Gretchen!

“Susan! Your heart! Breath! Keep calm! Be nice!” Rambled Michelle as the two women approached the group at the bar.

“So! You’re Gretchen.” Said Susan through gritted teeth.

Chief Day got off of his bar stool. His six foot four inch body seemed to be that of a giant. He took Gretchen into a side embrace. “Susan, I want you to meet Gretchen. My niece.” The Chief gave Susan a stern look. She has seen this look numerous times. A calm kind attitude was presented when Susan shook Gretchen’s hand.

“We will join you ladies at your table. This way any big ears will not hear us.” Said Chief Day. Everyone nodded in agreement. The waitress followed the group. Within minutes she had everyone taken care of.

Ralph started the conversation. “Susan. Chief Day had me meet his niece a month ago. I meet her the day before you had your mild heart attack. She wants to be a coder like myself. Without telling you, it was going to be a surprise. For me to work less hours. Instead someone altered a picture of me, Gretchen and the Chief.” Ralph was interrupted.

Chief Day, handed Susan his smart phone. There it was. A picture of all three of them. The picture sent to Susan and Pastor was of Ralph and Gretchen. They are close together because the Chief is in the picture. Susan looked at Ralph.

“The person responsible for this used a photo editor.” Said Ralph.

“No divorce.” Muttered Susan.

“No baby. You are my one and only.” Said Ralph.

“Enough of the gooey stuff.” Said the Chief.

“I’m so sorry you went through all of this, Susan.” Said Gretchen.

“Honey, you are not the responsible party for this.” Said Susan.

“You were going to cut back your hours, Ralph? For me?”

“Yes, Susan.”

“Gretchen please take over my husbands work load. You are more than welcome to work out of our home. We can give you a key.” Smiled Susan.

“As for you Michelle” The Chief paused.

“No need to ruffle your feathers Chief.” Said Pastor George.

“I will need to arrest you Michelle. You disobeyed a direct order from me.” The Chief was all business. He radio into the station. “Officer Shape. Hustle yourself to the Watering Hole. I found one of the women you are looking for. Michelle Blessing.”

“Yes sir. Right away sir. Yes sir. On my way sir.” Officer Shape said.

“Chief. You are being a bit harsh.” Said Susan.

“You can be arrested as well. Interfering with official police business.” Growled the Chief.

The group fell silent. Everyone busied there glances away from the Chief. Michelle looked at her husband with a pleading look. He mouthed to her, “There’s nothing I can do.” Said Pastor George.

Found Her

“Ralph, I can help you to remove whatever demon you are facing right now.” Said Pastor George.

“Come on, Pastor, a walk to the Watering Hole will do us some good. I can drink beers while confessing my sins to you.” Said Ralph as he walked out the kitchen door.

Michelle waited until she heard the kitchen door close before she went back to Susan. “Susan put your shoes on. We have a date the the Watering Hole.”

The uneventful mile walk to the local pub gave time for both men to gather their thoughts. Ralph opened the door for Pastor George. Chief Day waved them over.

Meanwhile.

Susan and Michelle walked into the pub. They grabbed the back corner table while the Chief was motioning to their husbands.

“Do you think they saw us?” Asked Michelle.

“Nah.” Said Susan.

“What can I get you ladies?” Asked the waitress.

“I’ll have a Pepsi.” Said Michelle.

“Double, Glenlivet on the rocks.” Stated Susan. The waitress left. Susan looked at Michelle for a dispute. All she did was shrug her shoulders.

“Right now, I’d love to be a fly on the wall.” Said Michelle.

“Looks to be an intense conversation.” Said Susan.

“Here you are ladies. Can I get you anything else.” Asked the waitress.

“No thank you.” They replied in unison.

“Oh, before I forget. Mable recorded this on her scanner.” Said Michelle. Both women focused on the audio. When it ended, Susan looked away from Michelle and to the guys. “Holy shit.” Susan said while pointed at the bar.

There she stood next to Ralph.

“That’s Gretchen.” Said Susan as she got out of her chair.

“Susan! Wait! I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation!” Exclaimed Michelle as she quicken her pace to catch up to her friend.

Sandwiched!

“How are you feeling Susan? You look a lot better than you did thirty minutes ago.” Stated Michelle with a smile.

There was a pregnant pause before Susan spoke. “Who is Gretchen? She texted me an image of her and George. How did she get my cell number?”

“I don’t know sweetie.” Said Michelle as she lead over to have a look at the image. She saw two people that looked happy. One might say in love. “No. That cant be true.” Thought Susan.

The two women fell silent.

Ralph had overheard the conversation between the two women. Before he walked away he heard, “I feel like a sandwich. I’m in the middle of Ralph and Gretchen.” Said Susan. “Am I suppose to be contacting an attorney?”

“Let’s not rush to conclusions.” Michelle spoke.

Ralph walked back into the kitchen to find George staring at him. “Who’s Gretchen? She sent me this image of the two of you.? Are you having an affair with her?” Demanded Pastor George.

Chief Day

Chief Day, walked into the Horizons (Ralph and Susan) home. All three men exchanged greetings. They were pleasant, yet something was wrong. Very wrong with the Chief. “Before I tell you as to why the streets looks like a circus, no prayers Pastor. Got it.”

Pastor George nodded his head in agreement.

Chief Day adjusted his belt buckle before he spoke. “The two of you know I lost the love of my life to cancer, three months ago.” As he spoke his next sentence he glared at the Pastor. Through clenched teeth, “Some one killed my dog today. The boxer you called in. She was the last live string I had to my wife.”

The room feel into silence. In the background you could hear the laughter from the back of the house. Ralph noticed the Chief take a swipe at his eyes. “Let’s check up on our wives.” Ralph stated as the three men headed to the media room. They had one of Michelle’s favorite movies on, “Finding Nemo.” Each man took a seat and began to watch the movie. The Chief’s radio came to life. He growled into the radio, “Keep the town’s busy body handcuffed in my car. She can call any “high power attorney” in the world. I want Connie handcuffed in your car. Now is good. I’ll be out there in a couple of minutes.” With the Chief’s voice full of anger, “One of them will be charged for man slaughter.”

A plethora of “Yes sirs” were heard.

“Ladies will you please stop the movie.” The Chief managed to say in a soft tone. “I’m not in a good mood. Your husbands will fill you in. Michelle I know you slugged Connie. You will stay in this house until I give you further orders.”

The look on his face told her not to argue. “Yes Chief.”

Chief Day got out of the over stuffed chair he was sitting in. “As for you Ralph. Let’s get it together. You have twenty four hours to clean up your mess. Shall you chose to ignore me. I will arrest you. Are we clear.”

“Yes Chief. Very clear.” Said Ralph.

The Circus

“Breath. Just breath. Nice deep breaths. Breath ln, hold seven seconds, out for seven seconds.” Ralph whispered into Susan’s ear. Pastor George stood on the opposite side of Susan from Ralph. Both men whispered into her ear, “breath, in and out.”

Beside the alarm ringing in her head there was the noise from her fit watch warning her the blood pressure had escalated. Susan knew she must walk away now. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. There is one person in this world that has the gift of making people’s lives miserable. There she was in the middle of the police cars, fire trucks and an ambulance. Two paramedics with a large blue bag were approaching Susan. “No. This can’t be happening. I’m not having another heart attack.” Susan mumbled out loud.

Ralph realized that his approach for Susan to see the chaos at their home wasn’t the best way. “Let’s get you inside.” Said Ralph.

“To late good buddy.” Stated Pastor George.

“Well, well, well. The rumor is true.” Said Nancy. “You are live with Nancy New’s. She pointed her smart phone to George, “Any comment Pastor George to your’s and Susan’s affair? By the way where is Michelle. She has moved back to her mother’s. Tsk tsk Pastor. Wait till the board sees this video.” Smirked Nancy.

“Oh poor fragile Susan. Having another heart attack? You poor baby. This is what happens to sinners.” A sinister laugh was released from Nancy.

Susan began to steep away. She had sweat on her face. Was becoming dizzy. She hung on to Ralph and George like her life depended on it. The paramedics had quickened their pace. Susan wanted to collapse in the house. Not in front of the circus. Susan was becoming disoriented. Not sure what really happened. All she remembered was being lifted off of the ground. She was being carried into her home. She woke up with an oxygen mask on her face. Michelle stood over her with left hand wrapped in gauze.

Furry Bodies

“Babe, how are we going to handle her?” Asked Michelle. “Her mouth can be heard world wide.”

“Michelle. We have a much Higher Power of Being that will guide us all.” Said Pastor George.

“Ralph! When did you get a German Shepard?” Asked an annoyed Susan.

Before Ralph spoke he looked out the large glass window. Sure enough there was a German Shepard and Boxer in their back yard. He closed his eyes shut for a moment and opened them. Now there were four dogs playing in the yard. The two Chihuahua’s (Bert and Beatrice aka Bea) belonged to them. How the other two got in the yard was the main question in his mind.

Ralph strode across the room headed to the sliding glass door in the kitchen. George, Michelle and Susan followed him. All four adults stepped out onto the patio. They stood there for a mere three seconds before the herd of dogs came their way. Four happy soaked furred, long tongued four legged bodies rushed up to the two legged bodies. Lot’s of woof woofs, hellos and commands for good doggy behavior. Susan noticed, Ralph was happy to play with the German Shepard. Bert noticed this as well. He and Beatrice chose to put a stop to the interaction. Susan intercepted by scooping up the two Chihuahuas.

“The two you are coming inside with me. I’m heading in.” Announced Susan. “I’m right behind you. To much slobber for me. Give me a cat any day.” Said Michelle as she opened the door for Susan. The two women were in the kitchen. As Michelle walked passed Susan, Bert turn toward her with a nice big tongue kiss on her cheek. Michelle froze. “Get the iodine!”

Susan withheld a smile. She set the two dogs down and went to the first aide kit. The iodine bottle (small one) was given to Michelle with a Q-tip. Michelle dashed into the bathroom with both dogs following her.

“Bert and Bea, now!” Demanded Susan. Both dogs followed the request. Susan looked out the kitchen window to see Ralph waving for her to come outside. “Michelle, I’m going back outside. Make yourself comfortable. You two behave yourselves.” Susan stated as she was out the sliding glass door.

“Ralph what’s up?” Asked Susan.

“George and I found the owners to the dogs. I want you to see something for yourself.” Said Ralph as he took Susan’s hand. They walked to their front yard. Susan stood there with her mouth hanging open. Ralph shut it for her. “I don’t believe what I’m seeing.”

That Nasty Woman!

Ralph and Susan work out of their home. Ralph’s office is down stairs near the front door. Susan is up stairs away from all the activity of the home. She’s not disturbed by Ralph’s clients. Instead of interrupting each other, they text one another for availability.

Susan texted Ralph, U home?

He text back, Yea

She texted back, See u n few.

Susan ascended down the stairs, “Ralph that Fing….” Susan stopped in her tracks. She wasn’t greeted by Ralph.

“Pastor George!”

“Hello Susan,” Said Pastor George as he gave her a hug.

“George!” Said Ralph.

“What? The by passers might think the rumor is true by me giving Susan a hug.”

Susan released herself from George’s arms. Walked up to Ralph, “Why didn’t you tell me two days ago.”

Susan noticed the intensity look in Ralph’s eyes. “Ralph I’m not going to break or die on you. All I need to do is do calm things, eat healthier and exercise. I got this.” Said Susan.

“Instead of standing her by the front door let’s sit down in the living room. The walked in to find fruit, nuts, seeds and coffee on the table. Michelle, Pastor George’s wife walked up to Susan and gave her a hug. “I’m so sorry this is happening to you.”

“Me to. And to George. Ralph’s best friend since the third grade.” Said Susan. The two women smiled at each other.

“Thank you” Said Susan.

“We all need to eat healthier. Except for Ralph, he is Mr. Healthy.” Smile Michelle. Everyone got their coffee and a plate full of treats.

“We all know that Connie is broken and is having a difficult time in her life. I’m not saying this gives her any reason to do what she has done. And seems to be continuing on that Susan and I are having an affair.” Said Pastor George.

Susan felt her iPhone vibrate. She looked down at the text message. Groan out loud. “Great! The biggest busy body of our church is on her way over.” Said Susan

I am Obese

After “cleaning” herself up, Susan didn’t feel any better. She walked into her office. The warm alpaca hand knitted afghan caught her eye. The blanket tossed in the over stuffed chair was calling out to her. “Why not.”

Susan curled herself into the chair then wrapped herself tight with the warmth of the fiber. She sat this way for some time. “Fine I’ll journal about this.” Susan said out loud to no one. The blanket came along with her.

Sitting in front of the laptop she read what was typed in the journal document, yesterday. Nothing. Zip. The day didn’t seem to exist. “So much for writing in the journal every day. Doctors and therapist are very helpful. This stupid heart condition isn’t going to cause death. Ralph seems to think so.” Where the thoughts in her head.

“Okay you win. Let’s journal.” Susan said with a raised voice.

January 5, 2020

I am obese. I am obese. am obese. I am obese. I am obese. m obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese. I am obese.

“There done. Feel better already. Not.”

“THIS SUCKS!” Susan yelled.

Ralph heard Susan talking out loud. The anger in her voice he chose to give her space. Another text message was sent. “Now what?” Whispered Ralph as he descended the stairs.

Making a Splash

Susan was sitting in the sun room as Ralph entered. He saw his wife staring out into space. She wasn’t dressed. This time she was still in her pj’s. Not like her at all. He was about to say something when his iPhone vibrated. He left the room to take the call.

“Staring into space isn’t going to fix this,” muttered Susan as she got out of the rocking chair. She turned to the right to find a concerned look on Ralph’s face.

“How bad is it? Don’t worry I can fix anything,” Said Ralph as he walked up to Susan. He stared at her with intensity. “Who died?”

They were holding hands when Susan blurted out, “I’m seventy pounds over weight.”

Ralph scooped her up in his arms. She began to cry which turned into sobbing. “Ralph I can’t breath.” Said Susan.

He looked at her soaked faced, released her from his hold and took off his flannel shirt. “We will get through this together,” he said as her wiped off her face, then held the shirt up to her nose, “Blow.” Susan complied.

“You’re a keeper Ralph Green. You know we do have Kleenex.” Said Susan as they walked into the kitchen. “Thanks for wanting to keep me. I’m potty trained and have had all my shoots.” They both laughed.

“Meet me in an hour.” Said Ralph.

Susan gave him a quizzical look. Ralph whispered, “You need to clean up. While you’re doing that I need to put a stop to a rumor.”

For the love of Cajun Chicken

Susan knew she was pushing it. Her fingers where hurting from typing. The hunger pangs and growling of her stomach had increased. She’d push them aside and continue to type.

She was pleased with the movement of her writing. While happy with the results her body wasn’t so thrilled.

The clock was ticking, it was reading 3:00 pm. Susan knew she’d better wrap things up or no chicken for her. On Sunday’s they stop cooking at 5:00 pm. This Sunday she wasn’t missing out one of her favorites, Cajun chicken.

In blink of an eye, the clock read 4;00 pm. “Crap. Just a couple more minutes.” Susan muttered out loud. Now the clock read 4:30 pm. Susan flew out of the house to find the parking lot full at Circle K.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Stated Susan.

She walked into the store at 4:35 pm to find both cashiers had lines, long lines. They were ninety five percent men. All ordering her favorite chicken. Men with large appetites ordering the big box, which contains ten pieces of chicken. All she wanted was her two piece chicken tenders.

A sign of relief fell over her when she saw there was plenty of chicken tenders in the pan. Then reality hit. She was at the end of the line. The men in front of her and at the other cashier stand were ordering their large orders.

With a quick moving line the chicken was decreasing in the pans. “Great. No way am I getting any chicken.” She made eye contact with Jennifer an employee. They both did a fast smile to each other.

Two men ahead of Susan. She’s almost in reach of her favorite. The one man orders like eight hundred pieces of chicken with another ordering six hundred pieces. From her view the chicken tenders are gone. “Men!”

Susan turn arrived. She smiled at Jennifer, “I need to get here much earlier.” Said Susan. Jennifer replied, “We stop serving all hot foods at 5:00 pm. With the holiday’s we have more traffic in the store.”

“Do you have any chicken tenders?” Jennifer went to the hot food and asked Susan, “Do you mind taking several pieces of small ones? The jojo’s aren’t that many. Will you take the chicken and jojo’s with a blueberry biscuit.” Asked Jennifer.

Immediate response from Susan. “Sold.”