@Annet
Annet.RU
Terrible! Terrible! Terrible!!!
That’s not enough that all my sister’s family went down with virus flu.
That’s not enough that I got infected as well!
That’s not enough that I also got pink eye infection!
That’s not enough that the doctor in the policlinic refused to see me though I said I was going to pay to be seen without waiting in line!
That’s not enough that I had to go to paid clinic and their oculist prescribed me eye drops which cost a fortune!
That’s not enough that those both eye drops caused a terrible allergy to my eyes and eyelids that I was looking in the mirror and hoped I was only sleeping and watching a nightmare, that it wasn’t MY reflection there…
That’s not enough that I had to go and see oculist again, to spend lots of money for other eye drops, an ointment and antiallergic pills.
That’s not enough I had to wash my hands twenty four times a day, before and after each treatment for my eyes.
That’s not enough that I had to wash and iron towels and bed-linen hardly using them!
That’s not enough I had to stay home while there was a winter’s tale outside, 32F and snowing as never before!
That’s not enough I couldn’t read, use the computer or watch TV for a week!
It’s strange that there were not enough of unfortunate events for me.
I got my spectacle’s rim broken today! One side which is put on ear got off. My glasses served me for two years. Really I expected them to be on my nose for much longer as being a good German trade mark. Alas! If I didn’t try to get a new pair of glasses not long ago I wouldn’t get so upset. I just couldn’t find a good rim that would fit my face nice. Oh, really I laughed when I saw spectacle’s side broken!
As Russian saying goes-I am going to be a blind kitten for a while. Though English saying is as blind as a bat.
Hahahahaha an electric bulb I bought and changed today burnt a minute ago! hahahahahahaha



---

Sven stoked the furnace until early afternoon when the Valencia docked. He watched from the rail as twelve miners unloaded supplies. The others stayed on ship. He watched Lt. Castner, with Capt. Glenn and six more soldiers, walk down the gangplank.
“Are you Sven?” a smiling black-haired soldier asked him.
“Yes, Sir.”
“Off you go. Lieutenant Castner asked me to give you this, and to tell you to return home. ‘Alaska’s no place for a boy by himself,’ the lieutenant said. Get yourself a place for sleep and a bath, and food, and catch the first ship to Seattle. Lieutenant said there should be enough money.” He handed Sven a small leather pouch, pulled shut and wrapped around with a long drawstring.
“Thank you, and thank Lieutenant Castner,” Sven said and walked down the gangplank. He stopped on the dock and peered at the coins in the pouch. He walked into Haines and looked for a place to sleep and, especially, for a place to take a bath.
“Eke! Get out!” a woman screamed as he stepped through her door.
Sven stepped backward. “Your sign says ‘Room, Board, and Bath.’ I need all three.”
“The bath first. In the shed out back. You are the dirtiest young man that ever stepped through my door.”
Sven ran around the boarding house to a small shed. A metal stove had water heating on it. A wooden tub stood on the floor.
The woman stuck her head in a window. “Use all the water you need. Do you have clean clothes?”
Sven nodded.
“Good. Then scrub those you are wearing. Don’t want that dirt in my house. Come in for dinner when you are clean.”
“Thank you, Ma’am.” Sven stripped and scrubbed until he felt clean enough to enter the house.

---

After a comfortable night’s sleep in a bed and a hearty breakfast, Sven walked toward the dock. He had a new plan for finding his father. Since Lt. Castner was determined to reach Circle City, somehow, he would go with the lieutenant.
Sven waited in the mist near the dock. His hope for reboarding the Valencia depended on his disguise. He wore two pair of canvas trousers, his sweater and two plaid shirts under his Mackinaw. His food filled duffel bag under his shirts provided a large lumpy stomach. His slicker covered his odd heavy shape. Soot from the boarding house fireplace, dabbed unto his cheeks and chin, was meant to look like a stubbly beard. With collar up and knit cap pulled down, he might look like an old man.
The first test of Sven’s disguise came as the sun, rising over the mountains, filtered through the mist. Lt. Castner and another officer walked past inches from where he sat on a barrel.
“It’s a waste of time,” the other officer said. “Those reindeer will not be any healthier tomorrow than they were yesterday.”
“We need them for pack animals, Lowe,” Lt. Castner said. “We only have sick mules coming from Dyea.”
“Sick mules, sick reindeer,” Lowe said. “We all will be carrying our own packs.”
Sven sighed with relief. Lt. Castner had only glanced at him.
He watched a small ship edge toward the dock. On its deck stood several mules and five horses. As a gangplank was lowered from its deck, a dock level hatch was opened into the hold of the Valencia.
A civilian and four soldiers began leading the animals toward the gangplank.
“Stupid mules, move,” one of the soldiers said and swore. “Dillon, I need some help.”
“Got my hands full,” the civilian replied. He led two mules down the gangplank.
Sven ran toward the small ship. His success with mules on the family farm when they lived in Minnesota could be useful. He hurried to the deck.
In a deep, rough voice, Sven said, “Here, Soldier, let me help. I am good with animals. He grabbed the lead ropes of the stubborn mules.
“Come on, mules,” he spoke softly into the mules’ ears and rubbed their noses. “Let’s go. Come now.” He backed down the gangplank with the mules following. On the dock he took a lead rope in each hand and, still talking, led the mules into the Valencia.
With the large hatch open, Sven saw what he had not seen before. What felt like fences were stalls for mules, horses, and reindeer, and a large pile of hay. He followed Dillon into a stall and handed him the lead ropes.
“I’ll get hay,” Sven said gruffly.
He forked hay into the feed racks before the horses and mules. As he did he dug a hole into the side of the hay pile. With no one watching, he pulled hay down over the hole and burrowed into his snug hiding place. He removed his slicker and a layer of clothes before lying down.

---

Loud talking awakened Sven.
“Close the hatch. We can’t wait any longer.”
“The Norwegians agreed to have the reindeer here.”
“We will go without them. The tide is going out and we sail with the tide. Close the hatch.”
“Drat it all.” The hatch banged shut. “Now all we have for pack animals are sick mules and horses.”
Sven smiled as he listened to the familiar throb of the engine and felt the Valencia move. He stretched his legs and felt for a biscuit in his duffel bag.