dede, eleusinia and fifi landed on the northeast side of the cornfield, at a fork in the road. the north road led to pierre south dakota and northfield minnesota. the south led to lincoln nebraska and topeka kansas. both roads were deserted.
they wandered and danced around aimlessly at the edge of the field, waiting for something to happen.
a big truck finally came chugging up the south road, heading north. the bed of the truck was covered with a canvas over rounded slats that made it look like -
" a covered wagon! " dede shouted. "woo! woo! woo!"
fifi started dancing in a circle. "woo, woo,woo!" she flapped her hand over her mouth like an indian in a wild west show.
they were having fun. they were glad to be out of that old briefcase.
the truck saw them and stopped. an old man was hunched over the wheel. he looked about 300 years old. a big straw hat covered most of his weatherbeaten face. the stubble on his chin looked like the lichen on the walls of jericho.
he was polite though. "headed my way, ladies?" he peered out of the tall cab.
fifi jumped up on the running board. "you're old," she said. fifi didn't have very good manners.
"fifi!" eleusinia admonished her. eleusinia prided herself on her deportment. "you will have to excuse my friend, kind sir. she has had a bit of a shock lately."
this got a laugh from dede and fifi.
"manners, shmanners," the old man answered. "where you all headed?"
dede jumped up on the running board beside fifi. "where are any of headed? where will it all end?" she asked the old man.
"dede!" cried eleusinia. "don't go bothering folks with your nonsense!"
"i'm headed north, " said the old man, "i'd advise you to do the same. ain't nothing good coming from down south."
"sounds like 23," said dede. "let's roll."
eleusinia ran around and got into the cab beside the old man. dede stayed on the running board. fifi jumped on top of the canvas where she continued her wild west dance with a lot of woo woos!
they headed north.
"if you don't mind my asking, sir," asked eleusinia when they had gone a few miles. "what exactly were you - what are we - fleeing from down south?"
"the big bad wolf! oo!" dede exclaimed from the running board.
"not the big bad wolf. wolf! not the same thing at all." the old man wagged his finger at dede.
"two hands on the wheel, dad!" dede shouted as the truck veered slightly to the center of the road.
"everythin's under control." the old man muttered.
ella enderson was walking back to her little house after bringing water to pa and sonny boy in the fields. she looked up and saw the truck pass on the highway with fifi capering on top. she dropped her empty jug and ran back into the field.
"pa, pa! i just saw a devil!"
fritz enderson looked up saw ella rushing toward him. he leaned wearily on his hoe.
"how many devils this time, ma?" asked sonny boy when she reached them. he hadn't stopped his hoeing.
"just one for sure. but there might have been a couple more."
"jist one? was it a big one?" sonny boy asked.
"speak a little more respectfully to your mother," fritz told him. he whacked sonny boy on the side of his big round head with his hoe.
"aw gee, pa! you didn' have to do that."
"go back to the house, ma." fritz told her. "get your bible, you can find the right verse to exorcise the devils. you can do it. i know you can."
ella nodded and turned back to the house.
"i don't know why she gets to sit in the house and read the bible all day," sonny boy grumbled for the thousandth time. "she's plenty strong enough to be out here in the field with us."
fritz whacked him on the head again.
"it's just as well we are headed away from kansas," eleusinia observed. "i understand that this is tornado season."
"tornados!" the old man chuckled. "a tornado will blow a house away? you know what wolf is fixing to do?"
"no, dad, what is wolf fixing to do?" dede asked.
"destroy the world."