"That's precisely why I'm going, Norma. What if something happens to Papa? Who will look after the family? He needs someone to help him and since I'm the eldest, I guess it's up to me."
"But war is men's business. A woman has no place there!"
"Which is why I'm not going as a woman. Here, take these scissors. You might as well make yourself useful if you're not going to leave me in peace. This mane needs to go or I won't be fooling anyone."
"Your hair? You want me to cut your hair? But... it's your hair! Girls across town would kill to have it!"
"Maybe you can sell it to the highest bidder, then. Come on, Norma, stop snivelling and get cutting, or I'll do it myself and look a complete fright."
"I don't think it'll matter who cuts it, you'll still look a fright. But I might as well save you from cutting off your ear on accident."
"That's my girl. Buck up, don't be so pouty! It's a grand adventure!"
"If you say so. But..."
"'But' what now?"
"People kill each other in wars. You might have to kill someone."
"I just might."
"But how can you think of such a thing? Another person, even if they're the enemy? I can't even kill a chicken for stew!"
The stocky girl looked at herself in the mirror, straightening her coat. The clothes were perfect, the binding across her small breasts giving her a broader chest that matched her shoulders. Only her hair, swinging down her back in a long chestnut braid, marred the effect. Over her shoulder, she saw Norma's pale face, freckles standing out against her skin. The scissors were clutched in her thin hands.
"I'll just have to do what I have to," Katie replied, as much to the reflection in the mirror as to her sister. "Whatever it takes."
TweetsofOld: Otto Schaeffer, former Civil War soldier, was killed by lightning in Kansas. The Coroner has disclosed that he was a woman. (Arizona, 1896)