Whack! Andy slaps his notebook on Mr. K’s desk in a futile effort to smash the pesky mosquito that has been sampling blood from all of them.
The Colonel smirks at his miss. “Colonel Chapa thinks the hundred goldfish he donated for the concrete basin at San Pedro Springs will cure the mosquito problem. The goldfish will just wind up as appetizers for the alligator contributed by Henry Landa.”
“That poor specimen of a reptile has been rendered too helpless to snap them up in his jaws,” says Mr. K. “The cruel schoolboys torture the poor creature. Every time he surfaces to sun on the banks, they harass him with sticks and rocks. Poked one of his eyes out. No. The solution for the mosquito problem is bats. We need bats.”
Pealing bells from the first mission awaken Hedda from a deep sleep. The discordant clangs are unlike the melodic chimes from the bell towers downtown.
Dr. Herff claims the bells of St. Mark’s on Travis Park were forged from cannon used in the Battle of the Alamo. If only Kaiser Wilhelm would assign such a peaceful purpose to his arsenal.
Like roosters at the crack of dawn, these mission bells call people to worship early. Every Sunday.
She loves Sundays. Sundays are hers. Unlike the rest of the week, she is not confined at home on the off-chance Otto might find an opportunity to escape his increasingly abundant business, social or family obligations. Lately, she does not hear from him for days. Yet he remains adamant she not work.
“You never think of buttons much, Andy,” says Mr. K examining a small white one in his hand that should be attached at the collar of his shirt, “until one is missing.”
“I have a spare shirt for you in my office. Would you like for me to get it now or right before your lunch meeting?”
“After I meet with the Colonel will be fine,” answers Mr. K, still contemplating the button. “Iowa had a flourishing button industry. They carved pearl buttons from clamshells. Then the button workers went out on strike for a year or two. The shortage of those clam buttons made people realize the importance of the lowly button.”