did me."
"Huh uh! I ain't never gonna be alone with you again!" Julie tried to cover her sides with her hands.
"Me neither!" The others agreed.
"Bath time," Sarah changed the subject.
"Let me fill my canteen first." I ran to the little pool. "I don't want to drink your dirty pee-bath water."
"We'd all better fill all the canteens first." Sarah grabbed hers.
After a breakfast of about half enough jerky because Sarah said we had to save the rest for lunch, we headed west again following Sheba. I wanted to go down the hill to walk along the beach, but Sheba would not think of it. I assumed she had a reason, so we followed her. We could not have traveled more than a half hour before we came out from under the canopy into an area of light underbrush. Suddenly, we were shocked by a rabbit darting away almost from under our feet. Sheba barked, just once, and Bruno and Cuddles had the meat before it was out of our sight. They stopped and looked at their mother, who growled softly. Bruno brought the kill to me. All the pups then started seeking their own food, and disappeared. As we continued, we realized that things started to look mildly familiar. We had almost passed it, before Julie ran to pick some ripe oranges. "Hey! This is the orange grove."
Next time we come home, we'll get some lemons, too," Sarah picked some oranges. "Some cold lemonade would sure taste good right now."
"It's still early," My mouth watered at the thought of cold lemonade. "Maybe Jamie and I can go boil some sugarcane."
"Oh! No! We Don't! I ain't goin' nowhere with you!"
"I think we can wait until next week; then we can all go." Sarah remembered my threat. "There's safety in numbers."
"That's why I think Jamie and I can do it alone." I had not thought of revenge, but it was a good idea.
"Not hardly! I'm the momma, and I gotta protect my kids."
"It's all right. You'll forget, and I won't. I'll just wait."
"I ain't never, never gonna forget!" Jamie exclaimed.
"Me neither!" Debbie and Julie agreed.
We were a day earlier than we had planned getting back to the cave. I told them they could still have the full week away from their studies. In return they agreed to have school at the cove when we went to boil sugarcane and salt. In a way it was really stupid to go all the way to the cove to boil salt, when we could do it on our own beach. We could start a fire, fill the big pot with water, and let it boil; but somebody would have to run down, tend the fire and fill the pot three or four times a day. It was a thirty minute trip to the beach and back, and wood for the fire was easier to get at the cove. We would do it down there while we made syrup. With the dolphins, the cove was a fun place to be.
The goats were glad to see us. They began bleating as soon as they heard us come in. Even stinker nuzzled me but she still would not let me touch her behind her head. I could have grabbed her horn--one had been broken off--but goats do not like to have their horns grabbed. Sarah came to milk her, and I milked the others, and played with the kids for a while.
After, an early lunch, our first hot meal in over twenty-four hours, Sarah jumped off the cliff. "The last one in is an old wet hen," She was in the air, before the words were out of her mouth. We all followed. Jamie was the farthest from the edge, so he was the old wet hen, a first for him.
"Wow!" Sarah was choking and sputtering. "That's a long way down. I thought I would be old and gray before I hit the water. When I did, I was trying to get my breath and almost choked to death."
"Me too!" Debbie agreed.
I did not know which part she was agreeing to, but, I guess she did. Probably about the long way down. "Well? Was it fun? Are you gonna do it again?" I swam to the shallows, laughing.
"Yes, it was fun. Yes, I'm gonna do it again. No, I'm not gonna to try to take a breath when I enter the water." Sarah headed for the bank to do it again.
""Me too!" Debbie was closer to the bank. "Betcha I beatcha."
Sarah was fast, but Debbie had too much of a head start, and sailed into the air just a stride in front of her. They were in the air at the same time. Sarah's feet were about even with Debbie's head when Debbie's feet hit the water. The puppies joined us as usual. We had a big time, and swam the afternoon away.
That night, anticipating our needs, Sheba brought us a half grown goat. We spent the next two days making jerky. I reminded her that Sunday was a day off; that we were not supposed to work on the Lord's day, but she did not seem to understand. She knew that we needed jerky. That's all she cared about.
Watching the meat was not so much of a job anymore. The pups kept the birds away, and Sheba made sure the temptation was not too great for the pups. She came down off her perch on the ledge a couple of times to punish one of the pups for getting his nose too close to the drying meat. We could go into the cave for a half hour at a time and not a piece of meat would be touched. Mr. Wilcox had taught Sheba well, and she was teaching her pups well.
Copyright © 1995
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.
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