When Lena’s cell phone was dropped on the kitchen table for the second time, Bette and Audrey looked first at the phone, then at each other, then at the two other women in the room, who were now pacing and wringing their hands. Directly, Lena dashed out of the kitchen to collect her husband’s handgun from the bedroom. This left Maureen to answer the questions from the pair who hadn’t had the opportunity to hear the startling news and drop the phone.

In absolute chorus and darn-near harmony, Audrey and Bette belted out, “What happened?! What’s going on?!”

Maureen, with many years of leadership experience and coolness under pressure, replied, “Ah-ah-ah-uh-uh…!”

Then, taking a calming big breath of air, she started again, “The police are on their way here. The Village Marauder is quite possibly headed our way, with his brother and some woman. We have to stay locked inside the house and get Joe’s handgun to use as protection!”

Audrey plopped down in the nearest kitchen chair, crossed her arms tightly across her chest and began to rock. “Nope, nope, nope,” she said, quietly.

Bette’s eyes were open about half again as wide as usual. She paused for a few seconds, then blurted out, “I have to pee!” With that, she left the room.

Lena made her re-entry into the kitchen carrying Joe’s handgun. She placed it carefully on the table, whirled and left on a secondary mission. This time she came back carrying a baseball bat, a heavy candlestick and a can of wasp spray. She plunked those down on the counter and opened the drawer. The butcher knife she pulled out must have been at least fourteen inches long. She laid it beside the rest of her artillery on the counter. The pistol on the table would be the weapon of choice, with all the other items available for use by any females there who might be afraid to blow someone away with a firearm.

“Ladies spread out and check all the doors and windows!” she yelled. “Everything must be locked. And close the curtains!”

Audrey pulled herself together and rose from the chair. Without a word, she headed to the nearest window and started the work of securing all points of entry in the house.

“Where’s Bette?” asked Lena. From inside the hall bathroom, she heard Bette’s voice. “Sorry, Lena! My bladder panicked!”

Just then, the sound of two police cars sliding to a stop in Lena’s driveway came. They had arrived without sirens, so it’s a good thing that Audrey happened to see them as she was securing one of the windows. “The cops are here!” she announced loudly.

“Praise the Lord!” Lena hollered, swinging the front door open to welcome Warm Springs Village’s Finest.

The Chief hurried inside, while Marla Jo made one fast circuit around the exterior of the house to ensure that no intruders had arrived. She joined the Chief and the foursome of hyper-alert ladies whose average heart rate was around a hundred and ten beats per minute at this juncture.

“Let’s all go into the interior-most room of the house and have a conference, ladies,” said the Chief, striving to use his most soothing tone of voice. I have two other officers watching the house from nearby. Everything is being handled.”

He knew that was not exactly true. The ladies knew it wasn’t exactly true. But, it made them feel a little better for him to say it.

By this time, Norman, Ruston, and Missy, a.k.a. Madame Zsa Zsa, were fifteen miles out of town and wasting no time increasing the distance between themselves and Warm Springs Village. Missy was driving and Norman was giving her instructions as to where to take this pink Cadillac full of fleeing “suspects.”

Ruston was still reeling from the sudden turn of events, and all he could say was, “Mama died, Norman. She died still poor.”

Norman could really only handle one crisis at a time, so he just said, “We’ll talk about it later, Ruston. We are kind of in a situation, here.”

“You’re darn right we’re in a situation, Norman!” Missy said, with the grit and irritation in her voice dropping her tone by a good octave. “I’m a nurse, Norman. I make good money and I have a good reputation in the medical community. This little escapade could cost me everything!”

Norman put his hands over his ears and lowered his head. “What have I done?” he moaned, softly. “I am a worthless idiot.”

Missy eased her foot up slightly from the accelerator, hoping Norman wouldn’t notice them slowing down. She felt a wave of pity come over her.

She reached out her right hand and patted his shoulder. “Norman, let’s pull over at a rest area and talk, okay?”

He nodded, weakly. “Okay,” he said. “Ruston will be fine with that, too, right, Ruston?”

Ruston quietly answered, “Sure.”

The sign they had just passed said, “Rest Area One Mile Ahead.” In a couple of minutes, they were parked under a big, shady tree, breathing in the free air and soaking up the sunshine. They all knew that soon they might be deprived of those
two very important commodities.

After a few minutes, Norman turned to Missy and said, “You know, Madame Zsa Zsa, I don’t believe you are a true, full-fledged gypsy. I think you are a nice, blonde-haired Texan lady who was brought up Baptist and still remembers how to pray. Am I right?”

Smiling, she answered, “You caught me, Norman. I’m a blonde Texan Baptist and, yes, I do know how to pray. Are you wanting me to pray now?”

“Yes, ma’am, please.” Norman bowed his head and so did Ruston. Missy looked up towards the heavens.

“Lord, it’s me. I have Norman and Ruston with me. Lord, we have a situation here, and we need some help,” she sounded a little timid at first, but then, the peace kicked in. “You see what a mess we are in, Lord. I happen to know that mess-fixin’ is one of Your specialties. We’d appreciate it very much if you would fix this one. And we thank You in advance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Back at Lena’s house, the Chief had briefed the ladies on what steps were being taken, and what the contingencies were. “Have you been able to reach Joe, yet? He asked Lena.

“Reach Joe?!” Lena gasped. “I forgot to call Joe!”

Just then, her phone rang. It was Joe. “I caught a ten-pounder!” he crowed, excitedly! The biggest one I ever caught!”

Lena rose from her spot and went to the corner of the room to give a little semblance of privacy to the call while she explained the conditions on the homefront to her husband.

They had been talking quietly for three or four minutes when the Chief’s phone rang. It was the dispatcher at the police station. “Chief, I have Norman Wrigley on the other line. He is with Missy Matson and Ruston Wrigley. They want to turn themselves in.”

“Hot dog!” said the Chief. “I mean, ‘Ten-Four’. I will be right there. Are they on their way in, now?”

“Yes, sir,” the dispatcher said. “They are heading in. They’ll be here in less than a half hour.”

“I will be there before they arrive,” said the Chief. “I will have every officer present for this.”

“I will tell them you will be expecting them, Chief,” said the dispatcher. Looking at the four ladies in the room with him, including Lena, who still had Joe on the line, the Chief said, “Red Alert is over. The suspects are turning themselves in.”

A collective “Whew!” filled the room. The Chief said he would have to answer any questions later, as he must head to the station A.S.A.P. That was fine, because there was plenty of conjecture and opinions to be aired among the four females, without him.

Inside the pink Cadillac, silence prevailed, as each of the three “suspects” ran through the scenarios they had whirling inside their heads. If the blonde Texan’s prayer had availed them of a miracle, they were surely anxious to see it.


Chapter 1 –  Click here.

Chapter 2 –  Click here.

Chapter 3 – Click here.

Chapter 4 – Click here.

Chapter 5 –  Click here.

Chapter 6 – Click here.

Chapter 7 – Click here.

Chapter 8 –  Click here.

Chapter 9 – Click here.

Chapter 10 – Click here.

Chapter 11 – Click here.

Chapter 12 – Click here.

Chapter 13 – Click here.

Chapter 14 – Click here.

Click on the author block below to Visit Nancy’s Listing of her Book, The Diery, on Amazon.com.