Straw Hat

Nicki lifted her straw hat off her head, scratched the line it left, and replaced it.

The sun was hot, the fields freshly mowed, and her brow covered in sweat. The straw hat had done its work, wicking a little of the sweat away, protecting her from getting a burn – though she wanted to trust her brown skin’s protection, she had learned better than to do so – and generally keeping her cool, or cooler than she might otherwise be.

The dog started barking, and Nicki shushed him. “Whatcha hearing?” she asked. The dog pointed toward the house. Nicki looked, then sighed. Michael was there, waving the phone.

“Can’t we go one day without the phone?” Nicki asked the dog. The dog looked back, agreeing.

Nicki took her hat off again, waved in front of her face to make a light breeze. She looked inside, brought it to her nose. It still smelled alright. Like hard work, sure, but not going off yet.

Stepping up on the tractor, Nicki started it up, and aimed toward the barn. She would put the thing in before she answered the phone. Whoever it was could wait. If they didn’t she didn’t want to talk to them.

When she got to the barn, she shut the machine down and hopped off. She walked toward the house.

“Call for you,” Michael said.

“I saw. Anything interesting?”

“No really.”

Nicki took the phone and hung it up. She didn’t need it now. “Let’s go inside,” she said, leading Michael in. She took her hat off at the door, leaving it on the peg she always did.

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