Readers: Today’s RobBlog is a “quirky little story that came to me a few days ago. I wrote down a few quick facts and lines of dialogue that instantly came to mind. Then a day or two later I flushed out the entire story.
That, as well.
Mrs. Tiddleworth Comes to Terms
It was a warm, pleasant mid-winter morning in Sunnidale.
The sky was clear and the thermometer hovered around 48 degrees Celsius.
A cooling trend to be sure.
It was wintertime after all.
Officer Big and Tall was patrolling the Southside neighbourhood of Sunnidale when he happened upon Mrs. Tiddleworth’s charming turn of the last century homestead. A steady exhaust of dryer heat emanated from a vent on the north wall of the home alongside the Hollyhocks- which were in full, brilliant bloom.
Officer Big and Tall walked up Mrs. Tiddleworth’s front walk lined on left and right with rich, green succulents and colourful pansies.
He knocked gently on her front door.
In a few moments, Mrs. Tiddleworth opened the door. From behind the screen, Officer Big and Tall could see she was dressed in a gingham house frock and was holding a tea towel in her left hand. Her hazel hair was done up in a bun.
“Oh! Officer Big and Tall. This is an unexpected pleasure. What can I do for you on this fine January morning?” Mrs.Tiddleworth seemed genuine enough.
“Can I offer you a hot tea or lemonade? My Xtra can pour a glass fro you and we can sit in the garden.”
“I am sorry this is not a social call for procurement of sexual relations or other niceties Mrs. Tiddleworth. I am afraid I am here on police business.”
“Oh?” Mrs. Tiddleworth seemed surprized but she didn’t blink a lash.
“Now then Mrs. Tiddleworth-” Officer Big and Tall tried to sound authoritative. “It appears your clothes dryer is running at a steady pace and you must know the local bylaw requires you to use your clothes dryer only when the temperature is below 40 degrees Celsius. According to my temperature gage Mrs. Tiddleworth, we are currently at a handsome- yet coolish 48 degrees. How do you explain that?”
“Oh my stars!” Mrs. Tiddleworth was caught off guard. “I hadn’t looked at my thermometer in the back garden but I was sure it was much, much cooler. It is the dead of winter after all Officer Big and Tall and I really need to dry my sheets and towels.”
“Perhaps hanging them on the fence that runs along your property might be a better suggestion?” Officer Big and Tall waited for her answer.
He didn’t have to wait long.
“Indeed it would be Officer Big and Tall, only I am afraid I am not lanky enough to fling the sheets over the fence. It is pretty high, as you can well see.”
Mrs. Tiddleworth pointed in the direction of the vinyl-clad fence.
Officer Big and Tall looked Mrs. Tiddleworth directly in the eye for a moment, then said-
“Perhaps it is but nonetheless, there is a heavy penalty for using that air dryer of yours and the law if the law. Think of all the extra heat being released on an already warmish afternoon.”
Mrs. Tiddleworth, sighed heavily.
“I suppose you’re right. You’ll want my youngest then.”
“Yes indeed. I am afraid I will. You know the heat law. There is no other way around it.
I have already been tracked to your address Mrs. Tiddleworth. The charge has been effectively laid! Your youngest child must be stoned in the marketplace for your transgression and to the amusement of the village elders.”
“Goodness. I was hoping that this special child would escape such a fate but...”
“The law is the law!”
Officer Big and Tall began to tap his right foot on Mrs. Tiddleworth’s front step.
“But Officer Big and Tall, what about the Christians? Surely you can round up a young one to be stoned in place of my young one.”
Officer Big and Tall hiked up his uniform trousers and replied- “Well, it appears the Christians these past weeks are few and far between. They’ve taken to the forests and the caves out in the hills. We don’t have the manpower to track ‘em down Mrs. Tiddleworth. You can see my problem. Personally, I would gladly substitute a Christian instead of your young daughter.”
“Oh yes. I can see exactly.” Mrs. Tiddleworth stepped from behind the screen door and out onto the porch next to the officer.”
“I wish there was a solution. Little Betsy- that’s my youngest, will turn 9 next week and we were planning a birthday celebration of sorts.”
“Risky, at best.”- said Officer Big and Tall.
They both stood in the shade of the freshly-painted porch roof for a minute or two. One could tell they were both thinking- long and hard!
“You know, Mrs. Tiddleworth…”
“Yes Officer Big and Tall. You have a solution?”
‘Well now, some of the government folks have been talking about ships coming across the great ocean loaded to the brim with all ages and sizes of Xtras!”
“You don’t say!”
There was hope in Mrs. Tiddleworth’s voice.
“I do!” – said Officer Big and Tall.” These ships were bringing hundreds upon hundreds of Xtras- slaves, if you pardon my language Mrs. Tiddleworth…”
“Oh Dear me! Of course I do. I mean a man in your position Officer Big and Tall has to be allowed to remove himself from pleasantries now and then.” Mrs. Tiddleworth smiled as she looked directly into Officer Big and Tall’s deep set brown eyes.
“Did you know the researchers at the Institute are discovering they used to do that several thousand years ago?”
“No!” Mrs. Tiddleworth was over-acing just a bit.
“Yes. Apparently they use to haul in shipfulls of poor slaves and when they came to these shores they had to work at something called slavery. In fact Professor TooToo told me these slaves were something like our Xtras of today.”
“My Goodness! What next?” Mrs. Tiddleworth covered her mouth with her tea towel.
Then she said-
“Do you suppose one of these Xtra’s- not the Christian ones- the ship bound ones, could
stand for my youngest at the stoning?”
Officer Big and Tall removed his cap and scratched his head.
“I don’t see why not. They are just as worthless as those Christian runners. Leave it with me Mrs. Tiddleworth. I need to report this infraction regarding your hot dryer but I will invite the Justice over to my house for a Hot Sauna and suggest he revert the sentence to a freshly arrived Xtra.”
“Oh I am so delighted Officer Big and Tall. I shall be able to plan Betsy’s 9th Birthday after all!” She paused and looked up into Officer Big and Tall’s face and used all her womanly whiles as she said-
“Now, how about some hot tea and a great big piece of my Apple Dumpling fresh from the Oven…I ummmm... mean my larder?”
Officer Big and Tall smiled warmly.
“I suppose there’s no harm in that. Maybe you can give me an all-over massage after we exchange pleasantries and I eat your hot pie!”
“I would be delighted Officer Big and Tall. After you I’m sure.”
She motioned to the front door with a tea-towelled hand.
Officer Big and Tall stepped across the threshold into her house.
Mrs. Tiddlesworth followed him through the door, admiring his rock hard bum as she