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The Block – Chapter II Part 4 (END): Lexington, Aingland October 28, 2009

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Parents are the last people on earth that ought to have children.

–  Samuel Butler

The Block – Chapter II Part 4 (END):  Lexington, Aingland

Debt and Indenture in the Empire of Uppsala

© D. Erick Emert

children

In Lexington, a steathful hand lifted a V-Box receiver.

“Call, please?”

A low, undistinguishable voice answered almost in a whisper, “District Court Investigations, please.”

“One moment.”

“DC Switch. How can I help you?”

“Captain Dorsey Smyth, please.”

“Whom shall I say is calling?”

“Just tell him it’s 13176.”

“Thank you.  One moment, please.”

“Smyth.”

“13176, sir.  I’m in place.”

“When will you make your first visit to the Pub and Play?”

“Next week, sir.”

“Fine.  Keep me informed.”

“Yes, sir.”

***

Russell Jones reached the Farmer place at about ten in the morning.  He tied up his horse and retrieved his envelope from his saddlebags.  He crossed the wood porch and knocked on the kitchen door.  It opened to the round faces of the two Farmer children.

“’Lo Mr. Jones.  Ya kin come in.  Ma and Pa will be out inna moment.”

“Thank you Elizabeth.”

“Set down thar at the table.  I’ll gettcha a cuppa.”

“I shall, Tom.  Thank you very much.”

The large cup offered by the children contained the hottest coffee Russell had tasted in a week.  He enjoyed the aroma before taking a sip of the hot liquid.  Tom ran off to get his parents.

“Who made the coffee?”

“Ah did,” said Elizabeth.

“You’ll make someone a fine wife someday,” Russell told her.

She smiled.  “Thank yah.”

In a few minutes Edsil, Remy, and Tom came and sat down at the table.  They parents looked haggard, as if they’d just spent a sleepless night.  Elizabeth set cups in front of her parents and poured coffee for them.  She also placed the creamer in front of her mother.  That done, she got a glass of juice for Tom and herself then sat down at the table with the others.  Russell waited to speak until everyone was seated.

“You two look as if you had a fruitful night.”

“Aye, we ‘ave, Russell.  Almost got meself kilt, but we worked things out.”

Russell looked over at Remy and smiled.  “Glad to hear no blood was spilt.”

“It were a bit close at times,” Remy said.

“Did you talk things out completely?”

“We did,” Edsil replied.

“So who’s making the trip to Uppsala?”

Edsil looked at his wife.  “Tom and Elizabeth.”

Russell nodded and gazed at the two kids.  “Is that okay with you two?”

Both answered in chorus, “Yessir.”

“You must understand, kids.  If you’re assigned to go, you can’t run away.  If you do, they’ll put your parents in jail and they’ll have to give up the farm.  Do you understand that?”

“Yessir.”

Russell switched his gaze to Edsil.  “And Edsil, don’t get any ideas about running with the family.  The Empire will find you – there’s no place to hide from them.  They’ll put a price on you and your wife’s head.  When captured, you’ll both be incarcerated and the children will be taken from you forever.”

“We won’t be runnin’.”

“And if you don’t show up for your court hearing, the same thing will happen.”

“Ah unnerstand.”

“Okay.  I want to give you two guarantees from the Empire.  First, the children will not be sold into sexual indenture.  They’re too young.  You have to be sixteen to go that route.  It works off the time twice as fast, but I doubt you’d be happy with that.”

“No, we wouldn’t,” Remy stated.

“Second, the children will remain together during their indenture.”

Mrs. Farmer let out a deep sigh.  “We’re ‘appy ta ‘ear such.”  Tears welled up in her eyes.

“Now, you have the paper that tells you the month, day, time, and place of your court appearance, right?”

“Aye, Russell,” Mr. Farmer said.

“Good.”  He reached into his envelope and brought out more paperwork.  “This is a map that will get you from Lexington to the Court House in New London.”  He slid it to Edsil who picked it up and looked at it.

“And this is a list of things you’ll need for the children to carry on their trip to Uppsala.”

This he slid over to Remy.  While they looked at it, he filled out a necessary form for the court.  When completed, he slid it and along with his pen over to Edsil.

“Edsil, this form states you will be interning your children, Tom and Elizabeth, to the Empire for auction at The Block in Uppsala to cover your debt to Mr. Miklin.  You and your wife will need to sign it as indicated on the bottom.”

Edsil picked up the pen, looked over the paper and put his signature at the bottom above his name.  He passed the paper and pen to Remy.

“Must Ah sign this?  Ain’t Edsil’s name good enuff?”

“No, Remy, you have to sign as well.  It’s the law.”

Tears welled in her eyes again as she picked up the pen.  She hesitated, but finally signed her name to the document and slid the pen and paper back to Russell.

“Thank you all for being so cooperative.”  Russell tore the top page from the form and slipped it back into his envelope.  The second copy he gave to Mr. Farmer.  “Do you folks have any other questions?”

“What if’n sumpthin’ ‘appens twixt now and when what changes things?”

“My V-Box extension is on that first page I gave you.  Put through a buzz to me at the court house and let me know what happened.  Okay?”

“Thank yah, Russell.  Ah do ‘preciate yer ‘elp in all this matter.  Ah truly do.  Yer been civil.”

“The only thing I can suggest is look at this as an adventure.  Especially you, Tom and Elizabeth. And when it’s over, All of this will be purged from your records.”

With that, Russell stood up.  He shook Edsil’s hand and Remy’s as well.

“Time for me to head back to New London.  I’ll look forward to seeing you all at District Court then.”

“We’ll be thar,” said Edsil.

“Thanks again.”

Russell turned and exited the kitchen door.  He untied and mounted his horse and started back down the road to Lexington.  He had to check out from his hotel before starting back to New London.

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