Monday, July 2, 2007

Twenty Six

Amalia and Libby went into the kitchen, where Libby poured them each a cup of tea from a kettle steeping on the wood-burning stove.

"Is what I saw in that room all that you're dosing him with?" Amalia asked, taking a seat at the kitchen table.

"Do you think it's okay?"

"It's not bad, but who's your doctor or herbalist?"

"We've had no one since we left the warehouse outside San Eusebio, which was the first place we went after our safe house was raided."

"From the color of his skin, I'd say he has a lingering liver infection. He’s putting up a good fight, or he’d be dead by now," Amalia said. "But he needs antibiotics if he’s going to make it through the winter."

"We were giving him antibiotics for awhile, but we ran out. We radioed for more, but the train was diverted. Then his safety became too important to keep lingering in the rail towns."

"We need to find some more right away, no matter how we do it. And some milk thistle to help clean out his liver."

"I'll ask around town. Cristela might be able to find us some milk thistle, but the only reliable source for antibiotics is a mafia group to the south of here, directly in the path of where Lone Star and Hispanos Unidos are squaring off against México Lindo."

"If we’re going to save Robert’s life, we need to get them, no matter where we have to go. If Miguel can't spare any of his guards, I'll ask Harley to give you a guard from our unit," Amalia said. "I'm assuming safety is the main issue, right?"

Libby nodded. "The fighting has been bad in the valley. I'd gladly stay up here on the b'ian if it wasn't that Unitas needs me. We have to lay the groundwork for the spring offensive. This year is going to be critical."

"You know, people understand what you're going through. If you want to take a rest..."

"No. The Pueblo and Zuni tribes are critical to our alliance, and I’ve spent too many years building trust with them to throw it all away just because...well, being sad is no excuse. Pos quién sabe, whoever is made permanent leader for this region may have his own translator, and then I'll get my rest."

"Any leader would be a fool to send you back to a regular unit, but I still think you should take some time to get your head together." Amalia sipped her tea. "I lost my father under unfortunate circumstances, too. I can't tell you how many years I wasted thinking that if only I had done something differently, I could've saved him. But guilt is a useless emotion. It solves nothing."

Libby studied her teacup. "It was my job to keep an eye out for trouble."

"No one realized what México Lindo was going to do until they did it. Not one person out of that whole room of guards, some of them even regular army."

"I know, but..."

"But nothing. Live long enough and you're going to lose your loved ones, especially in our line of work. We all know the risks." She squeezed Libby's hand. "We'll honor Patton's memory by doing what we can for the living, starting with Robert. We'll find you a guard and you'll go get him the medicines he needs to get well, okay?"

"Yes, of course." Libby forced a smile. "And speaking of Robert, let's go see how he's doing. I'm sure Diana is doing her innocent best to break his heart."

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Alice Audrey said...

I have a sneaky suspicion Diane is going to end up right in the middle of all this.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Her friendship with Robert will lead to a lot of trouble, if that's what you mean.

Alice Audrey said...

Yep, that's kind of what I'm thinking.