My Life A Bit South of Normal

Friday, August 3, 2018

Mrs.McGillicuddy's Twinkles is Up the Tree

The phone rang as Mary Lou sat down. She answered it, Sheriff Quitman's office." She paused, "Yes mam." Pause, "Yes mam. I'm so sorry." Pause. "Mrs. McGillicuddy, I'm not sure what we can do. I can call Chief Pyre and he'll send the ladder truck." Pause. "Oh, you already have? Mrs. McGillicuddy I know you are distraught. Let me get Deputy Mike over to see you." Pause, "Yes, mam." Pause. "Yes mam, you're welcome." Mary Lou rang off.

Mike had only gotten half of the conversation, but with that, he could guess the gist of the problem. "Let me guess, that was Mrs. McGillicuddy and Twinkles is up the tree in her front yard?"

"Bingo!", laughed Mary Lou.

The Sheriff yelled from his office, "I thought Mary Margaret didn't have a cat? Did she get another one?"

"Nope," Mike said as he picked up his keys and cell phone to walk out. "The last time she called, we 'rescued'  'Twinkles'."

As Mike walked out, Mary Lou said, "Good luck."

By the Mike got to Mrs. McGillicuddy's house, Chief Pyre had the ladder truck from the Fire Station backed up with the ladder reaching into the large oak on her lawn. A young man, Mike did not recognize, was up the ladder in the tree.

"Chief, I don't see a cat."

"Just keep looking."

The young man moved over to another side of the tree. Meanwhile Mike approached Chief Pyre, "Twinkles on the loose again?"

"Yep."

"How long have you been here?"

"Not long enough. I'm going to give Mary Margaret about 5 more minutes."

Mike shook his and nodded toward the top of the ladder,"Who's the young man?"

"That's Axson McDermott's son, Bud." The Sheriff paused as he watched the limbs move in the tree. "Didn't much like the wild game business, so I told Axson I could use someone at the station."

Bud came down a few rungs on the ladder, "Sir, I . . ."

The Sheriff just said, "Quiet boy, just wait right there."

Sure enough it wasn't more than a few minutes before Mrs. McGillicuddy came out of the house holding a box. "Oh, Chief, I just found Twinkles. She was asleep on the porch. I swear I looked there but she must have been hiding." She looked into the box, "You're such a naughty cat." She looked at the Fire Chief, "You can go now. I'm going to give this disobedient cat some sardines. You know she loves sardines." With that she turned and headed toward her front door, 'Twinkles' in tow.

"Bud, you can come on down now."

"How many times have you been over here 'looking' for Twinkles?"

"Only twice this month and that's fewer than usual." Chief Pyre shook his head and smiled, "I guess she is lonely."

By this time Bud was down off the ladder and had walked over to where Chief Pyre and Mike stood. "She must have been very upset having lost her cat. My Grandmama was like that. Her life was her 2 cats."

Mike introduced himself, then added,"Wish it were that simple."

Bud gave him a questioning look.

The Chief interjected,"The cat is never in the tree, the cat only exists in Mary Margaret's mind. However, if we come and send someone up there to look for it, miraculously, Twinkles always appears."

"From where? Appears from where?" Bud asked as he pulled the ladder back onto the truck.

"Mary Margaret's mind."

"So she found the cat? That's good right?"

"Yep, that's the idea."

Bud just stood there. "Son, let's go," said the Chief as he climbed into the fire truck.

Mike shook his head, "Chief Pyre can make that cat appear every time."

Mike got in his car and was on his way back to the station when Mary Lou called. "Can you go over and check on the Eldridges? Ellen and Rayanne said they went to visit them, their car was in the drive, but no one was home."

"Sure, I'm only a block away."

Mike made his way over to the Eldridges. He got out of the car. The sisters' car was in the drive. He walked around back to see if anything was amiss. Seeing nothing, he walked back around to the front of the house. 'It's just not same with those little fellows gone,' Mike thought referring to the gnomes, as he walked up the steps to the porch.  He rang the door bell. Noticing the curtain move next to the front door, he was concerned. Then the door opened.

Standing there were Cora and Flora. "Can we help you Deputy?"

"I was just checking on you. Y'all alright? Nothing's wrong is it?"

"No, why would anything be wrong?"

"We got a call at the station from 'Miss' Ella. Apparently when she came to visit you and no one was home."

Flora stepped forward, "Well, as you can see, we are right here."

"And, I'm glad to see it. Can I just come in for a second?"

"Is that necessary?"

"I was wondering if I could get a glass of water while I was here."

Suspiciously, the ladies invited him in. Cora went to the kitchen to get Mike a glass of water. While he waited with Flora, Mike looked around making sure nothing was awry. Cora brought him a tall glass of ice and water. "If Ella and Rayanne weren't such busy bodies, you could have saved your time."

"Thank you, mam." He took a sip or two, handed the glass back to Cora.  "Why do you think Rayanne had anything to do with?"

Flora looked at Cora, then replied,"Let's  just say, just because you're home, doesn't mean you have to answer the door."

Cora added,"All they want is to get into our business. What did you expect us to do, open the door and be rude? We're better than that. If Mama taught us anything, it was not to be rude."

Mike shook his head, "I'm just glad y'all are alright. I'll get Mary Lou to call 'Miss' Ella and let her know there is nothing to worry about." He walked to the door.

He had opened it to leave when Flora spoke up, "Why did you need to come in? I don't think for one moment you were thirsty."

Mike turned around, "To make sure no one was in here holding you hostage?"

Flora was offended,"You think someone could get in here and take us hostage?"

Mike smiled, "Well no." He paused,"But in that case, I needed to make sure you weren't holding anyone else hostage."

"Oh." She paused, "Please tell that nosy Ella, that she doesn't need to 'check up' on us."

Mike said he would, walked out the door, and got into his car. The title 'peace keeper' took on a new dimension in Gallagher. 'I bet deputies in big counties rarely start off their days searching for an imaginary cat, then follow that with a call to settle a skirmish among 4 little ol' ladies.'  

His phone rang. It was Mary Lou again. "I need you to get back. Buck Beaver is in here saying that Colonel Walker tried to kill him?"

"You're making this up?"

"Couldn't if I tried. The Sheriff just left to find the Colonel and get his side of the story."

"What the Hell?"

"No, given Buck's state of mind, it's more like 'For Heaven's Sake'."

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