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Friday, August 3, 2012

          This was bad, Cassie thought.  Very, very bad. Neighbors began to stop what they were doing, and turned their attention to the front of Cassie's house.  Even the mailman had halted dead in his tracks.  Her plan was to slip quietly out of town, unnoticed.  To disappear completely before people in Dollyville started figuring out that they were missing money, and that she was involved in some way.  The crazy, old bitch on her porch could really screw things up.

         " thief!  Where the hell is my Tom's Memorial Fund?  I want it now!"

          She needed to do something...and quickly.  Daddy always told her, "When one door closes, honey, kick another one open."  It was kicking time, for sure.  Going to the front door, she unlocked the dead bolts, and holding it open just a crack, partially stuck her body out.  As she did so, she could feel her throat close up a tiny bit more.  "Mrs. Peppers?  Hello."  She grabbed the woman's hand and shook it profusely.  "I was upstairs...vacuuming, and didn't hear the bell.   Oh my, aren't we upset?  What seems to be the problem, dear?" She spoke the words loud enough for the neighbors to hear, and pasted the sweetest  smile she owned on her face.

         Peppers was in no mood to be patronized.  "You know damn well what's wrong, Missy!  That money in the Memorial Fund?  You stole it!  Every last penny!  I know it was you!  You were the only one besides me that had access.  Now let me in, so I can call the Sheriff"

          As on cue, Cassie let her eyes water, and patted the old woman's hand.  "Oh, poor Mrs. Peppers. You're having a problem with your memory again, aren't you dear?"  She glanced over to her neighbors, who were so obviously listening, and gave a sad shake of her head. "Don't you remember, sweetie? You came to me six months ago, and wanted to invest in that stock you had read about it.  You said it was a sure thing."

        Tessa was momentarily confused, totally lost as to where Cassie was going with this conversation. "What the hell are you talking about, you damn bimbo?"

        "You came to me and wanted to invest all of the fund.  Said you could double Tom's money in no time."  Cassie knew she had the attention of each and every gawking citizen, who were all busy whispering to each other.  She raised the volume of her voice, and continued.  "I tried to talk you out of it, Mrs. Peppers, honest I did.  Remember?  But you insisted you knew best, so I had a check made out in the full amount for the stock purchase."  She made a mental note to jimmy up some stock documents as soon as she was done with the current crisis.  "I'm so, so sorry that it didn't work out for you, honey.  I truly am."  She patted Tessa's hand once again.  "You know how terribly unstable the Market is right now."  She could see that even the mailman was nodding in neighborly sympathy.

        A thought came to Tessa.  She grabbed her hand away, and shouted, "You conniving bitch!  I am no more senile than you are!  I did no such thing!  You're a damn thief and you stole my money!  I'll show you how we handle garbage like you"  She raised her hand to grab at Cassie.

        Cassie, anticipating that Tessa wouldn't go quietly away, squeaked for the benefit of her audience, and slammed the door in the old woman's face.  She grabbed her cell, and punched the number in for the Sheriff, while Peppers continued to bang and scream on her front porch  "Oh Teddy!  Come quick. Tessa Peppers has gone crazy!  It must be the dementia.  I've seen signs of it for months.  She lost money on some stocks, and she believes I took it from her. She's screaming on my porch right now, threatening to kill me.  Yes...she's totally lost it!  No...I'm not over reacting. Didn't you tell me just yesterday that she made a fuss at the bank, and hit the priest in the face?  She's violent, Teddy!"  Cassie whimpered, and went on, " Oh Teddy...I'm so frightened.  Please!  You have to come right now.  My throat!  It feels like I can't breathe."  She waited, phone in hand, and smiled.  "Oh thank you, baby.  I'll wait in side until you get here."

Copyright 2012 Victoria Rocus



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