HEY JOE by Heather F.

"Little Britches" (ATF) Universe

Disclaimers: Not mine, no money made...etc.

Acknowledgements: Barbretta Hayden: Dr. William Lowry is hers...K. Poffenberger the LB universe was her idea (I think). MOG because she started the whole ATF thing. Mitzi because she reads the stuff I send her without complaint. Pal is her name for Buck's horse...Its short for Paladin...I forgot the Trolls were borrowed also from the ATF LB AU, they are not my creation.

Warnings: English, grammar...whatever.

Tuesday night:

Hey Joe,

Dr. Lowry said I should write a diary....diaries are for girls. He said boys write them too...but he said I didn't have to write Dear Diary...I could write to whoever I wanted to...make it a Journal...a Travel Journal like Mark Twain wrote. He wrote Huck Finn, did you know that? Mr. Nathan says I kind of remind him of Huck Finn. I saw it once on TV...Huck's pretty cool.

I wanted to write my Journal to my Ma...but then she'd never git to read this and that is kind of sad. So I'm writing to you...Joe...Like GI Joe...and a cup of Joe...I don't know any Joe's so I figured you would be it....Hope you don't mind...besides its not like you're real.

Anyhow, it's night. Chris and Buck are still awake and Mr. Josiah is still here too. I can hear them in the TV room. They're trying to be quiet but Mr. Josiah has a real big voice it kind of rolls around you when he speaks. Mr. Ezra is sleeping in the guest room. He's real sick. Mr. Nathan stayed at the hospital to help the Judge with the others...whoever they are...

Mrs. Potter got a call in the afternoon from Mr. Nathan. They were at work and Mr. Ezra got hurt. He had to go to the hospital. Mr. Nathan asked if Mrs. Potter could just stay a little longer tonight until Chris and Buck got home. They would bring Mr. Ezra if they could. I hope he's ok...Mr. Ezra ain't as tough as Chris or Buck...him getting hurt ain't too good. Maybe trolls shot him...Trolls are mean... scary, nothing scares them but Chris and Buck. Maybe Mr. Ezra met a Troll and it hurt him like I got hurt... I hope not.

Mrs. Potter's real nice. JD and Me like her a lot. She makes cookies and lets us help and even eats some dough with us...that's pretty nice. Sometimes when JD and me make brownies all by ourselves. We don't have enough mix left over to put in the pan to bake...so we just finish it from the bowl. Mrs. Potter, Mr. Chris and Mr. Buck sometimes don't like that...like the time JD ate all the mix and then drank too much milk. He puked so hard milk came out his nose. It was gross but kind of funny. JD cried. He said milk comin' out your nose hurts. Bet it don't hurt as much as Mountain Dew comin' out your nose...that really hurts.

JD and I played outside after gitting home from school. It snowed up here....but not down where we got to school. It was fun to play in the snow...JD and I jumped out of the loft of the barn into the snow bank at the bottom...its really deep there. We tried holding onto some tarps and parachute...it was fun but Mrs. Potter thought we better stop 'fore Chris and Buck got back.

She had us come into the house, we helped her get the guest room ready. She told us Mr. Ezra might be sick.

Mrs. Potter made us dinner and even stayed and ate with us. We had Roast beef and potatoes. JD don't like potatoes and tries to hide them in his socks...he tried that once with mashed potatoes but the butter scalded his leg. He said it felt kind of funny when they mooshed between his toes. Sometimes JD is weird.

Baked Potatoes are the easiest to hide but you got to remember to remove the aluminum foil...otherwise it burns you leg. Anyhow, JD tried to hide his potato again, normally I eat it at night in our room, so he don't get in trouble. Plus you shouldn't throw food out, cuz you never know when you might git a chance to eat again. Buck and Chris says we don't have to worry about that no more...but I don't know.... Anyhow JD tried to hide his potato but Mrs. Potter caught him. She didn't yell at him...just told him to keep it on his plate...he could have it for breakfast...potato pancakes or something...Sounds yucky. Too bad Diablo don't like Potatoes...JD is trying to teach him to like them...Diablo's pretty smart and he knows when JD has food in his socks...he just follows him around wagging his tail. I think Chris and Buck are onto JD.

We got to watch TV. Most times, we don't get to watch too much TV on a school night, but tonight we could. I think Mrs. Potter is worried. You can almost sorta feel it...if that makes sense.

At nine, Mrs. Potter sent us to bed. She sat in the TV room and started knitting. She knits when she's worried. I'm kind of scared. I hope Chris and Buck git home soon. JD kind of cried tonight. He wanted Buck. I told him it'd be ok. Buck would be home when he wakes up in the morning. I hope I'm right...I'd hate to lie to JD...I miss Chris too, but I didn't cry...I'm the oldest so I can't cry over stuff like that...got be strong for JD. Be a good example and all. Sometimes its hard. Sometimes I wish I could be the youngest.

I almost fell asleep, but then Diablo barked. He stood up but he weren't angry. I knew Chris and Buck were home. JD was still sleeping. He sleeps pretty hard.

I snuck into the hallway and waited. Mrs. Potter opened the door and Mr. Buck walked in...he looked tired and said somethin' to Mrs. Potter but I didn't listen...It ain't right to eaves drop on people...Then Mr. Josiah came in....he was walking real fast and with small steps, Mr. Ezra must've been heavy. Chris followed close behind Mr. Josiah like he was pushing'im forward but I don't think Chris would push Mr. Josiah...Chris ain't like that...They walked real fast toward the guest room. Mr. Ezra didn't look too good. He weren't in one of his suits. He don't wear them often, but the others say he does...On the weekends, when he comes up here to ride Jauser he wears his Levis like Buck but without the extra Ventilation.....Tonight he had on green pants that hospital people wear....I wonder if he had an operation? I just thought the Doctors got to wear that kind of stuff...Who knows.

Mr. Ezra looked real white like milk and his head hung real loose like over Mr. Josiah's arm. He looked kind of dead. I knew he wouldn't be dead...he's friends with Chris and Buck and Chris and Buck wouldn't let anything happen to their friends...or JD and me...but sometimes bad things happen....

Mr. Ezra couldn't be dead....they wouldn't be bringing'im back here...would they? When Mama died they took her away...they didn't bring her home...No...Mrs. Potter said he was jist sick...well his leg had a big grey splint looking thing strapped to it....it goes up high past his knee....maybe he broke his leg... You don't die from a broken leg. It hurts bad enough to make you wish you died...but you don't. I know.

But he sure looked dead...Chris followed Josiah into the room and turned the light on...I couldn't see much but I could hear them talking...kind of...

Buck shut the front door. Mrs. Potter must've gone home....She was really nice to have stayed with JD an'me.

Buck walked toward the guest room but then he stopped and turned around.

He saw me. I wanted to run into my room and hide under my covers. I weren't suppose to be up this late...not on a school night anyways...but I couldn't move. Mr. Ezra looked so dead...

When Buck saw me, I tried not to cry. I really did. Ain't no reason to be crying...but the stupid tears just kept running down my face. I hate cryin', big brothers don't cry...what if JD saw me?

I backed up a step when Buck came down toward me...I didn't want to git in trouble. I didn't mean to be out of bed...

Mr. Ezra looked so sick...grey like the cast on his leg. And if he weren't dead why was Mr. Josiah carrying him like Buck carry's JD when he falls asleep in front of the TV. I don't think gentlemen get carried anywhere...and Mr. Ezra says he's a gentleman...Buck says he's a pain in the butt.

Anyhow, Buck came down the hall and he just picks me up. I couldn't help it. I just hugged him real hard. He hugged me even harder. I don't know why I was cryin'. Ain't no reason...just dumb I guess. Boys ain't suppose to cry like sissy girls.

But when Buck picked me up I cried even harder. I must have said I didn't want Mr. Ezra to die...didn't want him to die like Mama or JD's momma...

Buck just held me real tight and kept saying over and over that Mr. Ezra wasn't gonna die...he was just sleeping. The doctor gave him some medicine to make him sleep and so his leg wouldn't hurt him so bad....

I didn't believe him....Not that I thought Buck would lie to me...but I seen dead people before...and grown ups don't get carried unless they're dead.

Buck kept rubbing my back...kept sayin' Mr. Ezra was gonna be ok...jist nap a lot. He turned around so he could see the guest room door and I could only see the master bed room where Chris slept...when he did sleep. Sometimes, Chris stays up real late or gets up real early...but I think he has bad dreams like I do...bet he dreams about his little boy....

I never saw Chris come out of the room...never even saw Mr. Josiah...maybe Josiah stayed in the guest room with Mr. Ezra. It don't matter none, cuz next thing I know Chris is holding me real tight. He kept telling me Mr. Ezra ain't gonna die....just sleepin' is all. Doctor gave him some medicine to make his leg not hurt and help him sleep. Buck went into me and JD's room to check on JD...

I ain't sure I believe the doctor would give medicine to make him sleep more... cuz Mr. Ezra sleeps a lot and everyone is always trying to get him to wake up early when we go camping.....Buck says Mr. Ezra would snooze til the cows come home. Where ever cows go...it must be far from home...cuz Mr. Ezra sometimes sleeps right through breakfast.

Chris took me down to the guest room. And we went inside. I think he wanted me to see Mr. Ezra...but I wouldn't look. I kept my eyes buried in Chris's neck...I seen people die before and its scary. Bugs climb on dead people and stuff...and they smell bad.

I held on real tight to Chris. My legs got tired of holding so tight around him but I weren't letting go. It felt good when he rubbed my back. Mr. Josiah told me that Ezra weren't dead...just napping. Chris bent down and Mr. Josiah put my hand on Mr. Ezra's chest. I could feel his heart beating...he weren't dead after all....Jist sleeping was all.

I asked Josiah if Mr. Ezra was gonna sleep til the cows come home.....Mr. Josiah and Buck and Chris all laughed. Not sure what made them laugh...but I laughed too cuz Mr. Ezra wasn't dead.

Chris brought me back to my room and tucked me into bed. He told me I had to get some sleep so I wouldn't be tired for school in the morning. I nodded and closed my eyes. When he left I thought I should maybe start writing in my new Journal.


Hey Joe,

Its morning...I'm suppose to get ready for school. Mr. Buck and Mr. Chris are ready for work. Mrs. Potter is gonna come later today. She'll be here after school is out. Mr. Josiah is staying with Mr. Ezra today.

Me and JD snuck down the hall and looked in the room. Mr. Ezra was still sleeping. His leg was propped up on some pillows. He didn't look very comfortable. JD touched the grey thing on Mr. Ezra's leg. He didn't move, not even a little.

Buck came in and told us we had to leave Ezra alone...he needed to sleep some more. Then Chris and Buck left for work...they said Josiah was a real good cook...better than McDonalds. I love McDonalds.

I had toast for breakfast...Mr. Josiah burned it and set off the smoke alarms...they are very loud. JD put his hands over his ears and laughed. I told Mr. Josiah I would rather have cereal. I don't like Total but its better than all the smoke. Mr. Josiah tried to scrape the black off the toast but the toast just crumbled in the sink. I told Mr. Josiah I would really rather have cereal... JD kept laughing...Sometimes JD laughs at the dumbest things...he tells really bad jokes too.

Its still Wednesday but school is over.

There is still snow on the ground. Mr. Josiah says that if we want to make our Parachutes work better we need to be higher off the ground....Me and JD can't figure out how to get onto the roof of the barn... Maybe Mr. Ezra will tell us when he wakes up,...he's pretty smart sometimes.

School was ok. Tommy Hackle was a jerk again today. He pulled my hair and said I look like a girl. I ignored him. He pushed JD on the play ground...I mooshed his face in the dirt under the swings until he said he was sorry to JD. I think I might be in trouble. My teacher didn't find out but Tommy is a tattle tale.

When I got home, I told Mr. Josiah what happened and he said I might get in a little trouble but not a lot. He said there was no sense in worrying about getting in trouble, said its interest paid on a bill not owed yet...I ain't got a clue as to what that meant. He must have known and said he would take care of it for me. I ain't sure if he meant the dues, the bill or me getting' in trouble.

Me and JD played in the snow again. We made snow angels. JD's was really good. He climbed to the top railing and then fell backward into the snow. That way his feet prints don't make a mess...except when he tried to stand up...then it kind of wrecked it a little but still it was better than my snow angel...

We got to play until dark but then Mr. Josiah made us come inside. Said it was too cold to be outside. Don't feel cold. Me and JD made sure the horse trough was full and made sure some round bales were in for the horses. Then we went inside.

Mr. Josiah made us some cookies. They tasted terrible. JD hid his in his sock. I ate mine now...no sense saving it an all. Diablo cried when JD tried to make him eat a cookie. Mr. Josiah didn't make dinner...that's kind of good.

Buck and Chris came home before dinner. They brought pizza and Mr. Nathan. Nathan went and looked in the guest room. Mr. Ezra was sleeping. Mr. Josiah said he woke up in the morning and in the afternoon but didn't eat much. That worried Mr. Nathan. You can tell by the way he holds his eyes when he's worried. They all do things sorta different when they are worried or mad or whatever....but Mr. Nathan is the easiest to watch, Mr. Ezra calls it easiest to read.... I think Mr. Ezra means a book but I could be wrong, cuz books ain't very easy to read unless they got lots of pictures too. I think words are hard. Mr. Ezra is really hard to figure out...'cept when he's sleeping....then he looks like he ain't done a thing wrong. Buck says looks are deceiving. I looked up deceiving in the dictionary...I think maybe Buck was making fun of Mr. Ezra...

Mr. Josiah told Chris what happened at school. I didn't cry but I wanted too. Mr. Chris didn't look mad though...but he told me not to do it again. I didn't argue but I wanted too. No one picks on JD. They can pick on me...that's fine...I ain't nobody special, not even smart...but JD...he's special, and smart. He don't deserve to git picked on...not like me. Anyone makes fun of him and I'll bloody their noses. JD's my 'sonsibility when Buck ain't around. We do a good job sharin' the 'sonsibility but sometimes its hard.

We got to watch TV again tonight. Mr. Ezra came out of his room. His hair was sticking up all funny. He had lines on his face too...probably from his pillow. His leg kept clunking on the floor. JD saw him too and waved to him from over the couch. That's when the others saw him. Guess he weren't suppose to be up yet, because Chris and Mr. Josiah both grabbed one of his arms and made him go back into his room. He kept trying to take the grey thing off his leg, with the toe of his other foot. Mr. Josiah told him to leave it be...he had a lot of stitches in his leg....he needed to keep it still.

Don't see why he needed to wear a grey boot all the way up past his knee cuz he had stitches. I asked Mr. Nathan and he said it was cuz Mr. Ezra had lots and lots of stitches in his leg...staples too. Me and JD want to see the staples.....Nathan said later, when Ezra ain't so dizzy.

He didn't look too dizzy.


Hey Joe,

Mrs. Potter came at the normal time today. Chris and Buck went to work at their normal time too. Mr. Ezra wasn't awake yet. His leg looked real uncomfortable. Its kind of cool he gets to use crutches when he wakes up for real. Me and JD were playing with the crutches this morning after Chris and Buck left. We tried to balance on them from off the couch but we kept falling forward. It was fun. Mrs. Potter took us to the bus.

It was cold out again, the wind hurts my face. It made JD's eyes water like he was cryin' but he said he weren't.

Tommy Hackle didn't pick on me or JD today. He said he wanted to be our friend. JD was excited. I don't trust'im yet.

Math was fun. Its easy. I like it. Reading is stinky. Mrs. Cook can be real mean. She leans over your desk if you don't read well. She's always leaning over my desk. She smells bad.

Mrs. Potter made brownies today. We had some when we got home from school. Mr. Ezra was napping on the couch.

He sure sleeps a lot.

Me and JD still can't figure out how to get on the roof of the barn to make our parachute work better. We tried balancing on Mr. Ezra's crutches from the loft and then swinging out but we couldn't hold onto the crutches and the tarp at the same time.

Mrs. Potter told us to stop playing with Mr. Ezra's crutches. She almost got mad...but didn't. JD gave her his sad eyes. I can't believe that works.

Mrs. Potter made a roast for dinner and mashed potatoes. She went home when Chris and Buck got back from work. She had dinner all ready for us. JD tried to hide his mashed potatoes in his pockets. Diablo kept waggin' his tail and lapping up the spilled butter. Chris caught JD this time and made him eat an extra scoop. JD cried. Buck told him he better eat them now or for breakfast. YUK.

Mr. Ezra ate dinner with us. He just kind of stared at his plate. I don't think he likes mashed potatoes either. Maybe Chris will make him eat them for breakfast too. I doubt it though. I think Mr. Ezra was really sleeping...he does that sometimes when Chris makes him get up early when we go camping. Normally he just stares into his coffee...tonight it was his potatoes he kept looking at. I wonder if people can sleep with their eyes open.

Chris helped me with my reading and spelling. I have a test tomorrow. I don't see how a 'b' and 'd' look any different. And who cares which way the slash goes on an N. kind of stupid if you ask me. I'd rather do math.


Mrs. Potter brought bagels for breakfast today. They were ok. I'd rather have toast...but ever since Josiah set off the smoke alarms the toaster ain't worked right. I think Mrs. Potter brought the bagels for Mr. Ezra. He had breakfast with us. He even smiled a few times, he let me have a sip of his coffee. It tasted gross. JD didn't like it either and put the coffee in his mouth back in the cup. Mr. Ezra said he didn't want any more coffee either.

We asked if we could see his staples...he said maybe later.

School stunk. We had a spelling test again. Chris tries really hard to help me but I did really bad again. I'm so stupid...what if Chris gets tired of me being dumb and wants to give me back? I wish I was as smart as JD...sometimes he has all the luck. I wonder if I embarrass Chris cuz I'm so stupid.

After school today, Mr. Ezra went out side with us to play in the snow. He didn't play but he sure laughed a lot. He looked better than the night Mr. Josiah carried him into the house.

He also told us that it was not necessary to get to the roof of the barn to make the parachutes work. He told us they worked really well already. I didn't think they did...but he said if they weren't working then we would have broken our necks jumping out of the hay loft into the yard. Maybe he's right.

JD showed off how he makes snow angels. I did too....and we didn't even mess them up cuz Mr. Ezra lifted us up so our feet wouldn't mangle them too much. He looks funny bending down with one leg.

He got cold so we went inside with him. Mrs. Potter made us some hot chocolate. Mr. Ezra dunked his bagel in his hot cocoa...that's gross. JD dunked his brownie...he liked it. JD will copy anybody. Sometimes he's dumb.

I asked Mr. Ezra about how he got so smart, and if his mom loved him cuz he was so smart. He didn't really answer my question and started asking me questions. I told him about my spelling test and all the other ones I did really bad on....and then I asked him if he thought Chris would get rid of me...or be mad cuz I was so dumb. I would hate to make Chris look stupid just cuz I am an idiot. Dumber than a fence post...that's what Mr. Oliver said one time...he was one of my Foster Fathers...he wasn't very nice.

Mr. Ezra said Chris would never git rid of me...and as for spelling....well there were tricks to help remember stuff. He said he would show me some...He also said I should talk to Chris about it....I don't want too...

Chris and Buck came home with more pizza for dinner. Mr. Josiah and Nathan came too and brought beer. Mr. Ezra tried to reach for one but Mr. Jackson slapped his hand away. Guess Mr. Ezra can't have grown up drinks until his staples and stitches come out. We got to see them tonight when Mr. Nathan helped him change the bandage...it must have hurt cuz Mr. Ezra kept trying to reach out and swipe Nathan's hand away...but he would stop himself....the stitches were gross...nasty looking, they went from his knee high up the inside of his leg...almost to his... well, high up anyway... He wouldn't let us near his leg. We asked him what happened and he said he didn't remember....I don't think he was telling the whole truth...but its hard to tell. Mr. Nathan even gave him a funny look but didn't say anything.

I showed Chris my spelling test when no one else was around. He looked disappointed. I couldn't help cryin'. Figures. Not only am I dumb, I'm a sissy cry baby. Chris would be getting rid of me. I know it. No one wants a stupid brat for a kid. I tried to tell Chris I was sorry for failing my tests and for not being smart...but I couldn't get the stupid words out....cuz I was too busy crying.

I must of fallen asleep. I don't remember going to bed.


Oh heck, Mr. Ezra is up before me....now that's embarrassing. I can hear him in the kitchen....he's laughing at something JD and Buck are doing.

I'll talk to you later Joe.

Hey I'm back. We had fun today. Chris took JD and me riding. JD did real good on Buck's horse Pal. Did I tell you his horse is called Pal. Its short for something but I don't know what... Pal fits him...He takes good care of JD when Buck isn't around to go riding with him. Chris still has to pony him but I get to ride all by myself. Peso is a good horse. He don't like very many people but he likes Chris ok. He bit Chris once and Chris told him he would pull all his teeth out if he did it again. I think Peso listened...I did.

Mr. Nathan was here this morning too. He took Mr. Ezra back to the Doctor to get his staples and stitches looked at....did I tell you they were gross looking. Buck had a date with Rosalie...she's kind of nice, in a squeaky voice kind of way. Mr. Josiah stayed at home and worked on the church...it needs a roof, its leaky. Buck says the roof stands about a good a chance at working as Josiah's Suburban....it don't run so well most times.

JD and I aren't allowed to ride in it unless we have a cell phone.

Chris, me and JD rode almost all day. We even packed lunches in our saddle bags. That's pretty cool. JD had so many clothes on that Mr. Ezra said he looked like a tick ready to explode. Thinking about it, I think Mr. Ezra might have been right. Buck packed us Peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches...even for Chris. Chris don't like Peanut Butter and fluff sandwiches. Not even with pickles on it. JD put pickles on Chris's sandwich because Mr. Ezra said Chris liked them that way....I don't think he was telling the whole truth again... JD asked if Chris didn't eat his lunch would he have to have it for breakfast too? It was a good question. Chris ate his sandwich, pickles and all. I think Mr. Ezra might be in trouble.

We got back from riding, just before the sun set. It was cold. My cheeks hurt and my nose kept running. JD talked and talked and talked. He was disappointed we didn't see any deer. I think if he kept quiet for just a little while maybe the deer would come out.

Buck helped us unsaddle the horses. JD's fingers were cold and he kept sticking them in his mouth but that just makes them colder. Good thing Buck was outside to help with the saddles. I think Chris was getting tired of JD's talking...Mr. Ezra at one time called it incessant...Whatever that is.

Buck told us we had to be quiet in the house...that Mr. Ezra fell asleep on the couch again. I didn't mind...it was good to watch some cartoons and draw. JD took a nap on the floor under the pool table, he can sleep anywhere. I like JD he's the best but he still talked all the way into the house. Sometimes he talks in his sleep too. Sometimes he cries too...when he does that I get Buck...JD is my 'sonsibility but Buck does a pretty good job a lot of the times. I don't mind getting Buck when JD cries, cuz he takes real good care of JD, almost as good as me. Buck just holds JD til he don't cry no more. I wonder if Chris would do that for me if I cried. Buck said Chris used to rock me in a chair every night for the first few weeks JD and me started living here. I never knew...guess it was cuz I was sleeping. I really like Chris.

Mr. Ezra slept on the couch while we ate dinner. He snores sometimes....tonight he snored so loud it was almost like Mr. Josiah. Woke himself up too. He looked kind of nervous til Chris told him to go back to sleep.

Tomorrow we're gonna drive Mr. Ezra back to his own home. I think he'll be happy. Mr. Ezra likes visiting but I think sometimes JD and me make him tired. Mr. Ezra is really nice though. He laughs a lot. Like when me and JD tried to help do the dishes and put the plastic forks and stuff in the dishwasher with the paper plates. Chris didn't laugh and well Buck jist kind of grunted and had left the room when the dish washer got done running.. But Mr. Ezra he laughed so hard he cried. Chris tried to yell at him but Mr. Ezra laughed even harder. Mr. Josiah made JD and me leave the kitchen that time, cuz he didn't want Chris to be a bad influence on us.

Tonight, JD stirred the wood stove with the bottom of Mr. Ezra's crutch. Rubber smells real bad when it catches on fire. Makes the smoke alarm go off too. That's even louder at night. Mr. Ezra didn't laugh so hard this time. His crutch is still outside the door in the snow.

We played cards after dinner. Mr. Ezra woke up and JD wanted to play cards. I don't like Go Fish or Ole Maid...so we played five card Stud. Mr. Ezra said it was an important game to learn...kind of like Chess but different. Buck and Chris played too,

I don't like Chess very much. Cards are ok...

Gotta go...Chris is coming to tuck me in.

The end.