Under the Sun

Tommy sat on the steps of the tractor and scanned the horizon toward the Lees’ house. A gust blew through the crop by the north fence line and sifted toward him, sweeping up dust in its path. The more it moved through the field, the more the heat, reflecting off the yellow wheat, pushed the air up and around itself into a dust devil that sucked chaff and fallen stalks into the air. The devil swirled around him in the road and finally dropped the chaff it carried into the thin stand of wheat behind him. The grain withered in the drought and wouldn’t make as many bushels as it should. Tommy’s stomach growled.

Billowing dust gathered along the county road, and sun glinted off a windshield. The brown pickup fishtailed, barreling down the road with a wake of dust spreading out over the wheat. The tires bounced along the road, and Maggie peered through the steering wheel. She slid to a stop next to the tractor, and the dust silted onto the beards of wheat. Maggie waited inside the cab until the dirt settled, and then jumped out carrying a lunchbox and a thermos.

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