Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)
TITLE: Firemen Don't Just Rescue Kitties
By Betty Castleberry
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Taking her advice, I bought some cards. I didn’t write anything personal in them, except for one.
I have a new neighbor who happens to be a nice looking gentleman. He has toast crust colored hair, with silver sideburns. His brown eyes are kind and he smiles easily. I selected a card with a wise man on the front and penned a note, thinking it might be a good way to introduce myself. I took my cards to the corner mail drop box and tossed them in.
Bernice came by shortly after that. “I’ve got news,” she announced in a singsong voice.
Bernice was a doll, but she did love to gossip. “You know your new neighbor?”
I nodded. “Yes, but not as well as I’d like to.”
“Well, you might as well forget that. He’s a retired priest.”
“Nope. He’s related to my hairdresser. That’s what she said.”
I squeezed my hands together. “You mean a real priest? The kind that never gets married, or never even has a girlfriend? That kind of priest?”
“That’s the kind.”
I pulled on Bernie’s arm. “You have to come with me. I have to do something right now.”
I dragged her toward the door. She yanked her arm away and rubbed it. “Don’t be so rough, Stella. Where are we going, anyway? It’s dark.”
“Good. Grab that flashlight on the end table and come on.”
“It won’t do me any good to say no, will it?”
Bernice rolled her eyes and followed me out. We jogged to the drop box on the corner. I opened the slot and shined the flashlight inside.
My unwitting partner in crime pursed her lips. “Just what do you think you’re doing?”
“I have to get a Christmas card back.”
“What in the world for?”
“Because I invited the priest over for mulled cider and put a lipstick kiss on his card.”
“You did what? Don’t you think that’s juvenile? The lipstick kiss, I mean?”
“Yes, but it’s too late now. It actually seemed like a good idea at the time. I wanted his card to be special.”
The flashlight wasn’t much help. It was hard to direct the beam into the drop box. “I’m going to try to reach down in there.”
Bernice shook her head. “Isn’t this illegal, or something? Why don’t you just get it out of his mail box when it’s delivered?”
“I doubt I can beat him to it. He’s always at his box as soon as the mail comes. Just help me, please. Hold the flashlight.”
She held the light while I peered into the box. I could see a pile of letters and cards, so I stuck my arm down into the slot. The top of the pile just brushed my outstretched fingers. I hoisted myself up and twisted my body around so I could stretch my arm further. That’s when I realized I was in a predicament. Believe me when I say it’s possible to get stuck in a mail drop box.
I turned to Bernice. “Bern, I’m stuck here.”
She glared at me. “You can’t be stuck. Just pull your arm out.”
“I’m at a funny angle. I’m afraid I’ll break it.”
“Good grief, Stella, just remove your arm and let’s go. You can explain to your neighbor later.”
I gritted my teeth. “My arm won’t come out. I told you, I’m twisted up here. ”
“Let me pull on it.” Bernice tugged, and I protested. “That hurts. You’ve got to stop.”
After several minutes of twisting, tugging, and trying to disguise what had happened from passing cars, Bernice grabbed her cell phone and called the fire department. I was thankful they only brought one truck, but didn’t understand why they had to use the siren.
In just a little while they had my arm free, and completely in tact. After I explained what had happened to the policemen who had magically materialized, it turned out one older officer was sympathetic to my plight. He gave me a less than serious lecture laced with barely concealed chuckling. It also turned out that the same officer is fond of mulled cider. He’ll be stopping by next Saturday night. In the meantime, I’m paying a visit to my neighbor, the priest. It seems I have a confession to make.
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