(I'm struggling with the timeline. This is out of order and needs a continuity revision.)
“Those pump-action shotguns are like min-cannons they are so powerful! A lot more bang than the souped up BB gun I’d been using. Thanks, Mr. Uselman!” Sören shook his employer’s hand and left with a swing in his stride. Ahead he saw Becky’s brunette curls hanging from under her knit cap. The autumn air, while refreshing, also chilled.“Hey, Becky! Wait up!,” he called, but to his surprise and embarrassment, his voice broke mid-sentence. I sound like a frog, he thought self-consciously.
Becky noted his changing voice, but knew it’d be a while before the 14 year old was as grown up as an adult. She was glad he wasn’t a man, not yet anyway. Her cousin had enlisted with the US Air Force as soon as he’d turned 18 and that was over two years ago. She wondered if her adopted country would be able to stay out of the war. Seemed like all of Europe was engulfed in it.
“You look chipper today, Sören, what’s your secret?” Becky asked as he drew close to where she waited under the oak tree.
“Aww, I was sure Mr. Uselmann was going to chew me out back there. I’d wasted two whole shots trying to take down a pair of pesky crows that was stealing his corn. Instead he showed me how to use his new shotgun and Becky does that shooter have a kick to it! Plus it took out both birds with one squeeze of the trigger!”
Sören looked at his friend with bright eyes before remembering that she wasn’t fond of shooting animals and especially not crows. “Sören, I hardly know what to say,” the tender-hearted girl replied, “but I’m sure it’s good to not waste ammunition. I wonder if you’ll even be able to keep doing that chore for Mr. Uselmann. Pa says they’re going to start rationing metal and bullets next.”
Sören considered her words. “You know, I like the money and I do like target-shooting, but birds aren’t targets. I don’t like the killing part. I guess it’ll be for the best if that chore ends. You know, Becks, it’s a little scary how the government is making us save stuff or not use rubber and gun powder. Far said that his cousins in California have a curfew! I don’t like the authorities to take so much control.”
Becky began to walk home, turning up the collar on her coat. “It makes me feel safer, Sören, when the government does stuff like that for our own good.”
“Yeah, but how does the government know what’s best for me,” he protested. “They don’t even know me!”
“We’re their citizens, Sören. Just like your pa knows what’s best for you so does the government.”
Sören didn’t argue that logic, but his heart twisted up a bit. His far didn’t know how he wanted to be a writer not a farmer when he grew up. He didn’t know how Sören was already hanging out at the newspaper office looking for ways to help. One thing pappa did know, Sören admitted to himself, was how much they both loved polskas and making music.