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“I want to know about Joseph McGregor.”

Mr. Himmel’s eyes widened and then narrowed as he glared at her, his breath coming and exhaling from his nostrils as he kept his thin-lipped mouth shut.

“Get out,” he almost hissed, gripping the wheels of his chair, looking as though he might run her down where she stood. Maggie didn’t figure he could knock a child down, much less her. Any strength that was left in his wasted limbs would no doubt fade before he got halfway.

“I want to know, about Joseph, McGregor,” she said, drawing the sentence out as she continued to stare at him from the doorway. She didn’t really want to go in, his room smelled like a cross between disinfectant and some sweet, pungent aroma she couldn’t place. But she didn’t want to look around to see if she was being watched either. It wouldn’t do to earn a black mark on her record for this, especially as it might seem as though she was harassing an elderly citizen.

“What do you want to know about the miserable mick?” Himmel managed to snap at her, “That he was a thief, or a liar?”

“Start from the beginning,” Maggie said, standing her ground.

“I might yell,” he said with a sneer, “That would end your fact finding quickly, wouldn’t it you little wetback?”

She’d never been called a racial slur in her life, though she’d heard plenty of them. That a man who’d once been a Nazi soldier would dare to do so should have enraged her, but in truth it almost made her laugh.

“I was born here,” she said plainly with a mild grin, “I never had to sneak in.”

“I’ll bet your parents did, or your grandparents,” he said, still leering at her, “Did they swim or run across the border you sad little sp-“

“I’m fourth generation,” she interrupted with a smile, “And I still want to know about Joseph McGregor.”

The look he gave her in return was priceless, since she’d never see a person’s face turn cherry red in two seconds flat.

(to be continued)

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