The sun was beating down on Ruggsville's only pharmacy. It was a hot July day and there was only one fan in the store. There was a man behind the counter reading the Rugsville Ledger, the local newspaper, and drinking a beer that had, at one point, been cold. The man behind the counter was 5' 7'' and had a large mustache which had long since turned grey, but was now stained yellow from beer. He was in his late 40s and overweight. The bell on the door rang and a tall man with long black hair entered the pharmacy.
"Hey Rufus." The man said, not looking up from the newspaper he was holding.
"Mamma's sick." Rufis growled. "She needs some medecine." The man looked up from his newspaper now. He was chewing tobacco and spit into a coffee cup next to him.
"What she need?" he asked.
"I don't know," Rufus shuffled through some medecine on a display rack, "just something to make her better."
"Well, Rufus, I need to know what she's sick from before I can give ya some medecine, don't I?"
"She's got a fever and the shakes."
"Well, I suggest this." The man reached behind the counter and grabbed a glass bottle filled with some kind of liquid. "Tell her to take two teaspoons of this ever four hours, and she'll be better soon." Rufus grabbed the bottle out of the man's hand and handed him a five dollar bill. The man put the bill in the cash drawer and handed Rufus his change. "You tell Mother I said to get better, I may come visit her here in the next couple of days." Rufus grunted, held his hand up in the air, and exited the pharmacy. The man went back to reading his paper.
The summer heat was the only thing keeping Baby inside. She sat, half naked, next to an electric fan in the living room of the Firefly house. She would have loved to have been outside, doing who-knows-what, but it was just too damn hot. She stared down at the pages of her favorite book, one her dad used to read to her when he still came around, that was back before Otis showed up. Before he had given them these stupid names, before they were scared to go into town. She couldn't complain, Otis had been good for the family, and like a brother to her. Helping her out when she was in need, and he really made life more livable there in Rugsville. The only thing she wished is that he and her daddy got along. She could hear Rufus pull into the drive.
He must have got Mamma's medecine, she thought. Her mamma had been sick for a few days now and it was starting to worry Baby. Otis wasn't home and of course her father hadn't come to check on her. So it was just her, Rufus, Grandpa Hugo and Tiny. Even Tiny wouldn't go outside in the heat. What's Otis doing out there? she asked herself. She may never know, Otis was so secretive about things. It was starting to piss her off. She was sick of being left out of some of Otis' better ideas. He had promised her a trip all over the US, but she had yet to pack her bags. She was beginning to think she never would.
Rufus walked into the living room holding a glass bottle. "Where's Mamma?" he asked, in his deep Texas growl.
"She's in bed, still." Baby sighed. What she would do for some excitement right about now. Rufus handed Baby the medecine.
"Here, Randy said this will make her better."
"How much should she take?" Baby asked.
"Uh," Rufus scratched his unshaven face. "He said two spoons every few hours, I think."
Baby sighed again and walked into the bedroom. Mother Firefly, the most unoriginal name Otis had come up with, was laying in bed staring up at the ceiling. "Has your father come yet?" She asked, with a crackle in her voice.
"No." Baby replied dryly, "not yet, but Rufus got you some medecine."
"Oh, my babies, always looking out for your old mother." Mother Firefly always acted like this. Once she was stung by a bee and told everyone she knew she was dying, which wasn't that many people, but still. Baby sat the bottle on the table next to her. "Will you call your father again? I want to tell him something."
"Yeah mamma, I will." Baby walked out of the room and she could hear her mother softly crying. She felt sorry for her, but knew once the sickness had passed she'd be fine. Baby walked into the kitchen and grabbed the phone. The dialed the number, she knew it by heart even though it was written on a piece of paper above the phone, and listened to the pings of the ringer. A man with a gruff Texas accent answered.
"What the fuck do you want?"
"Hey daddy, it's me."
"Oh Baby, I thought you were somebody else. It's great to hear from you. How are you doing?" He was a good father, even if he wasn't around much. He loved Baby with all of his heart, and would do anything for her. Once she got involved with a man who tried to kill her, and her father didn't think twice about sticking a railroad spike through that boy's head.
"I'm fine daddy, but mamma's still sick, and she's asking for you." Baby bit her lip. Her dad said nothing on the other line, she could just hear him breathing. He cleared his throat.
"Is the jackass there?"
"No daddy, Otis is gone." She knew exactly who he was talking about, even if he didn't say a name.
"Okay, I may come over after I close up."
"Thanks daddy! I love you!" Baby hung up the phone in a better mood than when she had picked it up. She bounced lightly into the living room, and placed the book on the coffee table, maybe her dad would read it to her when he came later. Just about that time, Otis walked in