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.His cell phone rang, one of those extremely annoying songs that cell phone owners are so in love with because for some reason they can't tolerate a plain old-fashioned ring.Finally whoever it was hung up and went back to painting her nails or something.Brian kept sitting down.He'd lug a bale up the stack and then sit down on it, shaking out his arms each time like there was nothing in them.I've never seen anyone move as slow as Brian, not even Grandpa Warren with his arthritis.It was like he was in a contest to see who could do the least work, only he was the only contestant.Plus he was really angry now, which was good because it kept my mind off how thirsty I was.He muttered something under his breath."What?" I asked."You'd probably jump off the roof if they told you to.""What are you talking about?""Don't you see how you live? You do all the work they expect you to do and you don't even mind.It's like you're a cow.And one day in about fifty years they're going to put you on a truck and take you away to die and you're not even going to mind that either." Brian shook his head like he was truly sorry."Oh yeah?" Which was a dumb response, I know.He was acting like he'd said something all deep and powerful, but if you haven't noticed, I'm not a cow like Joe Namath.I'm a girl."Forget it." He stood up."I'm out of here.""Why don't you get out your little cell phone and tell Jimmy Ott you're 'out of here'?"Brian glared at me."Screw you.""Screw yourself.You stay here and work.""This isn't work, what you do.It's stupid.It's stupid and pathetic and you can't even see it." He walked past me and right out the barn.Through the grimy old windows in the loft I watched him stomp over to his Cherokee and really gingerly start the engine and drive off with just his fingertips on the steering wheel because his hands hurt so much.And you know, I felt bad.I really did.Because now I was stuck finishing up the haying all by myself.Which I did, leaving the loaded wagon in the loft and taking our other even crappier hay wagon, and I had to keep jumping in and out of the tractor so I could load, and then leave that wagon in the hay loft too so I could go milk.The good thing was that at dinner that night I got to tell Dad and Mom and Curtis all about Brian quitting, though I downplayed what a jerk Brian was because Mom always gets on our case for trash-talking other people.Dad still got really mad, though, and you could tell even Mom was upset about how Brian had walked out in the middle of a job like that.The two of them had one of those conversations with just their eyeballs, trying not to talk in front of us, and Dad called Jimmy Ott right after dinner, shutting the door behind him so we couldn't hear what he was saying.At least Mom made a big deal about me bringing in the rest of the hay by myself, saying over and over how great that was.That was okay, actually, getting all that praise and recognition finally, just because Brian bailed.4.AmberAmber usually works Thursday nights, but this night she was off and I was completely psyched.Amber Schneider has been my best friend since forever, since I was in fifth grade and she was in sixth.Amber is really, really funny and really tough.I can look tough if people don't know me, but Amber just is.She's about the worst scorer on the basketball team and I don't think she could make a free throw to save her life, but she always started because her job was to guard the other team's top scorer, and she had this way of just really freaking out whoever that girl was, of messing with her, even though she almost never got called for foul.I couldn't really say what she did but she would stare at them, and say things under her breath when the ref wasn't looking.Once a coach told her she had to work on anger management, but it seemed to me she was managing her anger just fine.Plus Amber is big like me, which is nice.She told me once that I was built like a draft horse, which was a big compliment coming from her.Another time on a sleepover she did an imitation of me being carried across the threshold on my honeymoon, carrying me and everything, and I laughed so hard that pop came out my nose.That's why it's so much fun being her best friend, because I can be all goofy with her in a way I can't with anyone else.She always wants to do my hair.She does stuff to her hair all the time, like during basketball season she dyed it fire-truck red to match our uniforms.It was—well, it was really red.She wanted to dye mine too but I wouldn't let her.This summer her hair was orange like a traffic cone.That's what it said on the bottle, even: "Traffic Cone Orange." Sort of to warn you how orange it'll be [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]