LaPaille Knobbins was nothing if not organized. She snapped her sensible brown purse shut, stood up from the faux leather straight back chair, and extended her hand to the sedate owner of Rest Assured Mortuary. Her affairs were all in order, except for writing her obituary, which she planned to do after supper.
The independent 70-ish plus woman was not sick. During a bout of insomnia one night, she came up with this vague and undeveloped notion that since she did not seem to have any purpose or excitement in her life, she would just sit down and wait for the Lord to take her home –- as if He were the number 10 bus.
After cleaning her small house inside and out and giving away or selling anything of value, her next to the last stop had been to make those final arrangements most folks try to ignore.
“Don’t even bother showing me some expensive fancy hermetically sealed casket,” she had instructed Mr. Harper, “A cheap pine box will be just fine.”
She paid the bill in full with a plain blue check signed with a clear and precise signature. This was easier than she had expected. The next order of business was down the street at the local bank. That’s when her life stopped being boring.
Deeco Sponzelli felt a surge of nervous energy as he waited for his cousin Stanley to get in position with the old four-door sedan. Stan wasn’t the brightest bulb in the lamp, but he knew cars and could drive like a pro. In their past heists, that was his only job -–waiting with the big motor purring. He never peeled away from the curb to draw attention. Once, though, he did get a parking ticket.
Sticking to details was Deeco’s secret of a successful robbery. He had not counted on the complications of an older woman. When he barked the order for the few bank patrons to lie on the floor, she refused, and with more class than he had ever witnessed.
“ Excuse me, young man.”
She addressed him with perfect diction and without raising her voice.
“It is not my desire to recline on this nasty carpet while you brazenly waltz out with money that does not belong to you.”
Her unwillingness to cooperate was a monkey wrench in the well-oiled criminal proceedings. He brandished a pistol with stereotypical bravado, but he had a secret. It was not loaded.
In a split second executive decision, he grabbed the gutsy woman by the arm and propelled her out the door and into the back seat of the waiting car. She never made a peep or called for help.
Stanley started to turn around but his boss growled, “Just drive the way you always do and don’t ask!”
She straightened her hat, folded her hands on top of her purse, and looked around with feigned innocence. “My, my… I used to have an automobile exactly like this one.”
Deeco could not understand why she was not trembling with fright. “Who are you, lady?”
For the first time, LaPaille looked him full in his thieving face. “You may call me Miss Knobbins, since I am old enough to be your grandmother.”
If you keep your mouth shut, Grandma, I won’t blow you away and we’ll look legit. Is that a deal?”
“I do not make deals. Now, where are we going?”
Deeco felt a migraine coming on.
“A place where there is a kitchen. Can you cook?”
The senior citizen closed her eyes without answering, pretending boredom with the whole event. The aroma of her favorite doughnuts was a big clue to her location, so she began to count all the turns.
After tasting her outstanding home cooking, Deeco and Stanley fell sound asleep in the secluded cabin. While they snored, she puttered around picking up a few interesting things, including a cell phone. When the FBI arrived and nabbed the bad guys, she never said a word. She simply put on her hat, picked up her sturdy pocketbook, and left with one of the rescuers.
Suppressing a giggle as she stood on the deck of a ship bound for un-tasted adventures, LaPaille Knobbins was positive she had a new lease on life. She looked quite fetching in her sassy straw chapeau and clutching the bulging old brown purse to her felonious bosom.
She never did get around to writing her obituary, but she’d have plenty of time -- later.
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