Tank

“Why are you here, Cora?” Asked, Tank.

“I sent you an email message two weeks ago.” Said, Cora.

The room fell silent for a brief moment. Grace chose to exercise her lungs. Cora looked in Grace’s direction to see what was going on. She stifled a giggle. Susan, on the other hand, wasn’t that happy.

“Beatrice, that’s not yours.” Said, Susan.

“No worries. Grace was finished with her cookie.” Said, Cora with a smile.

“Where is she?” Asked, Tank.

Cora went to the blanket and picked up Grace. She walked over to Tank. “This is our daughter.” Said, Cora.

“May I hold her?” Asked, Tank.

“Yes.” Said, Cora with a smile.

“She’s so little.” Said, Tank.

Ralph cleared his throat and said, “Your apartment above the garage is ready for you.”

“Thank you.” Said, Tank.

“Where are you and Grace staying?” Asked, Tank to Cora.

“She will be staying at the cottage Emily built before she died.” Said, Chief Day.

“I will not accept any form of charity.” Said, Tank.

“This isn’t charity. You and your family will be helping me to grieve the sudden loss of Emily. Cancer took her quick.” Said, Chief Day in a stern voice.

“I assure you, nothing will happen to your family. “Said, Chief Day with a growl. He looked in the direction of Nancy and Connie while saying the sentence.

“Susan hired me. I’m her marketer agent.” Said, Susan with excitement in her voice.

“We need to give you and Cora your privacy. Use my office.” Said, Ralph.

The young couple did just that. The rest of the group took their seats. Chief Day made sure both Bert and Bea were sitting on his lap. Susan withheld a giggle.

“Is my life in danger?” Asked, Susan.

“No.” Said, Chief Day.

“Your Instagram account was hacked into.” Said, Ralph.

Pastor George received a text message on his smartphone. He read the message then said, “Connie we need to go.”

They both began to walk out of the living room. “Is everything alright?” Asked, Ralph.

“No.” Said, Pastor George.

“You’ll call me shall you need back up.” Said, Chief Day.

“Yes.”

“I wonder what that’s all about.” Said, Susan

Adjustments

“We need to change the game plan.” Said, Susan.

The men stopped walking. “You want all of us to meet in the living room?” Asked, Ralph.

“Yes.” Said, Susan.

Everyone gathered their things and went into the room. Grace was placed on a blanket on the floor. About a minute went by with everyone watching her. Chief Day broke the silence.

“Cora and Grace will be staying in the cottage. My Emily had a dream before she did. A young mother and her baby will need a place to stay. I believe she was preparing me before she died.” Stated, Chief Day.

“Cora, the church will help you.” Said, Pastor George.

“I’m not a religious person.” Stated, Cora.

“Not a problem. Connie is our community outreach coordinator. Here is her business card.” Said, Pastor George with a smile.

“Thank you.” Said, Cora.

“You hurt one hair one either of them you will deal with me.” Growled, Chief Day to Connie.

“My intentions are to hurt no one. I am a bit of a gossip hound.” Said, Connie.

“Is that what you are calling yourself?” Mumbled, Chief Day.

“Moving forward.” Said, Susan.

“Chief Day, please have Cora’s car towed to the garage. The church will pay for the repairs.” Said, Susan.

“I will pay you back, Pastor George.” Said, Cora.

“There is no hurry in you doing that. Nor do you need to pay us back. Consider this as a gift.” Said, Pastor George.

“You got WiFi at the cottage?” Asked, Ralph.

“No.”

“Hm….” Said, Ralph.

“This is Chief Day. I need my service to expand today. Now is good.” He said into his smartphone. A minute went by with the Chief agreeing to the person on the other side of the call.

“We are set. They will be at my place within the hour.” Said, Chief Day.

“Excellent.” Said, Ralph.

“Cora, do you have any social media skills or marketing?” Asked Ralph.

“Yes.”

“I have the perfect job for you.” Said, Ralph.

Susan gave her husband one of her looks. “Honey, don’t worry your pretty head. I got all of this.” Said, Ralph. Ralph looked over at Susan to see her glaring at him. He smiled back.

“Cora. My wife is a world-known contemporary romance author. I am….”

“Susan, I’ve read all of your books. I’d be honored to market you. Work all of your social media accounts.” Said, Cora with excitement.

“Grace can stay with me. Chief Day being kind to have WiFi at the cottage. Oh, everything is falling into place.” Said, Cora with a giggle.

“This is a yes?” Asked, Ralph.

“Yes.” Said, Cora.

“Great. We will work out the details tomorrow.” Said, Ralph.

“What details are you talking about?” Asked, Tank.

Apologize

Bert and Bea went into full guard dog mode. Lots of barking as they ran to the front door. Chief Day followed them. He opened the front door. The woman who stood before him wasn’t one he wanted to see.

“Connie, what do you want?” Grumbled, Chief Day.

“Good morning Connie. Chief Day!” Said, a chipper Pastor George.

“Shall we go to the meeting place? I mean the kitchen.” Chuckled, Pastor George.

Chief Day did an about-face then did a brisk walk to the kitchen. Bea and Bert were at his heels. When he stopped, Bea pawed his left leg to be picked up. Chief Day scooped her up, without hesitation. For his efforts, Bea gave him several kisses on the cheek. Some noticed a faint smile on his face. Short-lived as it was.

When Connie walked into the kitchen, several people were taking deep breaths. Pastor George stood to the right of Connie. A minute or so went by, before Susan, said, “Good morning, Connie and Pastor George.”

“I want to introduce to our newest residents. Cora and Grace. I’d better not hear any rumors about this young family.” Bellowed, Chief Day.

“We come in peace.” Said, Pastor George.

“Right.” Stated, Chief Day in a sour tone.

“Connie, you have our attention. ” Said, Susan.

“Well! We don’t have all day.” Boomed, Chief Day.

Connie looked over to Pastor George. He nodded his head, then mouthed, “You got this.”

Connie did a loud exhale of breath. She looked in the direction of Chief Day, “Chief Day, I am very sorry for the trouble that I caused you. More so, is the loss of your wife’s dog.”

Several painful minutes elapsed before Chief Day spoke, “I will not hold a grudged against you, Connie. I accept your apology. Please keep in mind the grieving process I’m going through.” Said, Chief Day.

“Pastor George, when you have time, I’d like to chat with you.” Said, Chief Day.

“I came here to visit with you and Ralph.” Stated, Pastor George.

“Gentleman to the producers’ office.” Ralph chuckled.

Chief Day walked up to Susan. “You know that Bea is expecting?”

“Yes.”

“I want one of her pups.” Stated the Chief.

“You are first on the list, Chief Day.” Said, Susan with a smile.

Tank’s Baby

There was a soft knock at the Horizon’s kitchen sliding glass door. Ralphed opened the door to find a young lady holding a baby. “Please come in.” Said, Ralph.

With caution, the young lady walked into the Horizon home.

“Please sit down. I’m Susan Horizon. My husband Ralph opened the door for you. Nancy News is the Editor, for our local newspaper. The big burly guy is Chief Day.” Said Susan.

“Hello everyone. My name is Cora. I’m looking for Tank.”

“Tank will be back next Wednesday.” Said, Susan.

“Oh…” Cora became quiet. She looked down at the table.

“Hey, Ralph. I found….. ” Said, Gretchen.

Cora looked up at Gretchen. “I’m Cora.”

“Gretchen, the rude one that just interrupted the conversation.”

Both women looked at each other and smiled.

“Can you please hold my baby girl, Grace?” Asked, Cora with pleading eyes.

“Of course.”

Gretchen unwrapped Grace from the blanket. Ralph looked over at her. He almost spewed the coffee in his mouth. Grace was the female image of his good friend, Tank.

“Long story short. Tank and I were neighbors during junior high school. We were each other’s best friends. The happy times we had I will treasure forever. The war changed all of that. He came home a different man. I miss my Bear.

Over a year ago, our relationship became intimate. There was talk of marriage. When I became pregnant everything changed. Tank wanted us to be friends, period. We stay in communications, by email. Said, Cora.

In between sobbing and gulps of air Cora accepted the tissue box Susan handed her.

“Thank you.” Said, Cora in between sniffs and blowing her nose.

“Tank told me about the Horizons in our latest email correspondence. Following my heart, not my mind brought me here.” Said, Cora.

“He deserves to meet his daughter. She’s three months old.” Said, a somber Cora.

“What was I thinking?” Asked, Cora.

Chief Day, cleared his throat. The noise startled the group. “You and Grace will stay at my cottage. That’s an order.” Commanded, Chief Day.

“Um, my car broke down at the grocery store.” Said, Cora.

“I have this!” Directed, Chief Day.

“Ah, Chief are you sure? I’m more than happy to help.” Said, Susan.

“Yes, Susan.” Barked, Chief Day.

“Gretchen, grab your coat. You’re coming with us.” Said, Chief Day.

“Yes, Sir.” Said, Gretchen as she walked passed Ralph and shrugged her shoulders.

Clarity

“No.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. Where is this nonexistent newspaper coming from?” Asked, Nancy.

“You.” Replied, Chief Day.

The room fell silent. Chief Day cleared his throat. “I called your boss. The one that fired you. I must admit there was persuasion on my part.”

“You had me fired. I find that rather rude.” Stated, Nancy.

“Let me finish. I know you are the best newspaper editor we will ever get in our small community. You are one of the best-known journalists in the country. Your ruthlessness is what gets you in trouble. I like your approach.”

This stunned, Nancy. “You like my journalism?”

“Yes. Not how you go about it, but you are excellent at your craft.” Said, Chief Day.

“When do I start?” Asked, Nancy.

“Tomorrow. We are working in your office. It’s located at the police station. The empty side office we don’t use nor do I see us using it.”

Congratulations went around the room. Susan refreshed everyone’s coffee mug. She gave one to Nancy which she accepted.

“I’m glad we got this all cleared up. What happened to my Instagram account?” Asked, Susan.

“We deleted it.” Stated, Chief Day.

“You what!” My fans are on that page.” Announced, Susan.

“One of your fans is in a dark place at your expense.” Said, Ralph.

“In the future, I’d like to be a part of these decisions.” Grrrr. Mumbled, Susan.

“We can change anything you want, Susan.” Said, Ralph. Susan let out a long breath. “Show me what you’ve done. We’ll go from there.” Said, Susan.

“I need to get back to the station.” Said, Chief Day.

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning, Chief.” Stated, Nancy.

“Nancy, your office will be cleaned. Within reason, the police department will give you some money to decorate it.”

“Sounds great! Thank you, Chief Day.” Said, Nancy.

Bert and Bea came to life when they heard a light rap on the sliding glass door. Ralph got up to answer the door. There stood a woman holding a baby.

The Mist

Chief Day, Ralph, and Gretchen walked into the kitchen. Nancy and Susan stopped talking. Nancy looked at the Chief and said, “I am so sorry. My intention was not to kill your dog with my vehicle.

“I know, Nancy. You were after a story.” Said the Chief.

Gretchen, Chief Day, and Ralph sat down at the kitchen table with Nancy and Susan. Ralph spoke, “Someone hacked into Susan’s Instagram account. They are responsible for the bad press.”

“I owe you an apology, Nancy.” Said, Chief Day.

“Apology accepted.” Said, Nancy.

“I’ve been fired.” Said, Nancy.

Chief Day had a large smile on his face after everyone shared their concerns for her. “We have a job for you. Right Officer Shape?”

“Yes! Yes, Sir!” Stated, Officer Shape.

Nancy zeroed her eye contact with the Chiefs. “What kind of job?” She asked.

“One that is right up your alley. You are our new Editor in Chief, ‘The Mist.’

“We don’t have a local paper.” Said, Nancy.

“We do now.” Said, Chief Day.

Horrific Images

Chief Day Officer Shape and Gretchen were staring at the computer screen in Ralph’s office.

“I know my Susan. She’d never post such horrible posts about another human being.” Said Ralph as he looked at the others.

“Officer Shape, thank you for bringing this to our attention. ” Said, Ralph.

“Susan and I will delete her Instagram account. I’ll create a new one that we can share. She’ll lose a lot of her followers. A risk we’ll take.” Said, Ralph.

Meanwhile, the front doorbell chime rang.

Susan opened the front door to find Nancy News standing there.

“Nancy, please come in.”

“Thank you. I will not take up much of your time.” stated a somber, Nancy.

“Can I get you a cup of coffee.”

“No thank you.” Said, Nancy.

The two women entered into the quiet kitchen. They sat down at the kitchen table.

“What can I do for you, Nancy.” Said, Susan

“I know you are not a spiteful person, Susan. But, these Instagram posts from you…” Nancy’s, voice trailed off.

“What posts?”

Nancy slid her smartphone over to Susan. Her jaw dropped when she saw the images. They were pictures of Nancy running over the Chief’s dog.

“Nancy, I am so sorry. I will find out who hacked into my account.” Said, Susan.

“What can I do for you, Nancy.” Said, Susan

Look This Way

Monday was an uneventful day. Everyone was glad to have the quietness to rest. Some took naps throughout the day. Ralph and Susan’s home had plenty of room in their home. Tank was on guard duty. His military training had the property secured and safe.

Facing a new day, Tuesday had Ralph, Tank and Chief Day looking at surveillance technology for the home. Susan took this opportunity to place herself in front of her laptop. She had to write. Nothing came to her for her latest book. She sipped her coffee and watched the cursor blink at her.

Susan began to fiddle with a word puzzle on her smart phone. Pleased to see some progress by finishing several puzzles still left her feeling anxious. Social media always cleared up feeling unproductive. Off she went to check on her accounts. The Instagram account had a post that shocked her.

“Who would do such a thing?” Said Susan out loud.

She marched into the kitchen, wiggled her way between the three men, Ralph, Tank and Chief Day.

“Honey can’t you see we’re a bit busy here.” Said Ralph

Susan took her smart phone and placed it in his hand. “Take a look at the image someone posted on Instagram.”

The Chief took one look and growled. Yes, he growled. The room fell silent between the four people. Chief Day pulled out his smart phone. “Officer Shape!”

“Yes! Yes Sir. Right away Sir!

The front door bell rang its chime. Susan began to head in that direction. “I got this. You stay in the kitchen, Susan. It’s safer there for you. Men let’s go.”

“Safer? No. I live here and will answer my front door.” Chief Day increased his steps. Susan had to push herself to keep up with him. The Chief opened the front door with Susan, Tank and Ralph behind him. There stood an angel with a beautiful smile. She was holding a pink box. Susan in her graceful manner took the box from Gail Cook and invited her into the home.

Officer Shape walked into the home with Gail. The Chief closed the door while he took hold of Officer Shape’s right forearm. “Did you give Gail a police escort to this home.” Asked the Chief.

“Ah. Yes Sir. I mean no Sir.”

“Which one is it Officer Shape.”

“Chief Day you are becoming rather dull. My car broke down at the bakery. Officer Shape was kind enough to give me a ride. Another words he was doing his job. Now leave the young officer alone. I have your favorites, Chief.” Said Gail.

The Chief released Officer Shape’s arm. Gail took it and walked in with the officer. Susan busied herself by making more coffee. The two notorious loud Chihuahua’s were rather quiet. They found the lap of Chief Day. All were happy and content. This placed a smile on Susan’s face.

“A penny for your thoughts.” Said Ralph.

“Look how happy the Chief looks. Those to brats, our dogs give him comfort.” Said Susan then placed a quick kiss on Ralph’s lips.

Gail looked around the room to see faces of delight. Her toughest customer Chief Day showed joy. She hasn’t that look in a long time. “Perhaps the grieving class is helping him.” Ran in her mind.

Ralph pulled Susan to the side, “Please stay here and entertain our guest. I will fill you in when everyone is gone.” Said Ralph.

Susan knew by the look in Ralph’s eyes this was serious. The information he need to gather wasn’t for everyone to know. “Go get them.” Susan said.

Slow Day

Words were bouncing around in Nancy News head. “You are under arrest for vehicular manslaughter.” She felt groggy. Tried to move her right arm. It was stuck to something. Nancy wake up. Blackness fell over her once again.

A new day is beginning for our four friends. Exhausted from the day before had them moving around at a slower pace. The clock read 5am. Ralph and Susan were sitting in the kitchen listening to the coffee brew. There was a light tap on the sliding glass door, which caused Chihuahua barking.

“Bert and Bea, I got this.” stated Ralph. He opened the blinds with caution. The faces that stared back at him were a welcome.

“Come in, Gretchen, Michelle, Chief and Pastor George. Susan just made a fresh brew.”

“I brought fresh baked goods from the bakery.” Stated Gretchen.

Greetings were interrupted when the front door bell rang. Bert and Bea went into Chihuahua attack mode. “I’ll get that.” Said the Chief. With the dogs at his heels the Chief scooped both up in one arm and opened the door.

“You’re not the one I wanted to see.” Whispered Connie.

“Too bad. Get in here. ” Growled the Chief. The Chihuahua’s followed the Chief by growling at Connie as she entered the home. “This way. We are all in the kitchen.” Said the Chief as Bea licked the powder sugar off his chin. Bert enjoyed the ride.

“Officer Shape. Where are you manners, son. Grab a mug, fill it with coffee. I want to see a plant of food in front of you.” Said the Chief.

“Yes! Yes Sir! Yes Chief. Right away, Sir.” Said Officer Shape.

The room fell silent when Connie cleared her throat. Pastor George walked up to her. “Can I get you a cup of coffee?”

“No thank you Pastor. I will be here for a moment.” Said Connie.

She looked around the room at the tired eyes looking back at her. “I’ve come by to tell everyone that I’m sorry for blasting the wrong picture of Ralph and Gretchen. Who I don’t even know.”

“Hi Connie. I’m Gretchen. Chief Day’s niece. I’ve been hired by Ralph to work out of his home. His wife Susan and myself get along well.” Said Gretchen as she took her coffee and breakfast into the media room. Everyone followed her except for Susan.

“Connie, I appreciate you coming by to share you apologizes. I am asking you to leave our home. When things calm down we’ll talk.” Spoke Susan as she walked Connie out of their home.

Susan walked into the media room to find a sleep Chief with two Chihuahua’s attached to him. The three were snoring. Susan stifled a giggle. “I’m declaring today as a slow day.” The group nodded in unison.

Meanwhile.

Nancy News woke up long enough to realize her right arm was handcuffed to the hospital bed.

Panic

“Chief Day. Is this necessary? Arresting my wife?” Asked Pastor George.

“Yes! I gave her a direct order to stay at the Horizon home. Mrs. Blessing, your wife chose to ignore me. May I remind you. We have a full man slaughter charge needing to be investigated. I want the person responsible. Got it!” Replied Chief Day with a raised voice.

The Chief’s radio came to life. “Chief? You want me to arrest Mrs. Blessing? The Pastor’s wife.” Asked Officer Shape.

“Yes. Now! And make it snappy!” Chief Day growled over the radio.

“Yes Sir! Right away Sir. No dawdling Sir. Yes Sir! I’m on it Sir. You can count on me sir”

“Officer Shape! Now!.” Yelled Chief Day.

The entire pub fell into silence. Pastor George grabbed his wife’s hand. “Don’t think about it Pastor. He took my Emily away. My best friend. She gave me unconditional love.” Said a somber Chief.

Pastor George gave his wife’s hand a big squeeze. He mouthed to her that he loved her. To keep praying. Not let the Chief know. This got Michelle to show a small smile. Then Pastor George whispered into Michelle’s ear, “God is great. I love you. He will guide us out of this mess.” Afterwards he took both hands and placed them on Michelle’s face. Gave her a kiss which raised some eye brows. Followed by “Way to go Pastor.” Michelle smiled at her husband.

Nancy News walked into the pub. She gave the place a quick look over. Found the person she was ready to interrogate. She took three steps forward when the door to the pub opened. In walked Officer Shape. The Chief stood up, taking quick steps to Nancy News, “Now, Officer Shape.”

“Ms. News.” Said Officer Shape.

Nancy chose to ignore the young police officer. Her gaze was fixed on the Chief. Her breathing began to quicken. She felt her heart rate increase, body temperature was warming up, she began gulping for air. “He knows.” Nancy said.

The Chief approached Nancy, with the Horizon’s and Blessings’s close by. “Office Shape, call for an ambulance. She’s having a panic attack.” Barked the Chief.

“Yes Sir! Right away Sir!” The officer contacted the paramedics immediate.

Susan walked up to Nancy, took her left arm and guided her into a chair. “Nancy, I am CPR certified. You are having a panic attack. Let’s try to calm you down. Start with nice deep breaths in and out.”

Nancy didn’t hear Susan. All she saw was the large looming body standing near by. The one with all those muscles. Muscles that can hurt people. “The Chief doesn’t hit girls. Does he?” Ran through Nancy’s mind.

Flashes of her past relating to law enforcement filled her head. The threat of her boss, “You will be fired, shall another law enforcement incident occur.” Oh God! What has she done this time? No. Not that.