Max drew a long sip of cool lemonade. The feel of home spun Amish clothing felt funny, but welcome. He rocked a bit and eyed his gray-haired host sitting in a matching wooden rocker on the shady porch. She wore a blue bonnet, but her extremely masculine face and tall parrot-beak nose made here seem in disguise.
While Max tried to imagine a scenario a spy would be hiding out as an elderly Amish woman, she began speaking in a gravelly voice. “I heard about your shenanigan with the men folk a week ago, but let’s start with simpler things. I know men need a bit of warm-up when it comes to talking, especially if it’s an embarrassing topic.” She took her time and took another sip. Her eyes went to the indignant rooster that was still strutting slowly back and forth in the yard nearby. She smiled. “You certainly made an impression on Fletcher. He’ll be watching his hens a lot closer for at least a week.” Her eyes came back to him. “You’re quite a runner. I was watching from an upstairs window as soon as I heard Jessica turn the buggy around.”
Max eyed the distant back of the black buggy. It was almost up to the faint line of black ribbon of roadway on the horizon.
She took another sip of lemonade, no care about the condensation dripping off of it onto her worn pinafore and dress. “Let’s start with some introductions. I’m Matilda. I’m the grandma, if there were any kids. Unfortunately, I had only boys and when they were kids they had the mumps. All five of them were affected and are shamed by their lack of offspring. Our community is all about biological growth, since our traditions prohibit just about any other kind. Fortunately, we are a community first and foremost. That means looking out for each other and trying to be what the good Lord intended when he spoke of the golden rule and taking the Roman’s pack the second mile. Whether or not you’re Roman, I’m going to think of you that way.” She smiled at Max. Her deeply lined face suddenly made sense as it pulled those lines into the shape that must’ve caused the lines. She took another slow sip. “I’m going to ask you three questions. If you answer them directly, I’ll answer three questions directly. First, what is your name?”
Max took a sip. He felt like an invader, but a Roman? He cleared his throat. “I am Max.”
The slip of soap pulled him free. He managed to stick his glass over the table before he couldn’t support it anymore. His last image was of her mild surprise and of the glass wobbling about, barely remaining upright.
Dr. Floyd’s smile greeted him. Then he tossed Felix onto his naked lap and flipped the switch just as the cold cyborg bunny parts landed.
Things wavered a bit longer, but they both slipped away. Felix’s unblinking glowing left eye was all Max could see.