"Well, AnnieBee, I think we can close the books on that one, because she has taken a plea deal, and is going away for life without parole. She is a blackmailer and a murderer, and has no real hope of getting out. She's also been declared a little nuttier than a fruitcake. She'll feel right at home with all the inmates where she's gone. You'll never have to worry about her again."
"Whew! Now that is one big relief, Lieutenant. Ain't it, Jackie?"
"Oh, yeah, it sure is! Say, Lieutenant, guess what? I'm goin' ta be workin' at my Uncle Hank's Body Shop later on this week! An' he's goin' ta be payin' me, too! Annie's goin' ta' be keepin' some books for him while I'm workin'. Ain't that excitin'?"
Turning to me, Lieutenant Shannon had a look of true concern on his face. "Oh, really??? AnnieBee, are you sure you all want to do that? Do you really know anything about Hank Jones? After all, his shop is in a rough part of town. Do you think it's going to be safe for you and Clancy? Have you really thought this through?"
I could tell something was not quite sitting well with him; why would this worry him? After all, he knew I walked quite often through that neighborhood, picking up bottles and cans. what did he know that I didn't know?
Smiling at him, I kidded him a little... "Now, Looie, don't get'cher pants in a twist; there ain't nothin' gonna happen ta us. You know we can take keer of ourselves, don't cha? Are ya thinkin' that we're gonna run inta a bunch a thieves 'er somethin'?"
"Just promise me you'll all be careful; keep your eyes open and if you see or notice anything that doesn't seem quite right, let me know at once. I'm going to give you a disposable cell phone to keep with you while you're working there. Anything suspicious that you see, call me. My number will be programmed into it. Okay?" He reached into the desk where Sgt. Hamilton was working, and pulled out a cell phone.
Oh, my! I could see he was truly serious about it; so, taking the cell phone, along with a charger, I promised him we would keep our eyes open. I thanked him for his concern and he gave me a hug. Wow! What were Jackie and I walking into, anyway? I hugged him back, and he congratulated us on our new jobs, cautioning me to keep the phone charged up, then, after patting Clancy on the head, he walked back upstairs.
What was that all about, I wondered...
We left the station after telling Sgt. Hamilton goodbye; still we were wondering about the Looie's strange admonitions.
"AnnieBee, didn't the Lieutenant seem kinda strange the way he was takin' on about us workin' fer my uncle? I reckon we won't be tellin' my uncle about the cell phone, will we?"
"No, Jackie, definitely not. Somethin' is goin' on in Lt. Shannon's head, fer shure, and that means we're gonna have ta keep our eyes open while we're there. Mum's the word, my boy, mum's the word."
We were heading back in the direction of the hospital. I wanted to see if Lucy had seen Melvin yet. Surely, by now he had been there and gone. Hopefully, we wouldn't run into him.
Sure enough, by the time we got there, he had been there and left. When we walked into Lucy's room, she looked at us and smiled. I could tell she was feeling much better. I picked up Clancy and carried him over to her bed. Sitting down in the chair next to her, and holding Clancy on my lap, I said, "Well? Ya look better. Did ya have a little chat with Melvin, then? I know I'm bein' nosy, but ya are my good friend, and I want ta hear how it went with him, if you're willin' ta share."
"Yes, AnnaBelle, it went real well. I told him that I wanted ta come home with him and recuperate there. I want ta get ta know my grandkids and fer them ta get ta know me, so's they'll learn that jist cause I'm a street person, that don't mean that I'm worthless. Then I aim ta come back out and live like I wanta live. If he tries ta have me committed, I'm takin' HIM ta court! I don't have ta live in fear of what he might decide ta do. In addition ta that, when I wanta come 'n' see my grandkids, I'm gonna come 'n' see 'em. That's what I told him."
I knew my mouth was hanging open, so I shut it and just looked at her in amazement. I had never known my friend, in the three years we had been friends, to ever speak up like that. Then I began clapping my hands.
"Good fer you! I wish I coulda seen it! What did he say?"
"He said, 'yes, ma'am', jist like I taught him to, when he was a little boy," she smiled.
I hugged my friend, and then I saw her door open. The orderly was bringing her lunch tray in. When he saw me and Cookie Jack, he said he had a couple of extra trays that belonged to people who had gone home that morning and would we like to have them. I replied that would be wonderful. So he returned with them.
Cookie Jack, Lucy Mae, and I, dug in and had a really good lunch. I slipped some to Clancy, so he wouldn't feel left out.
"Say, this is like a real celebration dinner, ain't it?" Cookie Jack remarked. Clancy yipped a "yes" and we all laughed.Things were definitely looking up for us.
(END OF SEGMENT) Be watching for upcoming segment called, "Cookie Jack's Adventure"