Nelly and Netta stared inside the hole, arms at their sides, heads facing downward.
“Never have I seen anything like that,” Netta said.
“Neither have I,” Nelly said. She stooped down and reached out her hand to touch it.
Netta slapped her arm back and yelled, “Don’t do that! What if it sucks you up like in The Blob?”
Nelly looked up at Netta, her braids sliding across her forehead, almost getting into her eyes. “It’s not alive, Netta.” Nelly got on her knees, causing dust to rise under the skirt of her pink dress and land on her dark brown thighs.
“Nelly, don’t,” Netta whispered.
Nelly said nothing. She reached out her hand toward the hole.
Netta said, “I’m telling you Nelly, I’ve never seen anything like that…” She let her voice trail off, wanting to see what would happen. Soon she said in a low voice, “Momma’s gonna be mad at me if something happens to you.”
Nelly’s hand slowly went inside the hole’s opening, her index and middle fingers slightly twitching. “Nothing’s going to happen, Netta,” Nelly said, her voice sounding far away. “You see? It’s not moving.” Nelly’s hand went fully inside the hole, her two fingers touching it. “It’s smooth and soft, not warm like something living.”
“Is it cold?” Netta asked, moving a little closer to see Nelly’s hand inside the hole.
“No.” Nelly said.
“Well, if it’s not warm and it’s not cold, what is it? Hot?” Netta asked, getting impatient.
After a moment, Nelly said, “It’s like butter that’s been out the fridge.”
Netta looked closer at it. “Any get on your fingers?” She asked.
“It’s not like butter that gets soft and melts. What I'm saying is, it’s not warm or cold, but like the butter in the morning that mom leaves out for our toast.”
“Oh,” Netta said. “Do you think it’s worth anything?”
“We’re not selling it!”
“Not even for two new bicycles since ours broke?” Netta asked. She quieted when Nelly began digging it out of the dirt. “It still feels like butter?” She asked. “It doesn’t look nothing like butter. It looks like a cheek that got banged up and swollen, like when Dwayne Williams beat up Harpo Jones. You know he had to see a doctor?”
“Shush, Netta. It’s not butter!”
“Then what is it?” Netta huffed out.
Nelly stood up, dusted the dirt from her knees, and stared at it resting in the palm of her hand. “It’s beautiful,” she said with wonder.
Netta walked close to Nelly, facing her, and looked down at it. Her right hand rose to touch it, paused, then continued on.
Nelly closed her fingers around it and pulled away. “It’s not yours and you can’t touch it! I got it out, so it’s mine.” Nelly turned and ran away.
Surprised, Netta called after her, “What you yelling at me for, Nelly?” Nelly kept running. Before she got too far, Netta saw something move up Nelly’s arm, the one holding it, and spread around to her shoulder and back. Netta shrieked and cried out, “Nelly! What’s that on you?”
~ To Be Continued ~