Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rusty Pails #15
The Desperado

by Rocky Macy

When the phone rings in the middle of the night, you can bet your longhandles that things are fixing to happen. Leastways, that’s the way it seems to work here in Sprung Hinge.

Heck Frye’s voice was near hysterical when it came spilling out of my telephone receiver late last night. “Rusty,” he yelled, “something’s going on out by my truck! I think I heard a shot, and…and now someone’s moaning, dying probably!”

“That’s what friends are for,” I thought as I rushed along the lane toward Heck’s place, “to scare off fighting tomcats and serial killers!” Armed only with a baseball bat and a bottle of cold root beer, I wasn’t expecting anything too bizarre, but some kind of trouble was afoot, and if I didn’t hurry, the other folks on my party line would beat me to it!

I could see Heck’s old truck out by the barn as I stepped into his yard. The passenger door was open and something was hanging out.

Baker, who had followed along for curiosity’s sake, suddenly charged past me and up to the truck. As I ran to follow, I caught a glimpse of Heck’s face pressed against the inside of the kitchen window. Suddenly the night air split with an excruciating, moan before I could reach the truck. That set Baker to howling, but her noise was quickly drowned out the approaching sirens of the fire truck, ambulance, and sheriff. That Heck sure covered all of his bases!

It all came into focus when the sheriff’s floodlight washed over Heck’s truck. The object hanging from the door was a spindly old leg rooted in a fuzzy blue house shoe.

“Get me out of here, you durned fool!” That voice, exploding from the floorboard like a vintage firecracker, belonged to Gramma Pinkins, the most senior citizen of Sprung Hinge.

The firemen freed Gramma from her contorted position beneath the steering wheel, and the ambulance crew, amid her loud and indelicate protests, carted the village matriarch away from the scene of her indignity. The deputy who rode with them as far as the laundrymat got most of the story.

It seems Gramma had gone over-the-hill again from the Gristle and Gruel Old Folks Home. She got as far as Heck’s and decided to borrow his truck. Somehow Gramma raised the hood, but couldn’t figure out how to hotwire her get-away vehicle. The gal voted “most likely to get the vote” in the class of ’08 then crawled up under the steering wheel to see if she could find some wires there to cross. When the hood slammed shut (the “shot” Heck heard), the noise caused Gramma Pinkins to wrench her back. The rest, as they say, is history!

Or it will be history as soon as Heck and I get through polishing it up for a proper retelling. Sprung Hinge is famous for us craftsmen!

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