1. I have some awesome facebook friends who shared my blog.
2. Figuring out this story has been easier than anticipated.
3. I found a couple more people to help edit my dating book.
You'll want to read Part 5 if you want to understand this part. Thanks for reading.
At first The Cook wondered if little people held the same time honored custom of opening a door when it was knocked on. He tried to listen for any sign of movement, but nothing came. He looked closer at the door and noticed that there was hardly a crack to be seen. This little person's hands had either done some marvelous work, or had found a real treasure. The Cook knocked once more as a last ditch effort. Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to leave a baby with a child. He was reminded of "The blind leading the blind," but didn't all parents fall into this saying?
"What are you doing?" The voice was high and quiet, but mysteriously powerful.
The Cook turned to see a little girl who he guessed was about seven, standing behind some boxes. To say that she had surprised him would be an understatement. She was a submarine attacking a battleship, much smaller, but at an advantage. If she had had a mind to stab The Cook he would never have made it back to the ship. "I wanted to talk to you."
"Why? You don't look like the men who sell us to the rich."
"No miss. I'm the cook of a ship docked here. I have..." he started to question his plan again, "I have something very special I need to give to someone."
"And what does that have to do with me?" She took a couple of steps back.
"Well... well what's you're name?"
"My name? I don't have one." Of course she had no name. Mother's give names, not dirty cities.
"Um... what are you called then?"
At this her eyes lit up and she stood up straight "The other kids call me Scratch."
"Why do they call you that?"
"Because of how good I am at scratching the bad parts off food and being able to eat the rest."
The chef in him cringed, but the foster father saw a survivor. "How long have you been doing this?"
Scratch gave The Cook a puzzled look. "My whole life."
"Well, how do you feel about babies."
At this The Cook saw the girl flash a big row of rotting teeth. "Oh, I love babies. I've got a bunch of them."
"Yeah." The girl took a step forward, and then stepped back and stared at The Cook. The Cook waited, but she just kept staring, as if she were expecting something. After about thirty awkward seconds The Cook took a step away from Scratch, and she took a step forward. He then took two, and she followed. This dance continued until The Cook was far enough away from the door that Scratch felt comfortable using it, but close enough to notice that in that very well made door was a hole just big enough for Scratch's index finger. Any big men looking for children to sell couldn't get their way in there without breaking the door or themselves. Scratch stepped away from the door and walked back into the ally, so there was room for The Cook to walk to her door again and notice, neatly lined up, four good sized stones laying in little beds of hay. Little Scratch did indeed love babies.
"This is great. Would you like a real baby?"
Scratch looked offended, "Those are REAL babies!"
"Oh, I mean, would you like this baby?" And he pulled out the infant he had been carrying around for so long.
Stars appeared in the little girl's eyes and it was all she could do to keep her distance from The Cook. "Yes! I do want that baby."
"Okay. Well come here, so I can tell you how to take care of him."
This took bravery on Scratch's part, but eventually she stepped forward. Not close enough for The Cook to grab her, but close enough to see what he was talking about.
"Do you see this sack?" He held up the sheep's stomach.
She nodded with enthusiasm.
"Okay, I'm going to give you two of them in case one breaks. I'll give you enough money to buy goat's milk to put in the sacks. Put this much in." He held up his thumb and index finger to show Scratch how much milk to put in at a time, "Keep giving him milk until the money for the goat's milk runs out. Okay?"
She nodded again.
To be honest, he, himself, didn't know much more than that about how to care for a baby. He did want to be able to find the child again though, so he asked, "What will you call him?"
"Sally." The answer had come faster than he'd anticipated.
"Yeah, I name all my babies Sally."
"But he's a boy."
She spoke slowly, as if The Cook wouldn't be able to understand her, "I call all of my babies Sally."
The Cook almost gave his same argument again, but saw that this was not an argument he was going to win before needing to go back to the ship. "Okay, well, can you call him Sal, for short? Just so people know which baby you're talking about?"
Scratch thought a moment, "Maybe. I'm not sure if I'll remember to, but I'll try."
"Okay. Well, thank you." And with that, The Cook left young Sally in the arms of what was actually a ten year old girl in the port city of Andrill. Likening Andrill to 'the deep end' really doesn't do the city justice, it's more like 'the ocean near a pack of sharks.' Sally had better not just learn to swim, but swim faster than the sharks, and soon.