Savoring the pie, Lakisha looks up at noises from the front room.
Zenobia backs into the dining room. Her hands held up, her robe swirling around her legs. “You can’t come in. We are closed—”
An older voice rings out, “I don’t care about that. We have to see the Librarian. Now!”
An old lady holding her white shawl tight to her chest has pushed past Zenobia. And a younger woman, in pants and a blue blouse, follows. At Asante’s wave, Zenobia retreats, backing out in a hurry. Lookin’ for the Librarian.
Gripping her shawl tightly, the grey haired one marches on Asante. He puts down his fork, folding his hands, yet calmly, he stays sitting. He a big man. yet he respectful, like with mama. Don’t wanta ruffle this ol hen’s feathers.
“You have de librarian’s vest on.”
Shaking his head. “I am a library scout.” His calm steady eyes settle on her and her follower. “From Africa.”
“Old Lady.” The younger woman puts a hand on the other’s arm. “We should not upset the librarians.”
“Upset.” The old one snatches her arm away. “I’ll show ’em upset. I’s upset about my farm.” She returns Asante’s look. “Where ’de Librarian?”
He nods. Respect. “I’m sure the Librarian will speak to you. Soon.”
She holds his gaze for a moment, then relaxes. With a deep breath she watches as he draws her a chair, then sits down. Her eyes never leave Asante.
The younger woman points to her older companion, still standing, as if a guard. “This be Old Lady Harris. Her farm is being threatened. My mother’s farm, the Washington place is also being attacked.”
Asante pushes the pie’s plate away. “Attacked. Now?”
“By agents!” Old Lady Harris hisses. “With chicanery!”
“Yours are two of the ten farms?”
The old lady gasps. “Ten farms?”
The scout nods. “I heard ten farms are involved.” She didn’t know?
Zenobia returns, behind her the Librarian, also in a robe now.
The lady in blue, still standing gives a little bow. “Librarian?”
Old Lady Harris just hisses again. He looks down at her at his table. Not happy at this disturbance in his evening. “Librarian Oliver. How can I help you?”
The lady clutches at the young woman, who takes over. “We are here for the papers that prove we own our farms.”
“Ah. You are from a Gullah farm on Daufuskie Island?”
“We are from two neighboring farms on the island.”
“I’m sorry to say there is a problem.”
At this a storm moves across the old lady’s face. “What you mean? Problem?”
“We have lost the records for ten farms, there.”
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