Tuesday morning Colonel Walker came in the Rental office to announce that he had gotten permission from the Mayor to continue his search for General Kirby. He was only waiting for the Judge to sign off on the Order of Exhumation. Della and Bunny congratulated him. Bunny asked,"Just one favor Colonel."
"OK George, one favor, please let us know when you start digging."
"You want to come watch?"
"No, I have to work. But I know our phones will be going nuts with people asking what is going on at the Eldridges."
"Yes mam, I'll let you know." He nodded his head, put his hat back on, and said "Ladies", as he walked out of the door.
Terse called to say he would be in town later that week. "I want to take you to lunch, I owe you some answers."
"Well, I don't know about that but it will be nice to see you." They talked for a few more minutes and rang off.
Bunny told Della that Terse was coming back to town later that week. "I don't know why, but I've missed him," Bunny said. "It's not like I saw a lot of him when he was here," she laughed. "Della, how about have Larry check on Terse's place just to make sure everything is OK."
"Will do," Della said as she picked up the phone.
Vivian walked into the reception area from her office which was down the hall, just past Bunny's. She handed Della some papers. "These are the company's expenses for last month. If you have any questions, let me know. Since it is the first time I've done them, you may have some questions," she paused, "or suggestions." Della assured her they would be fine and she would look at them.
Larry walked in and looked at Della, "You rang?"
"Larry sometime today can you check on Terse's place. He's going to be back in town this week and we want to make sure nothing has happened since he's been gone."
"That's great news. I'll go by there this afternoon."
Vivian looked at Della,"Can I ask, who is Terse?"
Bunny laughed,"He is a real good looking guy that lives on the top floor of 112 Oak Street. Terse has been gone for a while. It'll be nice to have him back home."
"Is he from Gallagher?"
"No, actually he is from Mobile."
The door opened and Mike walked in. "Bunny you may want to see this?"
"What's going on at the Eldridges. Come on, I'll give you a ride."
Bunny grabbed her phone and left with Mike. As they turned onto Magnolia, Bunny could see a back hoe and several folks milling around. Mike parked the car and they walked over to the house. A good portion of the front yard was dug up with mounds of dirt about. Colonel Walker was talking to Cora Eldridge while Flora stood on the steps.
"What's going on?" Bunny asked.
"Looks like General Kirby wasn't here either."
"So what are they going to do?"
"The Colonel wants to dig in the backyard now. And the Eldridges aren't having any part of it."
Mike and Bunny just stood across the street and watched.The Colonel walked over. "Bunny is there anything you can do?"
Bunny thought for a minute. "Let me see what I can."
"I'd be much obliged," the Colonel said and walked back across the street.
Mike looked at Bunny, "And just what do you have in mind?"
"Wade," she said as she called her boss and gave him the short version of the situation.
"And, you are interrupting me about this. Bunny, don't you have better things to do?"
"Well Wade, I had to ask . . ."
Wade started howling,"You know I am kidding. Bunny you know as well as I do, it is not their backyard, it is mine. Their lease plainly states I can go on the premises at any time, as long as I give them notice," he paused to laugh again. "Besides, given the tenacity of Colonel Walker, we may as well get this done with before he petitions the court. I'll be right over. Just don't say anything about talking to me."
Bunny told Mike what Wade had said and they waited. Meanwhile the Eldridge twins were holding their ground. The Colonel was once again explaining their yard would be as good as new by the following day. He had given them his word.
Wade drove up, parked, and walked up to the front porch. Cora said, "Well thank goodness you are here Mr. Gallagher. Will you please tell this man," she pointed to the Colonel,"that he may not go in my backyard, much less dig it up."
"Well, Cora, maybe he cannot, but I can. The lease that both of you signed years ago granted me permission to go anywhere on the premises, any time I wanted to do, after giving you notice."
Flora piped up, "Well you haven't given notice."
Wade smiled and started walking around the house, "Consider this your notice." The fence on the right side did not have a gate, nor was there a gate on the left side. "Ladies, I'm afraid I will need to walk through the house to access the back yard." He started up the front porch steps. Then he paused, "Now if your issue was having to take down the fence, I am sure that the Colonel's promise to restore the yard would also include the fence."
The twin ladies were not fazed by his comment. Their expression showed that did not matter, they were not happy. Wade opened the front door and went in. The collection of gnome and gnome paraphernalia was overwhelming. It was if 100's of little eyes were watching him. He made his way through the den into the kitchen, which was very tidy, albeit the gnome decorations. The back door opened to concrete steps to the yard. As he stepped onto the grass, he saw nothing amiss - besides a 100 or so gnomes lounging in beds, hanging in trees, playing in birds bathes, everywhere he looked.
He walked around. There was a lean-to with an old lawnmower in it as well as several yard tools and old pots. Beside that there was a potting bench with more pots sitting on it. There was a stack of firewood, a wheel barrow, and a pile of trash. Looking at the trash, Wade saw it was just burlap sacks, old bottles, and other miscellaneous items mixed with fresh grass clippings from the lawn mower.
A wooden yard house, in very poor condition, sat in the back corner. There was an old bicycle leaning up against it. Wade didn't remember the building being there, but it had been years since he had been on this property. God knows how long the Eldridges had lived there. Looking at the piles of trash, worn out yard tools and equipment - it had been a long time. Out of curiosity, he tried the door. It wasn't locked. He opened it.
The room was dark so he had to open the door as wide as possible to let enough light in to see into the room. Wade just stood in the doorway, looked around, turned, and closed the door. He made his way back through the house. He nodded at the twins as he stepped off the front porch. He crossed the street to where Bunny and Mike stood.
"Mike, you may want to come with me. There's something back there I think you would be interested in." He looked at Bunny. "Just stay here. It won't take long."
As Wade and Mike made their way back across the street, the Colonel approached them. "Is there any reason we cannot dig back there?"
"No, I don't see why not. But because of a few obstacles, it may be a day or two before you can get back there."
The Colonel turned around to talk with his excavators. Wade and Mike made their way through the house, pass the gnomes, and into the backyard.