“Oh no! We don’t need this!" Julie lamented, as she glanced in her rear view mirror.“What?” Asked Flo.
“A policeman is pulling me over. I might have been speeding.”
Julie kept driving, with flashing lights following her. She saw a wide area on the side of the road and pulled over.
“Where are you ladies headed in such a hurry?” the young, blond haired, blue eyed cop asked.
“We have an urgent task to finish. I didn’t think I was speeding.”
“May I see your driver’s license please?” Julie’s hands trembled as she fumbled in her purse. “Here officer.”
In the meantime, he was looking toward the back seat of Julie’s small white Ford Escort station wagon.
“Why do have a large black plastic bag and a shotgun laying on the back seat? And a shovel and a rake?” He stepped farther toward the rear of her car. “and a hatchet, an axe, and let’s see... a fifty pound bag of hydrating lime?”
“Appears you’ve got everything needed to commit murder and try to cover it up.” he said, with a slight grin.
“Oh, not so officer. We’re just, blue-jean wearing, grannies. We’re harmless as doves! I can explain.” Julie was really getting nervous now!.
“I’m all ears” he said, with a serious look on his face.
“Well, we have an older, disabled, widowed sister who lives on our family’s old home place. She received a visit from a health department worker, and a certified letter. Some one reported a bad odor coming from there when there’s a breeze. Turns out there is a leak in the line leading to the septic tank.”
“Flo, our three other widowed sisters, myself and my husband are trying to help Corrine. We’ve got three weeks to correct the problem, or she will have to move.”
“This still looks like incriminating evidence to me, but continue.”
“The ground covering the septic tank was overgrown with bushes and vines. Yesterday, my husband, Rob, cut the larger bushes and heavy vines with his chain saw. Flo, Babs, Connie, Sue and I dragged and piled the brush on the backside of the property while he did the sawing. Corrine helped what she could. No easy task for grandmothers our age, even if it hadn’t been hot weather. The vines were so entwined in the bushes that it took two of us to drag some of the brush. We used the hatchet and axe to cut the smaller growth, the rake to clean up the area.”
“ A labor of love to help our sister. We are a close knit family. Besides, Jesus says to help those in need.”
“Why are your tools still in the car, if this is what happened?”
“This morning I had to take Flo for a doctor’s appointment. I had already pulled out of the yard when I noticed I had forgotten to take them out. Everyone says my name is Julie “fifteen minutes late” Johnson. I didn’t have time to go back.”
“What about the gun? That wasn’t needed for the clean-up job.”
“Flo inherited it from our dad. She was taking it to store in a safer place. She has small grandkids living with her.”
“And... the lime?”
“Oh that. We’re going to sprinkle that over the sewage leak to curtail the odor. That’s what we were on our way to do. It will be next week before William’s Septic Service can pump the septic tank and replace the leaking line.”
“What is Corrine’s last name?”
“You ladies just sit there while I place a call to the dispatcher.”
Julie and Flo swap worried glances. “Don’t worry Flo. We’re innocent.”
The officer returned in a few minutes, but it seemed more like an hour to Julie and Flo.
. “Sorry ladies, for detaining you this long. Nowadays, we have to check out everybody. I had the dispatcher place a call to the health dept. Your story is verified. You’re all clear to go, but please put the gun in a safe place as soon as possible.”
“And ladies, slow it down a bit, and not just in the car.”
“What about the speeding ticket? ‘ Julie asked.
“Oh, I think you’ll be more careful from now on. No ticket this time. Just don’t let me have to stop you again. Good luck with your project. Have a good day.”
As Julie slowly pulled her car back into traffic, she said, “Boy, Flo. Have we got a tall tale to share when we get to Corrine’s! We’ll have center stage.”
They carried the shotgun to the designated storage place, then headed to the old home place.
As the sisters scattered the lime, Julie and Flo shared their experience. “Well, come to think about it, you did have everything in the car needed to commit a crime. Except I guess you had no one in mind as a victim, unless it might be the one who reported this.” said Corrine.
“Shame on you!” echoed the others.
In a week the septic system would be as good as new. There would be no health hazard and Corrine wouldn’t have to move.
“Wonder what our next “labor of love” project will be, Julie? Flo asked.
“No telling,” Julie said laughing. “ Time will tell, Flo, time will tell. But the sisters will be ready, willing, and up to the task. Who knows, it just might be our next big adventure...
Copyright2004 Martha Currington
word count: 913