Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)
TITLE: An Unforgettable Coffee Hour
By Lillian Rhoades
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During those hours when sleep takes its best shot, Mattie Mannafed drifted into awareness by a loud bang on the front door and a thunderous command.
“Police, open up!”
What now? It didn’t take long to find out, but not before a quick glance through the peephole; a tactic listed as number one in her “make this a habit” playbook. In her neighborhood, one never threw caution to the wind.
Unaware of her penchant for wariness, the knock sounded again, this time more like a boom than a bang.
“Open up, Police!”
She wanted to intone an octave deeper, and amplified, “Hold your horses, give me a minute,” but thought better of it. No telling how they would react to her command.
Enough of caution, better comply, or risk having her door repaired.
Mattie swung the door towards her, and greeted the two burly, stern-faced, blue-suited officers with a smile. They either purposely ignored her smile and her greeting, or had their own playbook. The position of their right hands signaled the latter.
“Are you Mrs. Mannafed?”
“We have a warrant to search your apartment.”
“Really?” Mattie withdrew her happy face in favor of a police look-a-like; but even sterner.
“Your apartment is reported to be a hang-out for drug addicts.”
Mattie threw back her head and let out a burst of laughter that instantly disarmed the officers, and altogether disrupted professional protocol. Two right hands relaxed in concert, then fell limply to the side.
With a sweep of her right hand, Mattie ushered them in.
“Why, come on in and look around. Please take your time. I’ll be in the kitchen if you find something.”
Did the officers exchange puzzled glances? She thought so.
“Go right ahead, Mrs. Mannafed. We’ll just follow you into the kitchen.”
“Oh, of course, silly me, I might try to hide the evidence, right?”
This time the glances left nothing to speculation.
While the officers opened cabinets, searched through closets, and peered into her refrigerator, Mattie poured coffee into the filter basket, added water and turned on the coffee pot.
Hee, hee, she mused, as the officers searched the rest of her apartment. I’ll put this one drug to good use.
Certain they would turn up nothing, Mattie continued to bustle about the kitchen. Two cups, two saucers, napkins, and should she offer them a piece of toasted homemade bread with butter and jelly?
Forty-five minutes later, the officers reappeared at the entryway to her kitchen.
“Thank you, Mrs. Mannafed, sorry to have bothered you this early in the morning.
“Not so fast, gentlemen.”
“I don’t know what else you guys have planned for tonight, but I’m sure a little coffee break won’t hurt.”
Two pairs of eyes darted from the coffee pot to the table set for two.
“We don’t usually do this, Mrs. Mannafed, but that coffee sure smells good.”
“Sit right down, and you can have a cup with some of my homemade bread.”
Both men sat down, took off their caps, and placed them on their knee. After the coffee was poured, and her homemade bread served, Mattie spoke up.
“I noticed you chose chairs facing the entrance to my kitchen.”
She chuckled. “Do you still feel I have a drug addict stashed away behind a secret door?"
“No, Ma’am. Quite sure you don’t. Habit I guess, or maybe just following rules,” the younger officer replied.
“Do you always follow rules?”
“Got to, if you want to survive in our business.”
Survive! Aha, exactly what she’d been waiting to hear.
“How do you know I didn’t poison your coffee?”
Before they could react, she assured them she hadn’t. However, opportunity only knocks once. The policeman had disturbed her sleep, but not for nothing.
“Around here, you are engaged in a very dangerous business. Have you given any thought to what happens when you break God’s rules?”
Two pairs of eyes look inquisitively at her over an almost empty cup of coffee, suspended midway.
“Well, since your job takes you where angels won’t be found, seems to me you’d better give it some thought.”
“Yes, Ma’am, we will. Thanks for the coffee.
As they rose to leave, Mattie slipped them a tract; You’ll Never Get out of This World Alive, and asked them to read it.
Then, back to bed, doubly sure she had brewed more than coffee for two brave men.
Two days later she would read: DRUG BUST, TWO POLICEMEN KILLED!
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