Enjoy an except from the Wind at my Back novel, Something from Nothing. The full book is available digitally on Amazon, iTunes and other popular eBook stores.

Chapter Two

The next afternoon, the boys resolved to talk to their grandmother and try to make her see that their mother belonged with them. But they knew they would have to work hard to crack Grandmother’s stubbornness. To this end, they recruited their Aunt Grace to help them. Grace, in her thirties, was unmarried and still living at home with her mother. Too many years with such a powerful personality had made Grace unsure of herself and inclined to give in. However, all her own struggles with her mother made her understand exactly what the boys were going through. From the first moment they arrived she had been staunchly on their side, always doing her best to help them when she could. Today she was rehearsing a speech that she hoped would persuade her mother to relax her attitude towards Honey and end their feud. Fat, decked out in May’s knitted shawl and her glasses, was doing a good imitation of May’s uncompromising tones, while Hub made up the audience. “Don’t slouch,” Fat piped, catching exactly the way May lifted her chin imperiously. “Now what did you want to talk to me about?” “I’m not slouching, Mother,” Grace returned. Slender, with delicate features, Grace had a lively, impish charm all her own when she dared let it show. “Honey has fallen on some tough times and I think that she should move in with us. It would be better for the boys.” “I’m perfectly capable of deciding what’s good for those boys,” Fat argued back, sounding more than ever like May in a persnickety mood. “You’re slouching again.” Fat had a flair for the dramatic. His mimicry was so good that Grace, sitting at the well-scrubbed kitchen table, straightened involuntarily and was annoyed to find herself jumping to attention that way. “Mother, you’re not listening to me,” she responded. They all failed to notice May, who had appeared in the doorway behind them carrying a basket of green beans. Her stern eye fell on Fat, who was flourishing her very own walking stick with rather too much gusto. “What are you doing with my cane?” She was none too pleased to find her personal belongings being used as theatrical props. All of them turned with a start. Very quickly, Fat slithered from underneath the shawl. “Uh we were just practicing …“ He cast about for a suitable story, but when he couldn’t think of one, he fell back on the truth. “We were practicing for Aunt Grace to try to convince you to let Mom move in with us,” he blurted out. If May was startled, she didn’t show it. “Well, you’ve certainly chosen a novel technique,” she returned tartly. “Mom got laid off in North Bridge again,” Hub explained. “She had to move to the city. Could you at least talk to her?” May moved on into the kitchen and set her basket down by the sink. Under her very tidy gray hair, her face was expressionless. “Your mother is very proud. She wouldn’t be willing to move in here and accept our charity.” “Well, she might have,” Grace put in accusingly, “if she hadn’t been asked to leave in the first place.” May ignored this comment so pointedly that Grace threw up her hands and stormed out of the room. When, she wondered, would anything she said ever be listened to? “I’m sorry your mother is having difficulties,” May said evenly to the boys. “I’m not without Christian charity I did take the two of you in, didn’t I?” “Yeah,” muttered Hub mutinously, “so you could hold us prisoner.” May swung ponderously around, just like a battleship that has been fired upon and is turning for the attack. Hub had struck a nerve with a woman who had a much better grasp of the harsh realities of life than he did. May was, after all, a woman who had kept the Bailey silver mine going after her husband had been killed and who had been ruling the Bailey clan with an iron hand ever since. She strode over and took Hub firmly by the shoulder, and for a second Hub thought that she was about to give him a vigorous shaking. “If you believe that, young man, you’d best come along with me.” She marched Hub smartly out into the hallway. “The best remedy for you would be a job. Now you wait right there!” “Good,” cried Hub, as May turned to go upstairs to get her purse. “I want a job! Then I can help my Mom and get outta here!” “Hey, I want a job too!” Fat chimed in, trotting after them. Ever since he could remember, he had wanted to do whatever his older brother did. Hub shot Fat a warning look. He was deadly serious about working to make some real money, but Fat was too young, he’d just get in the way. With her bib apron off and her feathered hat on, May returned and hustled Hub out into the car. The next thing Hub knew, the stately vehicle was pulling up outside the headquarters of the Silver Dome mine, at the edge of town. This was a single-story wooden building surrounded by all the rock heaps and machinery and activity that go with mining. Hub looked around him with interest as May led him inside. “Oh, great!” he exclaimed. “I want to work in the mining office, Grandmother.” May let out a well-bred snort. “You haven’t earned that privilege yet,” she returned severely. “But it’s time you learned some responsibility. You’ll need it someday.” When they reached the inner office, Hub’s Uncle Bob, who managed the mine, looked up from his desk with surprise and uncertainty. Clearly, he was wondering what on earth had brought on this unexpected visit. “Hello, Mother! Is there a problem?” Bob was a pleasant, slightly harried-looking fellow in a brown business suit. A less handsome version of his brother, he lacked the fire of rebellion that had caused so much trouble between Jack and their mother. Bob’s patient obedience had earned him the job of mine manager, but he always knew that May was still the real boss. “This grandson of mine thinks he’s being mistreated,” May informed him. “I want you to find him a job.” “Yeah, a real job,” Hub added emphatically, drawing himself up to his full height and doing his best to look like someone capable of a hard day’s work. “Oh, he’ll find you a real job all right,” May rapped out. As Hub stepped away, May turned on her heel to leave. “Just don’t kill him,” she cautioned in a quick aside to Bob. Bob did as instructed, though with how much effort, Hub never knew. He performed the magic of actually finding Hub a paying job at a time when paying jobs were scarcer than green chickens. …

Does reading this portion of the novel give you additional insight into the actions that occur in the television version of this episode?