I think Marisa didn’t know what to make of it when I got mad that there was no more mending to be done. It was a good thing for her, but a disaster for me since I can’t do any real work yet. I’m not too crazy about knitting, but it looks like that will be my only way to contribute for at least another day or two.
One way I'm trying to entertain myself is by watching Marisa try to attract the notice of Dr. Ruston. When he came to see me today I paid close attention to the way she acts around him. She definitely likes him, but I can’t tell if he likes her, too.
The doctor let me bundle up in some of Marisa’s coats and scarves and go out on the porch to visit with Flecha. The fresh air felt so good that after he left I pestered Marisa to let me stay outside for a little while. She brought me a blanket and cup of tea, and I sat on the porch drawing a picture of her front door, which has an interesting blue design on it.
I asked Marisa about the town I was in, and she was emphatic that it’s not a town, but a city. But when I asked for more details, she admitted that it wasn’t much of a city any more. The suburbs are just useless squatter camps because the homes had been built too quickly and of such shabby materials that they had fallen apart. The area can’t support a big population anyway, now that the trains don’t run regularly and food isn’t shipped in the quantities it used to be back in Marisa’s childhood.
“In some ways the wars and pandemic were a blessing,” she said. “Since there isn’t as much food as there used to be, it’s better that there not be so many of us.”
I had heard this sentiment before, but not from a federal. “Weren’t you for the Resource Wars? Didn’t you support the anti-hoarding laws?”
“A person can be a good federal and not agree with everything the government does. What do you think elections are for?”
I guess something in the way I looked at her made her think I didn’t believe her because she went away for a few minutes and came back with a book. She opened it and flipped through the pages until she found what she was looking for. “Federalist Number Ten,” she said. “Read it and then you’ll understand.”
I marked the page and set the book aside so I could finish my drawing. When I was done Marisa gave me my medicine and I took a nap.
This evening after supper Marisa let me take my knitting into the living room, where we sat in front of the fire and worked. She showed me some new designs, saying it was no wonder I found knitting boring since all I could do was alternate rows of knitting and purling. The new patterns look nice, but I still don’t find it very exciting.
After we had been working for awhile, she got up and added some piñon to the fire. I love the smell of piñon and I was starting to feel cozy and content when Marisa mentioned the Cobre plot again.
“Please,” I said, “I’m trying to get out of that sort of thing. Why do you think I’m here and not there?”
“I’m telling you because you need to know. John says your Roberto is in danger.”
I stopped knitting. “He’s not ‘my Roberto.’ He isn’t my anything.”
“Then why did you keep asking for him when you were sick? Don’t you care that he’s walking into a trap?”
Of course I cared. How could I not? “Robert has plenty of spies in this area. He doesn’t need me.”
“John knows one of his spies and says he’s being bought off by México Lindo.”
This wasn’t good. Robert isn't a fighter. Without reliable intelligence, he's nothing. He has bodyguards, of course, but what if they're in the pay of México Lindo, too? But what could I do about it? I still had a lot of things I needed to figure out before I would be able to face Robert again. But if his life was in danger. . .
“Tell me everything,” I said.
The plot mainly centered around the mine owners, who were trying to negotiate with some of the stronger groups operating in the south. The workers opposed them and were doing their best to undermine the talks and make secret negotiations of their own. Representatives from several groups were now converging on the town. They were under truce and there were hints from the mine owners and town officials that a real peace might be on the table for Cobre and its surrounding area. But from what Marisa said, it sounded like the workers had a very different plan for what would happen once the talks began.
It was impressive information and if it was true, Dr. Ruston was wasting his talents in medicine and had a promising future as a spy. “So tell me again,” I said, “Why should I believe that everything you say is correct? How do I know John wasn’t misinformed, or that the two of you aren’t trying to trick me into sending Robert a false message?”
“You don’t have to believe us, but who else would former federals support, if not Unitas?”
She had a point, and there was a ring of authenticity to what she was saying. I wasn't ready to see Robert, though. “If you’re such a good supporter,” I said, “Why don’t you take Unitas a message yourself?”
“I would. So would John. But why would Robert or anyone else believe us? Besides, we still have to live in this community. It’s better that we appear neutral.”
“You hardly look neutral, harboring me like this.”
“No one but us knows who you are.”
I picked up my knitting again as a means of ending the conversation. “Well,” I said, “I’ll try to think about what should be done.”
“There’s not much time.”
“And I’m not much of a planner. I need time to think.”
Marisa said nothing else, and I swear, I really have been trying to think tonight, but I can’t come up with much of a plan other than going to Robert myself or sending a message. Since I don’t have a reliable messenger, that makes for two unacceptable choices.
After another hour of dropping stitches and making a mess of my knitting, I let Marisa give me some pills and a cup of hot tea and then I went to bed. I tried to read the book she gave me, opening to the part called Federalist Number Ten, but I found it boring. It was just a lot of stuff I already knew, about how the majority tramples the minority if you don’t give them a chance to say what’s on their minds. Auntie had a word for when the majority quits listening to an unpopular opinion and ends up in a dangerous spot because of it, but I no longer remember the word. I only remember that the information you need to hear can come from surprising places and that it’s always a good idea to remain open to hearing it.
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