LITTLE OLD LADY • by Ward Weatherford

No matter how hard she tried, the dust always floated in her house. It glittered about in the early morning sun that pierced the kitchen window. It hung in the air like a fairy born on wings powered, not by gold dust, but a dirty, coal-burning engine leaving ash in its wake. This morning was no different in that accord, but was wholly different in another. She no longer peered through the eyes of a lonely widow in a house with more creaks than conversation. She had guests. The loud talker was quite insistent that she lie down on the floor.

The floor, I just swept it yesterday. But look at that, a whole warren of dust bunnies are hiding under the buffet. I can certainly thank him for showing me that. What was his name, again?

“What is your name, hon?”

“Shaddup, and keep your head down.”

There were two men in her house. One was very loud and the other, a bit younger, nodded and paced about the kitchen.

I should brew some coffee. It just isn’t proper to make a guest drink instant coffee even when they are rude. I could scramble some eggs and fry up a bit of bacon. Harold loved bacon. Before his eyesight fell away and his hearing too, Harold could be loud. He was never rude. He would have surely shooed these fellows off by now. Oh, how I do miss him.

“I say, would you boys like for me to brew up some coffee?”

“If it’ll shut ya up.”

The loud talker, I think his name must be Brodie. The young one keeps calling him ‘Bro.’ I guess they could be brothers. Although, they don’t look at all alike. Bro looks a little like the Farleys’ oldest boy, Matthew. I wonder what happened to him. He was such a bright child.

I have to get up slowly. The doctor calls it ortho- hypo- something. But whatever it is, it makes me dizzy if I get up too fast.

She straightened her robe, put her left slipper back on her foot, and looked uncomfortably at herself.

I normally would not wear such attire for guests. What was I doing? Oh, the coffee.

She measured the grounds for the percolator, filled it with water, and plugged it in. Looking down at the glass bulb she anticipated the sound of the boiling water and contemplated her options.

“What are we gonna do, Bro?”

I still don’t think they’re brothers. Brodie, Broderick, maybe Bronson. He doesn’t look like a Broderick, it must be Brodie. I really don’t think anyone would name their child Bronson.

“Stick to the plan. We hide here. Nobody’ll expect us in this neighborhood. Granny num-num will provide decent cover if we need her.”

He probably wants some eggs. I will go ahead and scramble some eggs.

“I, I, I don’t know. What if she remembers who we are?”

“This lady is so old she probably already forgot we were here.”

“No, Brodie, I am getting the eggs right now for you. Is scrambled okay?”

The loud talker looked over at the younger one and smiled. “Yes ma’am. Scrambled is just fine.”

Finally, some manners. He is one cranky fellow. He might just need a nap. Let’s see what do I have here?

Several amber prescription bottles nestled among the spices in the cabinet. Harold was right. Keeping these here is a might easier.

***

The radio squawked, “815 this is Central. It’s Monday, Mrs. Ramsey pressed her panic button, again.”

“10-4, On my way. Over.”

***

The door bell buzzed, but Mrs. Ramsey didn’t need it. She knew Officer Carlos was at the door. She had just put the dust mop back into the broom closet and noticed him pull into the drive. She straightened her floral patterned dress confident that the house was now presentable for her guest.

He is such a nice young man. “Good morning, Officer Carlos. It took you a long while to get here.” She opened the door fully and waved him into the house. “I have guests today.” She beamed. She couldn’t wait to show him into the kitchen.

“There was a bank robbery on the other side of town. Really, Mrs. Ramsey. You shouldn’t call us every Monday morning. You never know when something might happen to you and you would really need us.”

“Oh, I can handle myself most days. You should really meet these boys in the kitchen.”

Carlos walked into the kitchen. A Community Bank and Trust money bag lay on the counter with a sawed-off shotgun draped over the top of it. Two bank robbers rested their heads on the kitchen table. Carlos drew his gun with a snap and told Mrs. Ramsey to stand back.

“Officer Carlos, there is no need for all that. These boys are sleeping it off.” She smiled at him.

“Mrs. Ramsey, really, step back these guys robbed a bank this morning.”

“I know. Tsk. How indecent of them. Brodie is also cranky and rude.” She patted the man on the shoulder. “I am hoping that this little nap will do him some good.”

Carlos told the men to show their hands. They did not respond.

“You can put that gun away, Carlos. They aren’t going anywhere.” She giggled. “I slipped a couple of my Restoril into their eggs. Would you like some coffee?”

Carlos keyed his radio, “Central this is 815, Mrs. Ramsey is fine and well, she has apprehended our CBT perps.”

He slipped zip-tie cuffs onto the wrists of the sleeping bank robbers. “Mrs. Ramsey, you are one surprising little lady. I’ll take my coffee black. No Restoril, please.”


Ward Weatherford started out life as a zygote. He grow’d his’elf into a kid. Then he became a burger flipper, stock boy, auto mechanic, computer programmer, business owner. Now, he is a Husband, Dad, and Writer. You can check out more of his writing on his blog, where he mumbles about life, the writing process, and throws in a story or two.


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Every Day Fiction