the help

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Chapter 1 The Help

I come from a long line of farmers... I have been a farmer my entire life. My dad was a farmer, my granddad, and great granddads before him were all farmers. It's what we Mellark's are good at; putting seed in the ground and watching it grow, raising and taking care of animals, driving tractors, whatever… we were good at it. So just a year ago, when my father decided to sell his farm, I didn't know what to do with myself. I thought I was going to run his farm one day. I was disappointed, angry even, that my father sold it to someone we barely knew. But now I realize my anger also came from another situation beyond my, or anyone else's control. He had his reasons of course, having medical bills to pay for after my brother Richie got sick. He doesn't have to worry about that now. Our prosperous farm sold faster than you can say sweetcorn. All of Richie's medical bills were paid off, including the funeral costs, and then some. Mom and Dad could finally relax, although who can really relax after the pain of losing a child. They bought a small house in Smithville and settled in, while I was bored out of my mind.

I just wasn't used to doing absolutely nothing. I was born to farm and born to use my hands, not sit on my ass. So every week for the last year, I stopped at the only gas station in Smithville and checked the classifieds for potential jobs. And finally, on a Monday morning, I finally saw a phone number worth dialing...

"Local Farm- Looking for a strong worker; field work, milking cows, feeding animals. Must be willing to work long hours in any weather conditions. Experience appreciated. Good pay; food and housing included. Call 555-2681 for more information."

I read it over and over again until I memorized the phone number and standing in the parking lot of the gas station, I dialed the number that was about to change my life forever.

"Hello!" A man's voice bellowed after it rang and rang.

There was alot of noise in the background that I recognized at tractors running.

"Hey, I'm calling about the ad in the county paper… about the job opening," I say, reaching my empty hand to remove my hat to scratch my head, a nervous habit.

"Yeah, yeah, great! Hang on, let me turn the tractor off so I can hear you," the man says and then I hear it quiet in the background. "Alright, what's your name?"

"Peeta, Peeta Mellark," I answer, knowing that he would know my last name.

"Mellark, huh? Mellark Farms?"

"That's right," I say, holding my breath.

"Alright, well, come on by this afternoon," he says eventually, "Everdeen Farms, ever hear of us?"

"No, sir, I haven't."

"Alight, we're five miles west of Milledgeville, go straight out of town on County Road D and then take a left on Everdeen Road... big white house with lots of buildings around about at 3:00?

"Okay, sure will, thanks alot, sir," I confirm, letting out a breath of relief.

"Just pull in the driveway and me or Gale will be in the shed, there's plenty of room to park," he says.

I thank him one more time before hanging up and then hop into my silver Dodge pickup truck and take off down the road. I go home to tell my parents about the job and have some lunch. Mom and Dad are pretty happy for me when I tell them about the Everdeens's farm opportunity.

"Everdeen, you said?" Dad asks me as I bite into my ham sandwich.

I nod in response.

"I think one of my old friends from high school married an Everdeen, but can't be sure... haven't seen or heard of her in years," Dad goes on.

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