Mrs. Richards was puttering around the living room enjoying the day when the unexpected happened.  A police car pulled up and parked in the driveway of Mrs. Jameson’s house across the street.  A police officer got out of the car and walked over to the passenger door to open it.  With the officer’s help, a grey-haired, elderly woman slowly got out of the vehicle.  She accepted the officer’s elbow to hold, as they walked to the front door. At the door and after fumbling in her purse to find her keys, the old woman unlocked and opened the door.  She stood on the threshold to converse with the officer for a few moments.  Apparently satisfied, the officer returned to her car.

As the officer drove away, Mrs. Richards watched Mrs. Jameson wave, then turn to focus her steely, old eyes on Mrs. Richards watching from across the street.  Without acknowledging her nosy neighbor, the elderly woman closed her front door.  Mrs. Jameson called the elderly woman’s grand-daughter to report what she saw.  She left a voicemail message for the young college student who was attending a well-known university several states away.

“KayLynn, I think it finally happened. I saw her drive her car out of the garage this morning.  But, a police officer escorted her home this afternoon.  You might want to call your grandmother to find out what happened.  She looks OK, so I don’t want to disturb her.  Give me a call, if there is anything more you want me to do.  OK?”

Later that evening, Mrs. Richards answered her phone to hear a frustrated KayLynn on the line.

“Mrs. Richards, thank you so much for keeping an eye on my grandmother.  She just didn’t listen to me the last time I visited.  I told her to stop driving that car.  She’s getting too old to safely drive it.  And, she refuses to move to a senior center.”

“I know, dear.  She is so independent,” acknowledged Mrs. Richards.  “Did she tell you what happened?”

After a big sigh, KayLynn explained, “The police pulled her over for erratic driving.  Both her registration and driver’s license are expired.  They impounded her car.”

“Oh, dear,” commiserated the neighbor.  “My husband and I are willing to help her get the car out of the impound lot and drive it back to her home.  We can keep the keys, if you want.”

“Oh, would you?  You’ve been so great about this.  I just can’t leave school right now.  I’ve got mid-terms at the end of the week.  But, could you make sure she’s OK?”

“Of course, we will.”

“Mrs. Richards.  You and your husband are the best.  I’m so grateful for your help.  Give me a call if she gives you any problems.  K?”

“She is a handful.  But, after ten years, I’ve caught on to her tricks.  You two are so different, even though you’re her namesake and she raised you.”

“So true,” KayLynn said with a chuckle.  “I wonder what my mother was like.  And, how could she name me after grandma.  Once in a while, I think about changing my name.  Oops, I’d love to talk more, but I’ve got to run to class.  Let me know how it goes.  Bye.”

“You have a good day.  Learn a lot.  Bye.”

Page one excerpt from Road Noise Short Stories To Thrill and Chill  2016 © Belinda A. Allen

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