Just Maddy pt. 3

by Martha Hubbard

read the story from the beginning, here

As spring, such as it was, trundled on into summer, Maddy’s life settled into a predictable routine. The work was hard but no worse than at Aunt Mary’s. At least she didn’t have to corral a herd of screaming kids from dawn to dusk. Summers could be almost fun. She even got to swim in the river that ran beside their property. And the campers and hikers who used Sunset Lodge were generally polite and friendly – some even tipped her. Tips she got to keep if Bill didn’t see it.  

“Hey, Maddy,” said Tom, daddy to three screaming hellions, whom Maddy had tamed by showing them how to hunt for deer tracks and getting them to silently watch beavers building their damn. “Thank you so much for making our stay here so special and peaceful,” he said handing her a folded up dollar bill.

“You’re very welcome. Come back and see us next year,” she said. “Drive safe, get home safe.”

After waving them goodbye, she unfolded the paper to find a whole fiver.

“I’ll have that, Missy,” Bill sneered.

“Da! He gave that to me. I earned it.”

Slap! His hand was fast and hard. “Don’t you ever talk back to me, girl. Everything earned here belongs to me.” He waddled off humming.

“No wonder you can’t keep a woman here longer ‘n a month or two,” she said to his back.

That night as she was rubbing cream into her cheek which was still red, Granny Maggie appeared. “Let me have a look at that.” Something soft and gentle seemed to stroke her cheek, easing the pain – just a little. “So the bastard hit you. If I had the power, I’d kill that son-of-a bitch!”

“Gawd, Gran, I wish you could.”

“Sadly, that’s beyond my powers, little one. But…”

“Yea?”

“I think it’s time you started to develop an emergency fund.”

“And how am I supposed to do that?”

“Back to asking dumb questions, are we? Seriously. Think about it when is he most likely to not notice where things are going?”

“When he’s boozing it up with his buddies.”

“Exactly. And when one of them comes to pay you for a round, what do you do?

“Put the money into his cashbox. And if a tinsy- tiny bit goes into my pocket, he’s unlikely to notice.”

“Don’t get greedy. No more ‘n a dollar or two at a time. Remember what they say about acorns.”

Yea, and think about how long that takes.”

“Patience grasshopper. Neither Rome nor an escape route were built in a day.”

“I don’t want to go to Rome, I want to go to Boston.”

“You’ll get to both places, I promise. Now we need to think about where to hide your bank.”

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