Monday, June 9, 2008

Rusty Pails #40
The Ruby Bee Caper (Part 4)

by Rocky Macy

A lot has happened over the last two weeks. Our gang managed to burn the Clench chicken coop to the ground, but we were able to save all of the hens. Gladys said, through her lawyer, that most of them “ain’t right” and may require therapy if they are to resume laying eggs. The fire brought out the sheriff, the paddy wagon, fire trucks from three communities, and every durned fool from fifty miles around. The Sprung Hinge Sewing Circle and Bucket Brigade hauled out their Weenie Wagon and made several hundred dollars selling food and drinks to the on-lookers.

We were arrested, of course, which safely removed us from the wrath of Gladys and her shotgun, and Judge Leonidas T. Redbone (a real judge, unlike his cousin the road commissioner “judge” – who was now a defendant in one of the most heinous local crimes on record) ruled that we were to remain in jail until we could produce a plan to build Gladys a new coop.

Rebuilding the chicken coop could have been a major problem because Gladys’ nephew, an architect, drew up plans for a new henhouse that would make a big city Madam blush. As luck would have it though, the money issue took care of itself because our movie won the big bucks. The Hollywood people said it was the funniest arson film of the whole season. They especially liked the climax with us pitching hens out the doors and windows of the coop, and Gladys trying to beat each of us with her shotgun as we fled the fiery inferno. They also liked the part where Gladys snatched Heck by the hair and it came off in her hand!

Judge Redbone (the real judge) dragged us all into Court again last Wednesday and demanded that we sign our movie proceeds over to Gladys. If we didn’t, he assured us, we would rot in jail. We all signed, eager to get on with our lives - and three of us were released.

“Rusty Pails,” the Judge thundered, “since you are obviously the leader of this dastardly crew, I’m imposing an extra requirement for your release.”

“But, Judge,” I began to beg, “It wasn’t me. I was just sitting at home minding my own business when my buddies hatched this addle-pated scheme. I’m a victim of circumstance!”

“Nonsense, Rusty. Miss Clench is the victim. Your evil plan caused her to lose a perfectly good henhouse.”

“And we’re replacing it with a palace!” I self-righteously point-out.

The Judge was having none of it. “And because you had the audacity to lead your friends astray, I’ve asked Miss Clench to feel free to set an extra requirement for your release.”

“Leon!” I screamed. “Don’t do it!”

“Miss Clench?” The Judge nodded solemnly toward Gladys who was parked on the front row. As Gladys rose to speak, I stood dumfounded watching my life flash before my eyes.

“Your Honor,” she said with killer sweetness, “I would consider the account settled if Mr. Pails would take me out to dinner and dancing. Then we could go back to my place for dessert.”

I woke up back in my cell. Apparently after hearing Gladys’ demand, I fell to the floor and began howling and slobbering like a hydro-phobic dog. They had to clear the courthouse until the vet arrived and shot me with his tranquilizer gun.

Esther comes by every evening and brings Baker to visit. I’ve begged her to bring a gun to the jail and help me escape – or shoot me – but she tells me that I just need to “man-up” and do what the Judge ordered.

It may come to that, but for the time being I’m going to stay in jail and wait on a miracle. Maybe those guys in Hollywood will offer a prize for the best jail escape movie. That might entice my buddies to rescue me. On second thought, they probably wouldn’t be able to get a plan together without their “leader!”

What I wouldn’t give for a cold root beer – and a hacksaw!

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