By Jeff Baker
“Don’t drop me, dammit!” she said, trying to pull her hands from the two men walking her on the crosswalk.
“Hold on,” Mac said. “Just ‘till we cross the street.”
“I’ve crossed streets before,” she snapped. “I remember before they were paved!”
“Take it easy,” Sam said. “We’re just trying to help.”
“A lot of help you are,” she said. “At least put my feet down so I can actually walk!”
“Well, okay,” Sam said. “But we’re still holding on to both hands.”
The little girl who-was-not-a-little-girl grumbled something in an ancient tongue.
Mac sighed. If it wasn’t for love.
Jeremy “Mac” McCabe and Samuel Oldtree had met at the annual Native Coalition on Understanding Myth and Legend three years ago. That was before Mac found out that some legends weren’t just legends. Corn Maiden, for example; she supposedly became a young woman and aged into an old one over the year before repeating the process. Corn Maiden was Sam’s great-great-something Aunt. This year the annual transformation had gone a little extreme and she’d become a toddler.
“I have to be careful of eclipses,” she’d explained. “It threw me off.”
Sam and Mac had promised the family that they would look after her for a month or so until she at least looked old enough to be on her own. Having a toddler goddess dancing out in the prairie moonlight would have caused a commotion and someone would have called the authorities. Legends shouldn’t be arrested. Once they were in the diner, Mac thought she’d calm down. No such luck.
“We’re ordering corn,” she said to the server who was taking their order. “And fry bread. With butter.”
“She’s been studying our culture,” Sam explained.
“I AM your culture God dammit!” Corn Maiden said. “I’m the one who showed your people how to make…”
“We’ll just have two of the lunch special,” Sam said hastily. “And a kid’s meal. Thanks. That’ll be all.”
Mac wondered why a Native goddess swore exactly like a white Protestant guy whose lawn mower wouldn’t start.
“I should forbid the corn crop from growing this year,” Corn Maiden grumbled when the server left.
“You do,” Mac said, “and I have two words for you; Day Care!”
“You wouldn’t!” Corn Maiden said shocked. Mac glared. She sat back in her chair.
Sam smiled to himself. They might make it through the next couple of months yet. Anyway, you had to know how to talk to kids.