Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)
- TITLE: Miss Flowerpot
By Francy Judge
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“What on earth are doing up there, Nana?” Lori asked in her scratchy-just-woke-up voice.
“Will ya look at that—Maude started gardening at the crack of dawn today and hasn’t quit yet. She’s such a show-off—an old hag who happens to have prize winning tulips.”
“They are beautiful, in fact she must have the most beautiful—“
“Oh, tulips, shmulips,” Nana said, interrupting Lori’s observation. “I would have won the Miss Flowerpot contest if she hadn’t let her mangy mutt run through my garden.”
“Come on, Nana, that was two years ago. I can’t believe you two haven’t talked since that day you screamed at each other in the flower bed. You were childhood friends.”
“The Lord knows I tried . . . but that woman is as stubborn as a wart. Enough about her; how’s the little munchkin?”
Lori wondered if Nana would ever remember Andrew’s name. “Andrew’s still sleeping. He woke up three times last night to nurse. I hope he didn’t wake you.”
“Don’t worry about me. I wish you didn’t move across the state so I could see him everyday—would’nt care if I didn’t get a wink of sleep. Now you take a nap while he’s sleeping. I’m going out to pull some weeds.”
“I think I will curl up with a book for a while.” Lori kissed Nana’s cheek. “I love you, Nana, even if you are as stubborn as your friend.”
Kay knelt on an old towel and tossed weeds into a straw basket. She glanced at Maude across the picket fence from under her bonnet. Maude’s flower garden was paradise. A red rose bush climbed over, flaunting her beauty and refusing to let a wall stop her from exploring. “Hmph. What a shame she had to ruin our friendship.”
Later that morning, after Andrew woke up, Lori had an idea. She placed Andrew, baby powder fresh, into Nana’s warm arms. “Let’s sit on the porch. Andrew loves to watch the birds attack your bird feeder.”
Lori knew it wouldn’t take long. She could feel eyes staring from Maude’s kitchen window as Andrew cooed at the angry blue jays fighting for food. “See Andrew, how the birdies are mean. They don’t want to share. All they do is fight.” Lori winked at Nana.
“Fi . . . fi . . . fi,” Andrew echoed.
“Wouldn’t you like to show Maude your new grandson?”
“I’d like to show him off, but then I’d have to talk with her. And she wants nothing to do with me.”
“How do you know? Maybe she’s afraid you’ll yell at her again.”
“Me, yell? I never yell.”
“If you say so.”
Kay bounced Andrew on her lap and kissed his belly.
Lori stared at the largest blue jay eating his fill when suddenly—thud. Andrew shrieked. She turned to see Andrew had slipped to the floor. Kay’s head dropped to the side and her arms were limp. Her bonnet upside-down on the wooden planks.
“Nana!” Lori scooped up Andrew on one hip and reached for Nana’s wrist. Her pulse was weak, fading. She ran for the phone. Her fingers shook as she dialed 911. “Please, Lord, don’t take her yet.” She ran back outside.
Maude was hunched over Kay, breathing life into her friend. Again and again. Lori stood watching, numb. Andrew’s shoulders caught her tears. Finally, the ambulance arrived and took over CPR.
Before Kay was taken away on the stretcher, she opened her eyes. Lori, Andrew, and Maude smiled at her. She smiled back.
Maude removed her shawl and placed it over Kay. “Here. You’ll have to come over when you get home and bring me back my shawl. And we’ll talk.”
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