Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Police (10/12/06)
TITLE: Pint-Size Patrolman
By Betty Castleberry
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No sooner had the words left her mouth, than a figure six inches tall appeared on her shoulder.
It startled Sherry, and she clenched her hands around the wheel even tighter. She glanced back at the tiny being. “I wish you would stop just popping in like that! You scared the daylights out of me.”
The little being looked her square in the eye. “Ya need to cool off. You haven’t even got to work yet, and you’re already steamin’. You’re gonna blow like Granny’s tea kettle if ya don’t cool down. Watch what you’re callin’ people too, will ya?”
Sherry stared straight ahead at the traffic. “You’re right, as usual, even though I hate to admit it. What’s with the cop uniform anyway? Yesterday you looked like my pastor.”
“Boss said whatever it takes.”
“Well at least drop the phony Irish accent, okay?”
Sherry reached down and turned the radio on. A blast of rap music hit her in the face.
“Eh, eh, eh,” her shoulder buddy said, waggling his finger at her. “That song’s got a lot of bad language in it.”
“I was going to change the station. Just give me a second.”
Sherry flipped the radio off and pulled up in front of her office building. “Are you going to sit on my shoulder all day?”
“I might. We’ll see how the day goes. Only you can see me anyway.”
“Just try to stay out of my way while I’m working okay?” I have a really important report to finish.”
Sherry stopped in the break room to grab a cup of coffee before going to her office. Rebecca was there, helping herself to a doughnut. “Hi Sherry. Love that skirt.”
“Thanks. I just bought it.”
“Hey, did you hear about Ellen?”
Sherry dropped a sugar cube into her cup. “No.”
“She’s on involuntary leave from work. She called in sick again, but somebody saw her out having lunch. Sitting with John, no less.”
Sherry felt a solid yank on her earlobe. “I’ve got a lot of work to do today, Rebecca. Catch you later.”
Rebecca looked disappointed. “Okay, just thought you might be interested in what was going on around here.”
Sherry just smiled and walked down the hall to her office, closing the door behind her. “You didn’t have to yank so hard. I know you’re there.”
The tiny figure on her shoulder folded his arms and raised his eyebrows. “Well, you took your time leaving the break room. You know Rebecca was trying to get you to gossip with her.”
“Yes, but I didn’t, did I?’
“Thanks to me.”
“Whatever. I’m going to start on this report now. Please be quiet so I can concentrate.”
“I’ll just disappear for a little while.”
“Excellent idea, shrimp.”
Sherry had barely started on the report when the secretary buzzed her. “Sherry, Mr. Billings is calling a staff meeting in half an hour. I’m to tell everyone attendance is mandatory, and no excuses.”
“Great. Do you know what it’s about? I’m really swamped here.”
“Sure don’t, but you better be there. He sounded serious.”
“All right,” she sighed.
She looked at the formidable mountain of work on her desk. She’d be at work till midnight. Frustration started to bubble up from somewhere down in her gut. It threatened to rise up and spew out as angry words. She wadded up a piece of scrap paper and threw it across the room.
A shrill whistle sounded right next to Sherry’s ear. The little being reappeared. “Now did that solve anything?”
“Knock off the whistle. You’re not really a policeman, you know. Besides, you really annoy me.”
“You’re right, I’m not a cop, but I’m whatever you need, whenever you need it. My job is to keep you in line. You humans can be awfully weak, you know.”
“Does everybody have one of you to contend with?”
“Actually, they do. Not everybody can see us, like you can, though. Sometimes, we are just a feeling, a hunch, or an instinct. The Boss wants us to protect our humans. Not just from evil and dangers, but from themselves, too.”
Sherry grinned. “I know your boss. He’s awesome. Come with me. I’ve got a boring staff meeting to attend, and I just might need some policing."
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