Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grandma Gertie and the Break-in Patrol

My friend called.  Someone has tried breaking into her house three times.  They actually got in once.  That was when I knew something must be done; it was time to call Grandma Gertie!

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Jill's husband is in the military and he's gone away, in some other country right now.  I felt bad for her.  You wouldn't believe how much her voice shook on the phone.  "I think it's someone I know," she said.  "The cops say our house has been targeted."

"Everything will be okay.  I promise," I said even though I didn't know how I'd make things better.  The sucky thing is that she has no family in town AND her husband's gone!  I wanted to help, but what could I possibly do against a targeting foe!

But when Cade got home from work, a brilliant idea hit me.  "Cade," I said.  "Can I stay the night at Jill's house?"

"Excuse me?"

"Can I stay the night at Jill's house?  She's having a real hard time."

"Is it because her husband's gone?"

I nodded because sometimes Cade comes up with the best questions that totally skirt the problem.  So I didn't tell him the whole story, but just enough that he'll kill me if he reads this.  Anyway, at first he didn't want me to go, but later proved to be made of gold and complied on one condition, that I'd keep my cellphone on.

Well, that's how the adventure began.  On the way to Jill's house I pulled off the side of the road.  I knew I'd do my best to protect Jill and her kids if I had to.  Hell, I have my concealed weapons permit and I've made a potato launcher.  But still I knew we needed all the help we could muster, so I called Grandma Gertie.  

Now Gertie isn't your regular, wussy sixty-plus grandma.  She's tougher than a pole cat in the month of May.  She could take down The Hulk in ten seconds flat.  She has several false teeth and legend has it that she lost them in the last war, when she was too busy fighting hand to hand combat to need the use of her gun.  She's tall and real.  I think Jill's targeter would take one look at Gertie and he'd call her Ger-tay!  That's how tough the woman is.  

I smiled as Gertie picked up the phone.  We've been friends for years.  Sometimes God brings the right people into your life at the right time and then you end up liking them so much, you know you'll never let them go.  That's what happened with me and Gertie because she's the type of woman who'd make riding a Harley look good.  "I need your help," I said.

"What's going on.  You in trouble?"

"It's my friend Jill.  Can you stay the night at her house with me?  Some creep's been trying to break into her home.  They say it's been targeted."

Gertie jumped on that faster than a chicken clucking from the oven.  "Sure thing.  I know the place."

So I showed up and talked to Jill for awhile.  Gertie lives in the next city over and I knew it would take her a few minutes to get there.  While we waited, Jill showed me around.  The creep had jumped her back fence and even used a crowbar against her back door.  We could see the big footprints, stamped into the mud and the mark a shoulder had made when the hinges had been broken from the man-door.  The person hadn't stolen a thing from Jill's garage, but had taken the time to rearrange a few things.  It was kinda scary, I have to admit, but that jerk didn't know what was coming--it was Grandma Ger-tay!!!

The doorbell rang shortly after that.  Both Jill and I jumped even though I've made a potato launcher and she has a spouse in the military.  We tiptoed closer to the door.  Of course it was Grandma Gertie, but we couldn't be too sure.  

"You answer it," Jill said.

"But what if it's the targeter?  My gun's still in my bag."

"You're the one here to help me.  And you're the one who insisted on calling Grandma Gertie."

"Are you gonna keep talking about who's more of a wimp or are you gonna open this door?" Gertie hollered from the other side.  I grabbed the handle and thought how glad I was that it was Gertie.  She'd heard every word.  That wouldn't have been good if the targeter had been listening to our fear.  

When I opened the door, I nearly fell over from shock.  Gertie had definitely transformed from Gertie to Ger-tay, like when Peter Parker finally decides he's going to kick Venom's butt--that's what Ger-tay looked like.  She had a billy club in her right hand--an actual billy club--and a pile of blankets in her left.

"Is that a . . . " Jill's voice trailed off.

"Billy club?" I finished for her.  "Aren't those illegal?"

Ger-tay smiled.  I saw some of those pearly white teeth she had replaced after the war.  She's really a beautiful lady, tough and stunning.  I want to be her when I'm in my sixties!  "So what?  The fact-of-the-matter is, I figure it's almost legal seeing as how I got it from a cop.  He apprehended it from some thugs."  

She passed me the club and I couldn't believe my eyes.  Dents peppered the thing and stains--real stains--where it had been used on some poor sap!  I felt weird holding it, like by touching those stains some ghost would follow me for eternity.  It almost reminded me of how Cade bought my wedding ring from a pawn shop.  

I always wonder who had this ring before me.  I know it shouldn't matter.  A million people have told me that I create the ring's destiny now, not whoever had it before me.  The fact remains though that their words are ash in my mouth.  They just make me feel like the next unsuccessful Baggins.  Do I have the power to wield this ring?

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I just hope the person who pawned it didn't do so because of a divorce.  I'd rather know that someone's rich son pawned their ring, than that they got divorced or died with it on their finger--I'm just saying!

 So anyway, I took one couch and Ger-tay claimed the other.  All night long we freaked out every time Jill's stupid coffeemaker went off.  I had my gun under my pillow.  It wasn't cocked or anything.  But half-way through the night I almost felt like the two people Ger-tay and I should really fear were ourselves.

"You awake, Gertie?" I whispered at about two a. m.  She shot up with the club in hand--man we were jumpy! 

"Elisa?"

"Yeah, it's just me."  I snorted.  

"Sorry about that."  Gertie chuckled as I thought it was a good thing the targeter hadn't come yet.  He wouldn't have evaded our billy-loving wrath.  "You can't sleep either?" Gertie asked.

"I'm too jumpy."  I sat up and wrapped my fuzzy blanket around me.  My messy hair fell across my face and I blew it away from my eye.  "Why do you think this is happening to Jill?" I asked.

"Maybe because she's too nice to strangers.  Who knows why wackos do the things they do."

I breathed in and then heaved out a sigh.

"The best we can do is be prepared for the worst."

I thought about that long and hard.  She was right, absolutely right.  It's no wonder she's such an amazing woman.  I think she's extremely smart, creative and talented.  She's tough and one of a kind.  She can scrapbook and wield a billy club!  But she's something else too--she's always prepared.  I figured then, as the sun came up and it was time to go back home, even though Jill was the one in danger, I'm going to take some more firearm classes.  I don't think I'll ever be as good as Angelina Jolie in Salt or Luke in Return of the Jedi, but at least I can give someone a run for their money if they ever try hurting me or my kids.  The thing is that mothers will do amazing things when their babies are in danger.  Maybe that's why I know Jill's going to be okay.  Because she'll learn how to be tough AND she just got an alarm system.

Even though the realization hit and I did feel better for Jill, one thing still bothered me.  "Gertie?" I finally asked before we both left.

"Yeah." Gertie said.

"Who do you think got hit with that billy club.  And if they died, do you think their ghost will haunt me forever?"