Sister Ann is walking Mary into her room, Mary is calling back to Frank “Daddy, why are you doing this? What did I do wrong?” Frank turns his back to her, and starts to tear up. Sister Ann and Mary disappear around the corner into the room. Frank glances over his shoulder, sees she is no longer in the hall, and walks down towards Mother Superiors office. Walking to the chair next to May and sits down.
Mother Superior is calmly explaining how Catholic Charities operates and giving May some options. “May, your daughter is under the best care here at Saint Catherine’s, we are minutes away from Ramsay County Hospital, she will be well taken care of” May interjects “Since we can not have the child aborted, we just want this situation put behind us” Mother Superior sadly responds “All children are God’s children May” May disgustingly replies “This child is a product of incest Mother Superior!” Mother Superior has a shocked look on her face “Oh I see”
Sister Ann walks into the office “Mary is settled in, I gave her a book and some food, she’s crying pretty hard. She is unaware of what is going on. She wants to know why she is being abandoned” Mother Superior looks at Frank “you haven’t told her?” Frank shakes his head. “Well this is interesting, I think it is for the best to let her know what is about to happen to her, psychologically it will damage her. She will experience pain like she never known, she will have a child come out of her, she is going to go through a lot” May sternly looks at Mother Superior “I don’t want Mary to see or know this child. Once it is gone, we want to move on with our lives”
Sister Ann speaks up “This child can not just have a child with out…” Mother Superior interjects while glaring at Sister Ann “May, your child will be under the best care. We will call you once she has the baby and you can come pick her up after she recovers” May nods and quickly jabs a question in “How much is this going to cost us?”
Mother Superior pulls a bunch of paper work out of the desk and lays them out in order. She explains the expenses and what is involved. Frank is silently sitting there teared up and desperately wanting to get up and leave. He makes and attempt to grab May’s hand for some comfort. May pulls it away to grab the paper work unaware of how he reacts. May looks at the total and in a shock state of mind “Twelve Thousand dollars! Are you out of your Christ loving minds?” Mother Superior is offended by the comment, but remains stoic understanding the situation.
Frustrated and emotionally charged he stares at his wife with helpless feeling as his eyes start to tear up, an epiphany hits him like a punch to the gut, he jolts to his feet and walks around to the back of the chair. Standing there trying to hold back the potential onslaught of endless tears, jaw is pulsating as he stews, hand is clenching the chair like he wants to whip it against the wall. Shaking his head, starts casing around the room mulling over the thoughts mumbling, returning to the chair, stops and looks at May again “Seven kids, a large farm, and our son is in Vietnam, school just started” his voice starts to quiver “We can not afford this May” May reaches over to touch his hand, nodding at him, mouthing the words in silence to him “I know”.
“Sir, calm down please” Mother superior with worried concern, “There is the option of handing her over to the state as a ward, the expenses will be covered.”
A loud smack echoes the room as Frank smacks his hand on the chair, blurting out loud “Like fucking hell, We will sell the goddamn farm!” He abruptly turns around to walk out the door, as he steps through the threshold into the hall he says in a sullen and angry voice “Sign the damn papers.” disappearing around the corner.
Walking into a quaint little room, no bigger then a jail cell, walls white, with a single cross hanging over the bed. A lamp sits on the table with several books, and a tray of food uneaten. He sits down next to Mary, reaches over to her wraps his arms around her pulls her inclose and begins to explain to her what is going on. “Mary you’re twelve years old, you are old enough to understand. …Those stomach pains that you feel all the time now, the reason why you gained so much weight in a short amount of time, it is because you are about to have a baby.”
Confused in total shock and disbelief, choking through sobs “What? Why? You don’t love me anymore? You have to lie to me because you’re going to abandon me here?” Frank trying to keep his tears back, “No baby girl, this is a place where young mothers go to have their child. We are not abandoning you, this is for a short time until you give birth.” Baffled “How can I have a child?” Frank loses his composer and starts crying holding Mary tight “Just trust that everything will work out baby girl” Sitting with her while she cries herself to sleep, rocking her through his own tears and grief.
May arrives in the doorway, shocked “You Didn’t?” Frank gets up and lays Mary in the bed, and pulls the covers over her. With out a single word, The two of them walk out of the building, and get into the truck. They both sit quietly for a spell. Frank speaks up in a quiet tone “I don’t care how it happened, I care about my baby girl, you will not disrespect me for loving my child, do you understand me May. I won’t have it. I will do as I see fit” May responds with a grunt and silently looks out the window as Frank starts up the truck and pulls away to head back home.
Half way through Saint Cloud, they pull into a McDonald’s drive through and order lunch. After paying for the food, they drive a few miles outside of town and stop at a rest area to eat. May grabs Frank by the elbow, and she breaks down. The tears flow like a torrent river, and the sobs almost sounds like she is choking for air. Frank sits back in the seat trying his damndest not to lose his emotions too, he puts his arm around May and pulls her in close, sitting silently he lets her cry.
Frank whispers “We will get through this May”
May composes herself, “I think we have to sell the bar.” Frank looks at her shocked “That was your dream! No we can mortgage the farm.” May shaking her head “No Frank, we can not, I used the farm as our collateral instead of the bar. We can sell the bar, pay off the farm and the rest”
Frank becomes very upset, pounding the steering wheel in pure rage “I swear to God if Tom ever returns I’m going to put a shot gun to his head and pull the trigger!” May slaps Frank hard and starts crying again.
Frank rubbing his cheek “If it wasn’t for him, this wouldn’t be happening. Of all the kids, why did we get cursed with one like him!”
May doesn’t stop crying. Frank gets out of the truck, runs to the outhouse, does his doody. Returning to the truck he stops at the artesian well pump, lifting the red painted iron lever up and down until the water flows, he rushes up front to wash his hands off, and splashes some cold water on his face and vigorously tries to wash away everything from that day, puts his face under the faucet and drinks until the faucet stops.
He jumps back into the truck, and they ride silently the rest of the way. Occasionally May lets out a heavy sob, the tears keep flowing. Frank is deep in thought, until they pull into the driveway. He looks at May “I’m selling all the cattle, and going back over the road again” With no objections May just nods in agreement. Both of them exit the vehicle and slowly walk into the house. Frank goes to the fridge, grabs a handful of beers and walks out to the barn.
An hour later he strolls into the house, eyes are swollen, his knuckles are bleeding profusely. He yells into the house calling for everyone to come to the dining room. After a few moments everyone is sitting around the table. With a monotone voice “Mary is sick, she is going to be gone for a while. There are going to be changes around the farm. Big ones!” Nana speaks up “Frank, what’s wrong with Mary?” Frank quickly responds with heightened agitation “She’s sick Ma, that’s all you need to know!”
May with her puffy red eyes, and flushed cheeks, and looking like she aged 10 years in a single day, speaks up seeing Frank is about to start losing his composure. “We are going to sell all the cows, and Your father is going to be going back on the road again.” Marc speaks up “What’s going on?” Junice interjects “Shut up Marc” Bonnie punches Junice in the arm and whispers “Shut up” Junice slaps Bonnie across the head and sits back down.
May looks at the kids “stop it right now!” Kenny speaks up “If we are in trouble with Money Pa, I can give half my paycheck to help out with the farm” Marc enthusiastically “I will too” Frank shakes his head. “That is your money, you save it for college or a car. We won’t have any of that!” May nodding “Our options are limited, sell the cows and Frank goes over the road, or I sell the bar. Right now since the bar is our primary source of income atm, it’s the last option”
Kenny and Marc walk away from the discussion onto the porch. Frank looking at them angrily wondering what they are up to. The boys come back a short time later. Marc “How much is each head selling for then?” Giving a curious look at the boys “just about five hundred twenty five give or take” Kenny blurts out “We’ll take Bernice, The Red face bull, and the pregnant heifers” Baffled “What you boys on about!” Frank scratching his chin. Happily, Marc goes into his usual long winded reasoning “Bernice is our milking cow, The bull is the sire, and the two heifers we can start from scratch. We have a combined total of 2500 between the two of us. We worked over time at Bjerges and did side work for the farmers before we quit Mr B’s. We want to buy 4 cows” Frank can’t help but to laugh “My boys… My boys…” and starts tearing up.
“Wait a damn minute… You quit your jobs?” Completely bewildered, May starts to get upset. “What the Hell do you think you’re doing?” Kenny shrugs away her comment “When you took Mary down to the cities, Mr B. said my services were no longer needed, and after asking him why, he told me about a rumor going around town about our family, and that he didn’t want to be associated with that kind of image. He said it will hurt his reputation.” Marc interjected “That’s when Kenny told me to get in the car, and that’s when we left. We actually picked up our last check this morning. He was nice enough to toss an extra 300 in for each of us. He said he felt bad and had no choice. Fuck the old bastard”
Frank angrily jets around the table to Marc and smacks him across the head extremely hard. “You will not use cuss words in this house, or in front of women EVER!” Marc fell over the table face down, Frank not realizing how angry he was smacked him to hard. Marc starts to cry and slides off the table falling into the chair like a cloth slipping off the counter. “I’m sorry pa”
“Doesn’t change what he is and what he aught to do” Nana speaks up loud “That’s enough out of you young man, that’s no different then saying it the way your brother just did.” Kenny shrugs “Don’t care, he’s an ignorant jerk, and glad to be away from him”