tagNovels and NovellasSpreading Seeds Ch. 20

Spreading Seeds Ch. 20

byJackLuis©

Chapter 20 - Revolution

I went to the corral and found Barb waiting. I led her out and brushed her a little to make her pretty then saddled her and rode off to the barley fields.

I was satiated. Not only had I eaten well but I had been present to see a historic occasion. The sun was warm and scenery seemed sweeter and the smell of the river made me think of the oats I had planted.

I walked Barb slowly savoring my freedom and remembered Lenore's book in my pocket. I pulled it out. The binding had been replaced and the cover was blank so I opened it and looked at the title. "Lady Chatterley's Lover," by D.H. Lawrence it read. I had never read it. I closed it up and put it away for later. I gathered Barb up and went to an easy canter.

Barb was getting into the canter and wanted to run. I held her back and laughed at her, "Barb, you're too eager for you own good." But I let her out for a minute but stopped her when we got to the rise above the Barley fields. I pulled her to a halt. She didn't like it and sashayed around snorting and prancing.

From the top of the rise I could see that there were 10-15 women around a strange looking device out in the field. I made Barb walk down the hill and watched the women try to get a horse into the machine that looked like a cross between a nursing stall and a windmill. The horse was having none of it and backed away from the machine every time they led her up to it.

Barb settled down and watched the machine with interest but dubious interest. I put her in the shade where the other horses were tethered, loosened her cinch and hooked a tie rope on to her halter and removed her bridle. I tied her loosely so she could graze and walked down to the machine.

April saw me approach and walked out to meet me. "What do you think?" she asked.

"Never seen anything like it," I said. I shook her hand and she smiled.

"There has never been anything like it," she said with obvious pride.

I walked around the machine while the women tried to load the mare again and she started to throw a conniption fit and the women all backed away from her as she snorted and backed away her head high and her eyes rolling.

I walked over to her head and took her by the halter and turned her away from the machine. The girl who had been holding her head looked at me funny but let her go, I walked her around talking to her and she calmed down a little but snorted every time she saw the machine. She was starting to sweat and acted scared and frustrated. When she calmed down a little more I handed her back to the girl. "Sorry to just take her from you but I thought she was going to get crazy."

"Molly is pretty docile, that's why I picked for this. I don't know why she was so spooked, Josh." She said and smiled at me.

"Have we met?" I asked. I had seen her before but couldn't remember her name. She was attractive and filled out her uniform very well. I was sure I would have remembered her name.

"No, I'm Lauren De Soto, Astral's older sister. She told me all about you." She smiled, put out her hand and blushed, "And well, you are well known around the village."

I shook her hand and said, "I didn't think we had met. I'm sure I'd remember you."

She held my hand for just a second and then turned to stroke Molly's nose and then looked at me shyly, "Perhaps we'll meet in the bath house. My turn is coming up next week."

I smiled at her, "I also wash hair and give massages most nights, you don't have to wait for that."

She smiled at me and said, "I'll take Molly down and get her a drink and walk her around a little.' She looked back over her shoulder and said, "Maybe I'll come see you about a massage?"

I watched her as she walked away and felt a hand on my shoulder. When I turned I saw Maria Bitterwater standing there smiling at me

"So you made it out to see our combine?" she said and started to kiss me but stopped, looked around and put out her hand.

"Our combine? I thought April designed it," and I kissed her hand.

"Oh she did but it was built by Bitterwater Engineering, and I did all the drawings for it."

"Well let me take a look." I walked with Maria around the machine again. April joined us and we discussed the cutting bar and Maria told me how she had forged it. April describe the drive mechanism, flywheel and the treads that spread the machines weight on the ground so as not to crush the subsoil water pipes in the fields.

I got to the stall where Molly had refused and looked in. Inside were treads and a large wheel in front with a smaller roller in the rear. I stepped on to the treads and they gave beneath my foot until I had my whole weight on to the tread chain. "Here is your problem, no horse is going to step on something that gives under them, unless they have been specially trained and even then they aren't going to feel comfortable."

Maria just looked at April with "I told you so" all over her face.

April looked at Maria and then me, "I thought it would be alright. Once the horse gets loaded the tread chain is pretty solid and ..."

I smiled at her and shook my head, "Equine psychology doesn't allow for that. You saw Molly; she started to step in and then backed away when she felt the treads give under her."

Maria said, "I can fit the tread support rollers and fix that."

April looked at her and said, "It's going to be too much friction, I told you the roller bearings are going to gum up and then we'll lose efficiency."

Maria laughed, "You explain why the combine doesn't work to the Board of Trustees then."

April frowned and said, "Ok but it's going to be a problem."

"How much noise does it make?" I asked.

April and Maria looked at each other and then me, "Why?" April asked.

"Well, "I said, "If you can get the horse into the machine and it starts making a lot of noise it's going to scare the horse and she'll kick your machine into little pieces to try to get way from the racket."

Maria looked at April, "We need the Buddha, it weighs less than the horse and we can get 10, maybe 12 kilowatts out of it."

"The Administration will never let you build it. You know what they said, no engines until the reserve is released." April looked dejectedly at her machine and put her hand on it.

Maria put her hand on April's shoulder, "You've got to convince them to allow it, and otherwise the Trust is going to want their money back."

April looked at Maria, "We don't have the money, and it's all in the machine and the house."

"I know but that's just going to piss them off." Maria said.

"What's a Buddha?" I asked.

April looked at me then at Maria and shook her head.

Maria backed away and called out to the women standing around the Machine, "Gloria, Monica, Gene, Come over here and we'll show Josh how much noise it makes when it's running."

Maria began to unbutton her shirt and said, "We can get it running and check the cutting action and maybe get it to travel a little but it takes a lot more power than we can generate to keep moving."

The other women looked at Maria and then at me. Maria took off her shirt, she was wearing a heavy bra and she laughed at the others, "He's seen tits before."

Monica said, "But I'm not wearing a bra."

"Then you'll just get your shirt all sweaty, your choice." Maria said as she stepped into the stall.

Gloria and Gene took off their shirts and followed Maria into the stall.

Monica got in and April got up on the machine.

"Ok Maria said, "Start the flywheel." April wrapped a rope around the axial of the flywheel and pulled hard. The flywheel started to turn and Maria and her crew started walking and the flywheel started to turn faster. They kept it up until they were walking very fast and April moved a lever and the cutting bar started to ratchet back and forth. April leaned on another lever and the wheel that brought the grain to the cutter began to turn and the beaters were beating and Maria shouted out, "Ok, now hit it."

April threw another lever and the machine started to move. Maria and her team walked faster and began to jog. The combine made a slow movement forward and began to cut the barley. Once cut the barley moved into the beaters, where the threshing took place, the machine slowed and stopped. The flywheel had slowed way down and eventually stopped.

The women in the machine were bent over breathing hard and caught their breath. April was clapping her hands and laughing. "It works, it really works."

The women standing around began to clap and were generally smiling.

Maria looked over the stall edge at me, "Too much noise?"

I looked over at Barb who was fifty meters away from the machine and she was looking at the machine suspiciously. Lauren was leading Molly back from her drink and had her hands full trying to hold Molly, whose eyes were rolling as she backed away. I smiled at Maria and nodded, "Yeah, look how Molly reacted and she isn't even in the machine yet."

"Can we try it again I want to see if the chaff separator works right?" April asked. Maria nodded and the women started the machine up again. Molly was looking at the machine and backing up.

I walked over to Lauren and Molly and said, over the noise of the combine, "Take Molly up in the shade Lauren."

Lauren waved and took Molly up to where Barb was looking suspicious and had backed up to the length of her tie rope.

The women tried three more times before April was satisfied. The women got off the machine and were bent over catching their breaths. I grinned at Maria as she came out of the stall. She was smiling and breathing hard.

April got off the machine grinning and shook hands with the women who all gather around to congratulate her and Maria.

I walked up to check on Barb and found Lauren petting her and stroking her nose. Barb nickered at me when I approached her.

"She is beautiful," Lauren said. "Gloria B. told me about her and I saw her in the corral but never up close before." Lauren rubbed her nose and smiled.

"Gloria curries her three or four times a week. She's going to wear the hair right off her if she's not careful." I said and stroked Barb's nose. My hand touched Lauren's and I smiled at her.

She grinned and looked over to April and Maria, "Think they're finished for the day?"

"Most likely, the ones in the stall are all worn out." I said.

"I'll go get Molly's harness on then and we can start towing it back to Maria's shop." Lauren went and gathered up Molly and came by me. "Josh, are you going to be massaging tonight?" she was smiling.

"I wasn't going to," I said, "But if you come by about two hours after dinner, I'll come over and fit you in."

She smiled and said, "How about a little later after the kids hour?"

"I'll be there for you, waiting." I said and tightened Barb's cinch.

Lauren waved and went on her way. I put Barb's bridle on and tied the lead rope to my saddle. I watched from the shade as the women started to leave and thought about what April and Maria had said about the Buddha, they never told me what it was but it must be an engine of some sort.

Now we had engines in Davis but they never ran very well or long on vegetable oil lubricants. We, in Davis, had just about given up on them until we could get better oils.

I mounted Barb and rode down to where Maria and April were watching Lauren and another girl hook up the combine for its trip back to Maria's shop. April looked up as I rode up, "I'm going to check my oat fields while I'm out here." I said to her.

"Ok, as soon as the combine gets started I'll come down and see you." April said. Maria just looked at me and grinned.

"Sure, See you soon then," I nodded and tipped my hat and rode off.

I walked Barb down to one of the oat fields and saw that they had just been irrigated and the field was muddy so I didn't get down but I could see that they were growing well and seemed in good shape. I rode along the road that bordered the field. There were blinds built along the road of brush and dry grasses between the oats and an alfalfa field. The alfalfa was growing very well now but the field was uneven. Along near the oats it was high, but farther out the alfalfa was shorter and almost disappeared at the edge of the field.

I stepped down to look at one of the blinds. They were fairly low and an archer would have room to maneuver her bow in it. A small rough seat was on the oat field side so I figured that the archers had been setting here watching the deer in the alfalfa, waiting until the taller alfalfa lured the deer into range. There were drag marks coming from the alfalfa that appeared to be where the archers had dragged the deer to the road. I looked up to where the women were just making the assent to the rise over the fields. April was riding down on a bay to meet me so I walked along the road leading Barb.

April rode up smiling and stepped off her horse and led him up to me. "Hi" she said.

"Well are you satisfied?" I asked.

"No," she said, "Maria said she would build a training stall and get someone, probably Lauren De Soto to work with Molly while Maria modifies the tracks and rollers. But I don't know what we can do about the noise?"

"You'll figure it out. That's why they call it Research and Development. Nothing ever works completely right the first time." I said and put my arm around her shoulder as we walked on the road.

She grinned at me a little then put her arm around me, her hand on my hip. We walked a while, not talking but enjoying being out in the open and free.

"Oh, I had lunch in the Dining hall today." I said.

"Don't you every day?" she asked.

"Well today was different. Seven Black Brothers came for lunch. They called a meeting and took a vote and Amelia Desoto is taking it to the Council meeting this afternoon."

"What was the meeting about?" April asked, stopping me in the road.

"Well it was about the Fertilization Law and giving the men the Rights of Man. Some of them want to live in the village and they want to eliminate the Escorts."

"What let them run free?" April was terrified for a second. "You mean they want to live and work in the village not in the Barracks? Why?"

"Why? To live like this free, without minders and restrictions on whom you can do what with. They just want their Constitutional Rights"

"I have to talk to June," April said and mounted up. "Are you coming?" she asked as she whipped the bay into a gallop.

I mounted Barb and caught up with her. "Pull up a little!" I yelled. "That horse can't make a gallop all the way."

April looked at me and then pulled him up into a canter and I held Barb up to match April's speed. The bay was already breathing hard but was catching his breath and seemed to begin to enjoy the ride after a few minutes. Barb was in easy cruise and could hold this for a lot longer than the bay.

We passed the combine on the way and I waved to Lauren. She smiled and waved at me. We didn't talk on the way in but April was anxious and by the time we arrived at her house she was off the horse and in the house. The bay was spent and Barb was lathered a bit so I gathered up his reins and led him slowly down to the corral to let him and Barb cool off.

I let them have a small drink then pulled the bay away from the trough and tied and unsaddled them both. I took the bay's saddle in and hung it on an open strap and tossed his blanket on the saddle wet side up. I looked around and found a horse rug and took it out and put on him.

I took my saddle in and walked down the rows of saddle racks until I saw the one Gloria had told me I could use. Most of the racks had family names or numbers carved into them. Mine had a wood plate that said in flowing script, "Barb" and below the name a carving of her head with her nostrils flared and her neck arched. Gloria had carved it while on herd patrol and it was very well done and even had the blaze on her forehead outlined.

I picked up the curry brushes and a hoof pick at the door of the tack room and went out and scraped the sweat off Barb, checked her feet and brushed her until she had cooled down, I led her to the corral and let her in and took off her bridle. She went and took a long drink then wandered off.

I went back to the bay and took a look at him. He was pretty wet so I pulled the rug off him and scraped the sweat away and brushed him down some and took him for a drink and walked him around for 15 minutes before he started to look interested in his surroundings. I brushed him out, checked his feet and let him in the corral and took the bridles in and hung them with the saddles.

I was wondering what the hell had gotten in to April but I figured if she wanted me to know she'd have told me. I went to the Kiva and made notes on the progress of the oats and alfalfa. I wrote up a brief of the doings at lunch and April and Maria's conversation about the Buddha. I figured I find out more in the baths that I would in asking Sarge. So I got a beer from the cooler in the stores alcove and took Lady Chatterley outside for a read.

Sarge had finagled for a patio and barbeque to be built outside the Kiva and Able had come up with four Adirondack Chairs and a small table so I took a chair with the sun over my shoulder, sipped the beer and read about a time long ago, 1920 there had been a war, a man had come back paralyzed from the waist down, his wife stayed with him and they lived in England.

I knew where England was on the maps and knew that the English had colonized the east coast. It was to get away from English rule that had sparked the revolutionary war and gave us the Constitution that today had seemingly triumphed. There was talk of classes, Upper and Lower and I didn't understand some of the references but in the whole it seemed a depressing tale, perhaps it would get better?

The dinner bell was ringing so I closed the book and rinsed my empty then put it in the box at the door and went to dinner.

Wini served beef stew with vegetables and soft buttered biscuits and cold tea. All very tasty but not Lenore's style or subtlety of flavors. I wondered about how Bob was getting along and smiled as I thought of Lenore as she waved to me walking down the stairs. I had to admit to myself I felt jealous just a little. Lenore was such, had wonderful , had such ...? I couldn't finish that sentence and I was thinking about Lenore when Able came up and sat next to me.

"Did you hear, the Council voted to free the men?" Able said as he accepted a bowl of stew from one of the girls.

I turned to him, "I'm not surprised after the vote at lunch."

Able shook his head, "No, Sarge told me it was a close thing, the Black Brothers said that if the Council didn't approve the changes that they would have no recourse but to call in the debt that the Administration owed them. Apparently it is in the billions and billions of Burney Dollars."

"What How can that be?" I asked. It seemed odd to me. "Surely the Black's are part of the community, and paid their share of the community debts. If the Community owed them so much money, then the Blacks owed their fair share as well."

Able took a bite of stew and chewed a while then said, "I only talked to Sarge for a minute or so. He was walking around with Stewart after the meeting. Stewart decided that since he was a free man that he would spend the night in the Kiva, and Sarge was going to take him to the Baths tonight to Worship the Goddess for the first time. "

"Really? Well, he'll be happy in the morning," I laughed.

"He seemed happy already. He was walking around with only one go-fer girl about 15 and she was holding his hand and giggling. He introduced me to her, she's his daughter and she knows it. She walked around holding his hand and kissing him, kind of fatherly, but you could see she was happy for him. She was taking him around to show him the sights of the village and where she lived and introducing him to her mother, who Stewart had never seen before."

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