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Fiction Funny

"Heavens to Betsy! We've been robbed!" Eleanor Baker had exclaimed, throwing her pruney hands into the air. Minding her nightgown, she stepped out of the passenger's side of a minivan. David, her grey-haired son, walked around from the other side.


I was a twenty-one year old rookie at the time. It was my first time on the graveyard shift and I'd never dealt with a break-in before. Back-up was on the way, but Eleanor was already storming into the store front.


"Ma'am, please stand back. Back-up is on the way and we don't know if the robber is still on the premises," I stated, sounding as brute as I could.


"It's no use, sir. Come on," David said, flipping the security box and deactivating the alarm. Eleanor was already gone.


"Mind the glass, darlings," Eleanor waved without looking. She flicked on the lights and began rummaging around behind the counter. "The bugger stole my biscuits!"


"Mom, I put the biscuits away last night. Don't worry," David assured her. It appeared she hadn't heard him.


"Of all of the things to nab!" Eleanor exclaimed. She brought her hands to her wrinkled cheeks and whispered, "For heaven's sake, officer. We have a biscuit burglar."


I caught a laugh in my throat and coughed to cover it up. Then, I cleared my throat several times.


"Mom! I put the biscuits away yesterday! Don't worry!" David hollered. She turned her head.


"Oh David, why didn't you say so?" Eleanor replied before disappearing into the back, her small purse swinging about.


"I apologize officer, my mother is extremely hard of hearing. I'm David Baker, Eleanor's son. I've been running the business since my father passed. Aside from the broken window, everything seems to be in place out here," David said, observing the cash register. "The safe is in the back."


"Quite alright," I replied, walking the parameter of the bakery. I was beginning to wonder where the back-up was. David headed to the back after Eleanor and I followed. I should be asking questions, I remember thinking.


"Did you close up the store last evening?" I asked David.


"Yes, I did. I left around eight. I cleared the register and wrapped up the sales. I was notified of the alarm at four o' clock. Mom can't hear a damn thing, but she saw me grabbing my coat on her way to the bathroom. She insisted on coming with me-hence, the bathrobe and curlers."


The visual struck me funny. 'The man still lives with his mother?'


"Good heavens David! What a mess this is! Oh, would you look at that? There is more than one thief running around in this establishment. I've been looking for these readers for weeks!" Eleanor called from David's office. David rolled his eyes.


"Mom! You left them in there when you were doing your crossword puzzle yesterday!" David yelled, the both of us standing in the doorway. Eleanor popped up from behind the desk, a pair of leopard print reading glasses perched on the tip of her pointy nose.


"Oh, don't be fooled, Officer. David never gives his poor old mother a break!"


David sighed. Eleanor left the office and headed for the kitchen. 


"Alzheimer's," David said, "It's terrible. I try to be patient with her. She moved in with my wife and I after my father passed. It actually works to my benefit that she can't hear me cussing behind her back."


I cleared my throat. "I see. Where is the safe?" I was beginning to think I had no idea what I signed up for. 


"It's behind my desk," David replied. It was piled high with stacks of papers. The keypad beeped as he entered the code, then it clicked open. "It hasn't been touched."


"I knew it!" Eleanor called from the kitchen. 


"What is it, Mom!?" David hollered, entering the kitchen. I followed. 


"That filthy rascal came for my secret ingredient!" Eleanor was holding up an empty ceramic pot. She let out a huff and placed the pot on the counter before moving on to the next shelf. 


"Secret ingredient?" I asked David. 


"I had no idea she had a secret ingredient. If there even is one. Honestly, baking is the only thing she can still focus on. She needs supervision because she almost burned the bakery down a couple of months ago. My sister comes to help her. But, it makes her happy and keeps her busy. This doesn't look like a robbery to me, Officer. Maybe some kids were just being cruel and broke the window or something. Everything looks the same back here. And there's no money missing," David explained. 


"Rankin? You in here?" I heard a voice call from the front. 


"Yeah, back here!" I replied. The back-up had finally arrived. Officer Dreely appeared in the doorway of the kitchen.


"I found this on the front step," he said, holding up a large brick. "What you got?"


"Everything looks good in here. The safe is secure and Mr. Baker says nothing is out of place," I told him. 


"Oh my, who is this dashing man?" Eleanor questioned, peering out of the pantry in a sultry manner. 


David scoffed. 


"This is Officer Dreely! He came to help me investigate the break-in!" I yelled. He looked at me funny. I didn't know whether it was the fact that I was yelling or due to Mrs. Baker's early morning apparel. I whispered, "Mrs. Baker is very hard of hearing."


Eleanor walked toward us slowly. "Officer Dreamy? Well, how fitting. You certainly are something," she said, stroking Officer Dreely's chest. 


"Mom, please!" David hollered, throwing his hands to his sides. 


Eleanor clicked her tongue. "My boy here doesn't understand that people our age still have feelings." She flicked her hands up and turned away.


Officer Dreely, obviously disturbed, cleared his throat. "So nothing is missing?"


It was like Eleanor's hearing had been restored by some kind of mystical source. 


"Oh, Officer Dreamy, something certainly is missing. My secret ingredient!" she shouted, peering over her glasses before retreating back to the office.


"Secret ingredient?" he questioned. 


David threw his head back and groaned. "Officer Dreely, everything is fine. The safe hasn't been touched. There is no secret ingredient. As you can see, my mother is very tired and I would really like to get her home. I'll board up the window. It looks like some kid may have just busted it with that brick." 


Officer Dreely didn't say anything. I think he felt bad that this was my first case. Either that or he was chuckling inside. David, he and I stood in silence for a moment. 


"Oh, thank heavens I found it! It was in my purse the whole time!" Eleanor exclaimed, waving an envelope in the air. 


"Alright, well we will write up the report. If nothing is out of place, Officer Rankin and I will be on our way," Officer Dreely stated, heading to the front of the store. I was relieved.


"Officer Dreamy, I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful young man you have here. He responded so promptly and I know he would've fended off that burglar without a second thought. In fact, he was probably the one who scared him off! I can't thank you enough, Officer," Eleanor said smiling sweetly and placing her hand on my arm. 


"It was my pleasure, Mrs. Baker!" I yelled. 


She slipped the envelope in my pocket. 


"When you're as old as me, it's no use to keep a secret," she whispered, winking a wrinkly blue eye. 


I smiled at her.


"Thank you, Officers," David stated, with a wave.


We exited the building.


"Good work tonight, Rankin. Look for the brick next time," Dreely said to me as he got in his car. I nodded.


I slid into my car and pulled the envelope out of my pocket. 'Secret Ingredient' was scrawled elegantly across the front. I had never baked a thing in my life. I thought that maybe I could offer the secret to my future wife.


I peeled the envelope open and pulled out a lined index card. On the back was one word. 


'Humility.'


When I became Chief of Police twenty years later, I laminated the crinkled index card and kept it under the thick plastic cover on my desk. It was the most valuable secret that had ever been bestowed on me.


I've since retired and have become a little forgetful myself. But, there is no way I will ever forget the biscuit burglar.










December 07, 2020 04:35

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3 comments

Roger Crane
22:50 Dec 16, 2020

Jess, you have written a short short story, and that is the hardest kind. Your writing style and grammar are generally good, with a few corrections needed in thought, style, and language. You started by thinking out your plot with an original idea and that's good, too. I think the story has potential, but not as it is, because it really isn't a complete story. Let me explain. When I took music for teachers (I'm a retired English teacher), my teacher would say of my attempted melodies, "That is not a melody." It's the same here; there has to ...

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Lucy Newman
01:08 Dec 18, 2020

Roger, I am overjoyed by this critique. You have no idea how much it means to me! I'm a poet and musician. Totally new to short stories. I am so grateful for your feedback and will definitely use this moving forward!

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Roger Crane
05:32 Dec 18, 2020

Thank you for saying that, Jess. I have no doubt that you will improve and focus on what you want to say in an original way. A creative idea is not a common one.

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