Chapter Three (of The Valentine's Day Robbery)
. . . Sally May had been sweeping the porch with a broom. Slim made his way up the sidewalk and gave her a greeting. “Morning, Sally May. Is Loper around?”
“Morning, Slim. No, he went north to feed the cows.”
Slim gave his head a nod. “Okay, then I’ll feed the south end of the ranch. Thanks.” He turned and started toward the yard gate.
He stopped and turned around to her. “Yes ma’am?”
“You do know what today is, don’t you?”
Slim scowled. “Well, let’s see. It ain’t Christmas and it ain’t Halloween. Is it Thursday?”
“It’s Wednesday, and also Valentine’s Day.” Sally May waited for some kind of response. It didn’t come. Her brows folded into a scowl. “Valentine’s Day.” Still no response from Slim. Sally May parked her hands on her hips. “Slim, did you forget to buy a gift for Viola?”
Slim’s face seemed to be turning red. “Well...”
“I knew it!” Sally May left her broom on the porch and marched down the sidewalk. “Slim Chance, shame on you! I can’t believe...Slim, I think you’d better drive straight to town and buy something for that sweet lady.”
Slim was in misery. “Well...who’d feed the cows?”
Sally May’s eyes almost bulged out of her head. “The cows! No wonder you’re still a bachelor!” She took him by the coat sleeve and started pulling him toward the gate. “The cows can take care of themselves one day out of the year.”
“Yeah, but Loper’ll be mad if I don’t feed.”
“You leave Loper to me.”
“Sally May, I hate to shop.” They had come to the yard gate. “Shop? What’s to shop? You buy her a box of chocolates! How hard is that?”
Slim dug his hands into his pockets and gazed off in the distance. “What if she don’t like candy?”
“Slim, it’s the thought that counts. Little things mean a lot to a woman. Now, go and take care of your business.” She marched back toward the house, shaking her head and muttering under her breath. At the porch step, she turned around and said, “I can’t believe you didn’t know it was Valentine’s Day!”
...So Slim heads off to Twitchell, and Hank and Drover decide to come along...
When it became clear that Slim wasn’t going to kick us out of the pickup, Drover gave me a grin and said, “Oh, goodie, we’re going to town! Oh boy! How fun!”
I silenced him with an upraised paw. “Shhhh. Go easy. We won a major victory, but we mustn’t get careless or cocky. Slim needs a little time to, you know, adjust and absorb things.”
So we went into a little program called “Solemn Silence” and refrained from any wild celebrations or outward displays of joy. We sat quietly in the seat and kept our eyes glued to the road ahead, while Slim worked his way through his...whatever.
After a while he started talking. It wasn’t clear whether he was talking to us or to himself. “Who invented stupid Valentine’s Day anyway? They sure didn’t ask my opinion. If they had, I would have told ‘em it’s a bunch of baloney.”
At that point, he turned his gaze in our direction and…you won’t believe this, he sang a song. I’m not kidding! Right there in the pickup, he burst into a song about Valentine’s Day. We really didn’t care about Valentine’s Day and weren’t wild about his singing. But what’s a dog to do? We were trapped, and we had to listen. Here’s the song, in case you’re interested:
Link to "The Valentine's Day Robbery": Click here to buy the audiobook in Hank's Store