If you let me go, I promise I’ll be on my way, and I won’t ever bother you again.”
But the orchard farmer had had enough. He stood between Janice and the man to state his thoughts.
“Don’t be ridiculous, John! Let’s just get the cops down here and let them handle her! We can’t trust her, not with everything that’s been goin’ on around here… For all we know, she’s one of them…”
The man, John, smiled wearily.
“Why? Because she stole one of your apples? You don’t even grow them, the robots do. And they’re not complaining.”
The farmer sputtered in response and turned in a huff to leave.
“Fine! Do what you want with her! I don’t like it, but, as long as she keeps away from my produce, I’ll leave her alone. You know, you might’ve been put in charge of this co-op. But, believe you me, if she steps foot onto my property again, she’s going straight to the cops. I’ll see to that myself!”
Frowning, the second man followed his fellow out, leaving Janice alone with this John and his family. After a long, awkward moment, John turned and fell back into his chair at the table. He looked to his wife, whose lips turned with a faint, cautious smile. Then he spoke to Janice again.
“You look tired and hungry. We’re gonna be having some supper ready pretty soon here. Would you join us?”
The girl shot him a look of disbelief. Behind her, his son shifted with agitation.
When she didn’t answer, John added, “And if you need to, you can stay the night here with us, too.”
His wife nodded her head with welcome agreement. But Steve erupted with anger.
“What are you doing, Pa? She just tried to steal one of our horses, and you’re inviting this, this thief, into our own home? Who knows where she’s come from, or what she’s up to?”
His father remained calm, as unwavering as a great rock.
He answered, “Kol-Kesher knows.”
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