The Off Season

The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock Read Free Book Online

Book: The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
about isn't whatever. I got a couple guys coming by Saturday to take a look."
    Mom never stopped eating through this whole conversation, so I could tell it was just talk. Dad had guys coming by all the time, like that fellow from the farming museum who would have paid good cash for our old machinery if it hadn't been a rusting pile of junk, or that builder who wanted to buy a field from us just to plunk down five houses, though he offered darn near nothing and Dad in the end realized he didn't want to spend the rest of his life looking at five houses and listening to all those families gripe about farming smells.
    So I didn't give it another thought, though when Brian came by Saturday morning, the day after we'd trounced Saint Jean, I told him about Dad wanting to raise turkeys. Brian went off about turkeys and cows sharing a pasture, how the birds would have to duck when they walked under the cows' bellies.
    "But they're not ducks, they're turkeys," I said, and we both cracked up because sometimes really silly jokes do that.
    We had the place to ourselves. Mom was at some elementary school thing, Dad had a big trip to the feed store (looking into turkey feed, I bet), and Curtis was still sacked out in bed. Brian and I goofed around in the kitchen for a while, making ourselves more breakfast and talking about our games and just really enjoying waiting for the toast to pop up. Dad had asked me to clean the toolshed, so we straightened it a little bit and put away one can of nails and then I found our basketball, which meant we had to find the tire pump and blow it up, and then we had to shoot some hoops in the yard.
    It really wasn't fair because I am at least five times better than Brian. Even if he played winter ball I'd probably beat him because I am really good at basketball, and any concerns I might have about, you know, getting too much in his face had been pretty much eliminated by playing full-contact football and also by the fact that Brian's face was where I wanted most in the world to be.
    But we played anyway, me shooting with my left hand just to make it fair, and I have to admit that being guarded by a guy you really like who keeps bumping into you on purpose is a lot more fun than being guarded by some stuck-up girl who's trying to get you to foul.
    Anyway, I was driving in for a lay-up, Brian all over me, when the turkey guys pulled in, and I finished my lay-up just to show off a little before I went over to say hello. They introduced themselves but I immediately forgot their names, although the guy with the camera said they'd come from Chicago, which is a huge drive and made me pretty impressed.
    "So, you want to look around?" I asked, wishing Dad were there.
    The non-camera guy shrugged and said sure, and the camera guy took lots of pictures including lots of me but I didn't know how to ask him to stop. I just walked them around the yard and barn, telling them what everything was because I didn't know how much turkey guys know about dairy farming.
    "And what's your story?" the non-camera guy asked Brian, who was tagging along.
    "He's just a friend," I grinned. "He's QB for this nothing school."
    "Really?" the guy asked. He seemed a lot more interested in this than in turkey farming, kind of like that guy in Minneapolis when we picked up the tailgate.
    So we ended up talking about the Red Bend–Hawley scrimmage and how I'd trained Brian all summer and how we'd painted the inside of the barn—where we happened to be at that moment, so it came out kind of naturally—and the two guys really seemed to enjoy themselves because, let's face it, it's a pretty good story.
    Then Brian had to go, and before he left I gave him a little kiss goodbye, which was the first time we'd ever done something like that in front of anyone, but it's not like turkey farmers are going to mind. Then, remembering my manners finally, I offered the guys some coffee, which really surprised Curtis, who was in the kitchen in his

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