Domo (Domonique) Hudson stood in line as the overworked clerk processed the people standing in front of him. The clerk was one of a half dozen working under a tent. Each clerk had half a table and several cardboard boxes they were using as files.
The refugee camps that held the portions of the Cali invasion force that had been too sick to attack Los Angeles and San Diego were being demobilized. Approximately two-thirds of the camp had been already been dispersed and today was the day that Domo was scheduled to be “out-processed”.
The bored lady looked up at him briefly. “Name, age, home-town and preference.” she stated.
“Domonique Philomen Hudson, 22, LA. I don’t know what you mean by preference.” he said.
She looked through her records and found him. “Preference: Do you want to be repatriated or stay in Sedelia. What you gotta know is that you cannot stay in Sedelia unless you have a family member who vouches to provide you with housing for a minimum of 2 months. That is why this goat festival is taking so long. We gotta find your folks and check with them if you wanna stay in Sedelia.”
“I wanna stay on the farm and work in the mixing house.” Domo said.
At that, the woman snapped into focus. This was something out of the ordinary. “What?”
“I overheard Martha saying you needed workers, that all of the ‘students’ left. I wanna stay here and help.” Domo said.
“Martha who?” the woman asked.
“Short woman. Maybe thirty. Always smiling. Never stops moving. Cardenas, I think. Martha Cardenas.” Domo guessed.
“Can she vouch for you?” the woman asked. Martha was one of her buddies and she would certainly check it out. Martha would be tickled to hear that Domo thought she was 30. Martha was thirty-six on her last birthday.
“I think so. Her and that scare-crow guy, whatzisname…Kenny, I think they will vouch for me.” Domo said.
“I am pretty sure ‘that scarecrow guy’ is a little bit too busy to vouch for you, but I will check with Martha. Come back tomorrow at 9:00 AM sharp.” the harried woman said.
At 9:00 there was a man waiting to pick up Domo. Martha had vouched for him. In fact, Escutia Farms was “on its ass” for lack of help.
Walking back to the mixing room the man, Bruce, asked “What is it that you think you wanna do?”
Domo was surprised. “Anything you tell me to do. You want me to pull weeds; I pull weeds. You want me to clean trailers; I clean trailers. I am here to work.” Domo said.
“Why did you want to work in the mixing room. Seems like an odd choice.” Bruce persisted.
Domo smiled a wide, slow, lazy smile. “I like food. My mama is a cook and she taught me about food. Someday I hope to be able to mess around in a kitchen and play around with flavors. Looked around and thought the mixing room might have a test kitchen.”
Bruce grunted. “First you gotta prove you are a worker before you get any privileges. Guess we will see if you got what it takes.
By the end of the second day they had figured out Domo was the real deal. He asked questions when he did not understand. Once he got started he worked steady until the job was done. Domo was a pleasant surprise compared to most of the conscripts from the city who had been assigned to Escutia Farms in the past.
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