Herr Biar stormed back into the kitchen.
A bolt of lightning zapped the rod on top of the outhouse and a fireball raced along the fence chasing him. Unfortunately, the bull didn’t follow Herr Biar into the kitchen. He had opened the gate for George the bull but the thunder and lightning spooked the animal. The bull refused to budge.
‘That was close!’ Hans Biar panted. ‘Like Martin Luther, I almost got zapped.’
‘How can you joke at a time like this?’ Jane Biar said. ‘Our daughter is dying, Hans!’
‘What’s he joking about?’ Amie whispered.
Joseph kept his eyes fixed on Boris. ‘Martin Luther, was a young lawyer when he was out in a field during a lightning storm. Terrified, he bargained with God…’ Boris glared at him. ‘Tell ya the rest later.’
Boris leaned back and rested his head in laced hands. ‘Ah, Martin Luther, I remember him. I dropped in on him while he slept. He woke up and told me to go away. The cheek of the monk.’ Smug. Very smug. He seemed to take the brooding weather and chaos in his stride as if he were born to exist in such an environment. He’s the devil incarnate, Hans thought.
‘Look at our dear Wilma, Hans,’ Jane screamed. ‘What are we to do? Look at the terrible mess we’re in.’
‘No thanks to Boris here.’
‘Oh, but that’s not a nice thing to accuse your guest of,’ Boris interjected. ‘Then again, I did warn you, if you are naughty, you will pay.’
Hans said nothing. He glanced out the open door.
More flashes. More rumbles. He pulled a red spotted handkerchief from his pocket. Worth a try. He shook it, and then wiped his brow.
‘Hans, aren’t you going to do something?’ Jane urged. ‘Call the doctor—get help.’
Boris rolled off his chair. ‘Let me have a look.’ He scuttled to mother and child and then hovered over them.
‘No!’ Jane recoiled. ‘Stay away.’
‘If that’s how you feel.’ Boris stepped back to his place at the table and then pointed his gun-hand at Joseph, then at Amie and then at Friedrich. ‘Don’t you try anything.
Herr Biar flicked the handkerchief again. Come on, George! He then blew his nose, loud like a trumpet.
Boris narrowed his eyes so that they looked beadier than ever. He pointed the gun at Hans. ‘Move over by your son, Herr Biar. Don’t want you making any smart moves.’
‘Wouldn’t think of it,’ Hans said as he paced up to his son. He blew his nose again. The nose cloth fluttered in the breeze from his nose. ‘Pardon me, must be the dust—hay fever.’
Another flash and on top of it, thunder cracked.
‘I do like it when it storms—reminds me of home,’ Boris said.
As he gazed out the open door, Hans held the handkerchief up to his mouth and whispered to Friedrich, ‘Bell—now!’
Friedrich whipped the dinner bell up from the table and swung it in the air.
The room echoed with ringing.
Boris frowned. ‘Now, why did you—?’
Snorting together with hooves thundering drowned out the bell and whatever Boris intended to say.
Hans picked up a chair, and at the same time waved his red rag. ‘Go, George! Go!’
The sienna bulk charged through the door. With head down and horns thrust forward, George collected Boris. He pushed him to the wall. And pinned him there.
‘You’ll pay!’ Boris screeched.
The bull butted Boris and gored the wall around him.
‘I don’t think George likes the sound of Boris’ voice,’ Hans said.
Hans helped Jane carry Wilma upstairs to her room. From the top of the stairs, he called out to his son. ‘Oh, Friedrich, my son, it’s milking time. You know what that means.’
‘Yes, Papa.’ Friedrich raced out the house.
Hans settled mother and child into bed. Wilma was unconscious but still breathing. Jane stroked her forehead. ‘Good work, my man. But, did you have to wreck the kitchen?’
‘I’ll make you a better kitchen, my dear,’ Hans said.
Herr Biar tiptoed down the stairs to gauge the progress of his plan and assess the damage to the kitchen and dining area.
The bull in his enthusiasm to attack the smelly man Boris, had stuck his horns in the wooden wall. He’d pinned Boris there.
The young couple had slipped out.
Hans sighed. Gut! They’ve escaped. He hoped they’d muster up some help. He hoped his countrymen would hear their story and finally, after this morning’s sermon, listen and come to their aid. He hoped and prayed God had heard his prayers and the folk would run this charlatan out of town.
The bull pawed the floor and groaned. He was stuck. But so was Boris—for now.
Hans grabbed his own gun and aimed it at Boris. ‘So Herr Roach, I think we have some negotiations to discuss.’
‘Never!’ Boris curled one side of his mouth. ‘Besides, that gun won’t work on me.’
Hans flipped the gun in his hand and examined it. ‘Really? I’ll give it a try all the same.’
Hans aimed the gun at Boris. ‘Say your prayers cockroach.’
‘I still have my hand-gun, you know,’ Boris said. ‘You can’t stop me.’
‘No harm in trying.’ Hans tried to get a clear view of Boris but the bull was in the way. He placed the gun down, and then plucked up the bell and shook it. ‘It’s milking time.’
A whip cracked.
A gate creaked.
‘Oh, I’m scared,’ Boris said, mocking.
‘Nothing more frightening than a herd of cows with their udders full, my friend.’
One by one, the cows barged into the house, baying, tramping, shoving and pushing.
Hans climbed the stairs. Boris was barely visible squashed against the wall in a room wall to wall with cows and one stuck bull. ‘Try and wriggle your way out of this one, Boris.’ Hans chuckled and then checked on his wife and daughter.
Jane looked up and asked, ‘What have you done, Hans? My kitchen!’
‘I told you,’ Hans said, ‘you’ll get a new one.’
Jane touched Wilma’s head. ‘It’s hot. Get the doctor, now!’
Hans opened the shutters and gazed out the window. He detected Amie and Joseph running up the road. ‘Help is on the way,’ he said. I hope.
Meanwhile, after releasing the milk-frenzied cows on Boris, Friedrich ducked into the outhouse.
He sat on the bench. His whole body was shaking.
Just a minute or two. Just to catch my breath. What am I to do? Friedrich prayed. ‘Dear Lord, save us from Boris. I’m sorry all the times I was mean to Wilma because she told on me. Please don’t let her die. Please let Amie and Joseph get the doctor to help. Amen.’
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
Photo: Cows of Strathalbyn © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2011