Delphia sat up straighter after Micky said they were there. The narrow track he turned on to led them through a tree line and there it was. The Farm. It was in much better shape than the farm she had left in Iowa and had rolling fields around it. Delphia gasped.
“Are those horses?” She pointed into the distance.
“Yeah,” Micky replied as he steered the car closer to the house.
“You didn’t say you had any,” Delphia stared at them.
“I don’t. I borrowed them from a guy down the road so you have something to look at while you’re here.”
“You rented horses…just for me to look at?” Delphia turned to stare at him. Micky shrugged and smiled at her.
“Yeah, why not?” He brought the car to a halt. “Here we are…my little hidden paradise…” He wanted to say ‘ramshackle prison’ but Delphia’s eyes were bright as she looked around. She got out of the car and looked up at the house. She got a bit nervous as Moira’s words echoed in her head. A weekend trip? You won’t be able to escape him now, Delphia. You can’t hit the brakes without derailing the train and putting him off for good. Delphia tensed up as she stared at the house. Why was she so worried about it?
“Why don’t we go for a walk?” she said.
“A walk?” Micky was less than enthused. It wouldn’t be long before they got back. He wanted to use the time alone more wisely.
“Yes, I want to see everything and we’ve been sitting in that car for far too long.” She smiled at him and walked across the yard to the barn. Micky grumbled to himself, but obediently followed. Delphia pushed the door open and was surprised by how empty it was.
“I thought you said you were a bootlegger?” she joked. Micky laughed.
“Yeah, I lied,” he said with a shrug. “You got me!” Delphia laughed, but had no idea if he was being serious.
“Actually a shipment just went out. Two days ago this was full. I had to time it this way so everyone would be gone. It gets pretty lonely once the liquor’s out the door.” Delphia wandered around the room and stopped at a narrow staircase. She turned to Micky and he nodded. She clambered up the steps and emerged into a hayloft that had been transformed into a workshop. Stations for blending, bottling, and labeling sat abandoned. She went to one of the crates and lifted out an empty bottle.
“But where does it all come from?” she said confused. Micky pointed at some barrels as he came over and opened a different crate.
“The stills are out back. We bring it up here, add a few other things, then you can hardly tell the difference.” He turned around and poured two glasses so she couldn’t see, then held them out to her. Tentative, she took one and tasted it, then the other.
“Do know which one is real?” he asked. Delphia had to admit she was not an expert at alcohol. They tasted a bit different, but she didn’t know which was which. She shook her head.
“I have no idea,” she blushed.
“Neither does America, but we can continue the taste test until you figure it out.” Micky added another dash to her glass with a laugh.
“You’re terrible,” Delphia said with a smirk. She took her glass and walked back to the staircase. “Let’s go look at some horses while we enjoy our refreshments.” She emerged into the farmyard with Micky trailing behind. The sun was beginning to lower and the grasses took on a bluer hue. She walked down the lane and gazed across the field. The horses watched for a few moments as she leaned on the fence before they returned to grazing. She looked at Micky and it struck her as funny. A man in an expensive suit standing against a backdrop of a small farm. This was her world that he was living in as if they had switched places. She wondered if it was just as difficult for him as it was for an Iowan farm girl living in the city. Perhaps he felt just as out of place.
“Can I ask you a question? You have to answer honestly.” Delphia let him fill her glass again as she asked. The alcohol was already warming her insides.
“Sure, why not?” He leaned against a fencepost. Delphia bided her time and took a few sips. She had to gather her resolve even though the alcohol seemed to be melting her worries.
“Do you like living out here?”
“Out here?” Micky said surprised. He hadn’t expected such a serious question. He gazed around at the fields and he contemplated his answer. His knee jerk reaction would have been to say ‘sure’, but when he looked back at Delphia he realized she deserved more honesty than that. He finally shook his head slowly.
“It’s too…too quiet…too slow,” he said as he searched for the words to describe how he felt about it, “There’s too much down time.”
“Can’t you have someone else look after it? You could stay in town and focus on the big picture, less of the day to day,” Delphia suggested, but Micky was already shaking his head.
“No, I’ve asked. Sicero wants me to stay out here. Every time I’ve come out to the city, I’ve seen you, so you know exactly how infrequently I get out of here.”
“But I’ve only met you a few months ago. How long have you been here?”
“A few years now.” Micky’s eyes had a faraway look.
“But can’t you leave whenever you want? What’s keeping you here?” Micky laughed.
“You might work at a Sicero joint, but you don’t work for Mr. Sicero, Dollface. He made it very clear, that I’m supposed to stay here. I ask to leave to do this or that and he says no, but I keep asking and eventually, he says yes. And the money is very, very good, even if I have nothing to spend it on.”
Delphia looked out over the field and let his words sink in. She thought at the bottom of it, he was just lonely. That might explain some of the rumors she had heard in the Cabaret dressing room. She had worried about him being a scoundrel, but if it was true what he said about seeing her on each of his trips to the city that summer, then he really didn’t get a lot of freedom. Which meant he probably wasn’t around a lot of other girls either…and a good indicator that Delphia would almost always know where he was. She kind of liked the idea of having him to all to herself.
“Perhaps you might like living out here better if you think about it differently,” Delphia suggested, then she laughed. “Or you could make it a working farm, then there will always be something for you to do, sun up to sun down.”
“Could you really see me doing that? Fucking around with chickens and pigs?” Micky was skeptical, but he still grinned at the notion. Delphia looked him up and down.
“Well, maybe a tractor, I’ll have to teach you the rest.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?” Micky dared her. She took a step away from him and smirked.
“You want your first lesson already?” She followed up with an alcohol-buzz fueled giggle and discarded her glass on the ground. Micky was intrigued and nodded.
“Then you need to learn how to fully appreciate a corn field!” Delphia took off running into the growing darkness. She shrieked with laughter as she reached the edge of the field and ducked into the tall stalks. Micky stood stunned for a moment, then dropped the bottle and glass he was holding to take off after her. He stopped at the edge and hesitated, but Delphia called.
“Come and find me!” He tried to follow the sound of her rustling around. The stalks were taller than he was and swayed with the night breeze. After several minutes of running up and down the rows in search of Delphia, who proved elusive, he stopped to catch his breath. He looked around as he panted, but there was no sign of her. The stars had come out and spread over the navy blanket of the sky. A cricket chirped, but the night was quiet. Micky realized he had no idea in which direction the farm lay. He was about to call for her when Delphia burst out and wrapped her arms around him.
“Stop worrying,” she said as if she read his mind, “I know exactly where we are.” Delphia pulled him in for a kiss and he forgot all about getting back to the farm.