Minnie goes to Sara Ferguson'sMature

"Jeez not Dante Jeez o'please." Minnie pumped the gas pedal, cranked the steering wheel over. Chief's old Suburban skidded out the rear end just right. She was clear of all those surprised faces back there on Main Street. Headed out Townline for the Sleepy Hollow subdivision. Cherries flashing. Siren Wailing. Wipers slapping. The black sky had at last let loose.

The radio hissed. She keyed the mike. That killed the cherries, siren, wipers. "Chief, you there?"

Static.

Switching the wipers off, then on, re-started them. "Chief. Daddy's minding the front desk. Nora Higgins is acting mighty peculiar up at Sara Ferguson's. There was this scream...Jeez. Sleepy Hollow Lane. Chief, come back..."

Static. The wipers, slap-slapping on max, were losing. Rain drummed over the Suburban like it wanted inside. A torn branch smacked the windshield. Minnie dropped the mike. Floored the rumbling gas pedal under her foot.

Five minutes passed. She rolled up Sara's driveway.

"Jeez no." Minnie stamped the brakes. The tires ground gravel. Rain flushed down the windshield. But it couldn't wash away the scene on Sara's lawn. A body. Uniformed.

Minnie was out and running in her totally-wrong shoes before the Suburban stopped rocking. The storm peeled her slicker part-open, snapped back her hood. Cold rain pelted her face, her legs. She reached him, face down on Sara's clawed-up lawn. Ernie.

Poor Ernie. Never cussed. Until today.

Something like wet hands brushed the backs of Minnie's legs. "JEEZ." She swayed over Ernie, her heart hammering. The leafy blowdown rolled past.

She'd about leapt out of her totally-wrong shoes. Heels Dante liked her in. Her nylons were spattered brown to her knees, like a crime scene. She couldn't see Ernie's face. She didn't want to. She couldn't have rolled him over to check him. The Chief was right. She wasn't field-ready. She'd only ever answer the phone and file reports.

"Nora like that, Minnie. And Ernie. That man with a gun upsetting my Toby. Nothing makes sense. Toby won't hush..." Sara Ferguson, corn broom in both hands, swaying on her porch in sweats and house slippers. Toby was crazy-eyed, yapping inside the house, pawing the living room window.

Ernie lay soaked through. Trousers. His shirt under the tactical vest. His service pistol gleamed in his hand. Smith & Wesson 5946 Silvercore. The safety was still on.

Minnie spun around. Blinking through stinging rain. "NORA?"

Sara's yard was a mess. Alder blowdown riding the wind and water shining in holes all over. A scraggly, raggedy cat started stiff-legged from the farside hedge. Poor thing wasn't worth more than the glance. Minnie stared hard at the shed against the neighbouring property. The door thumped, thumped. She chanced a step toward the thumping door. And another. "NORA? YOU HERE, HON?"

"Why, Minnie?" Sara, from her porch. "Shot him down. Why'd he shoot Ernie? Nothing makes sense. SEE? Look LOOK. Now Possum's back. Why's Possum back, Minnie? TOBY HUSH..."

"Shot Ernie. Who shot Ernie?" Rain battered Minnie's eyes. Battered her slicker, her legs. She turned her back to the storm, to the poor stiff-legged cat, which had to be Possum, and the thumping door. "SARA..."

Sara's eyes, wild as Toby's. Her smile, not right at all. She pointed past Minnie.

The wind gusted. Something reeked. Worse than anything Minnie could imagine. Her soggy hair let loose, dribbled down her neck. Down her back, like an icy finger. She whirled around. Rain lashed Minnie's eyes. She saw enough. Torn ears. No eyes. Fangs. She backed away.

"Nora wrapped Possum in his favourite blankee, Minnie..."

"Jeez o'Jeez." Minnie backpedaled, drowned both her heels, didn't care.

"...Planted Possum under petunias last May. He got run over by the nice Dutch couple driving to Vancouver..."

"POSSUM'S HOMING ON US LIKE A CAT FROM HELL HUSH UP SARA." Minnie wanted Ernie's gun.

She snagged her foot. Tipped back. Her other leg kicked high over her head, flicked off the muddy shoe. She flopped back over Ernie's legs.

Ernie groaned.

"Jeez." But Minnie didn't have time to check how badly he might be hurt. She needed the gun in his hand.
 
His fingers were warm. They tightened round the grip. She leaned over his legs and butt. He groaned again.  

"JEEZ ERNIE." She plucked his fingers clear.

She had his gun. It felt good in her hand. Machined-steel semi-auto purpose. Her nine-millimetre friend. Tuesday night flashed back. Dante's private lesson. She and Dante in undies, squeezing off a clip each at the gun range.

Possum. The target. The stiff-legged, growling target. Three metres and closing.

Minnie cracked back the slide. Steadied the gun in both hands. Sighted on Possum's fangy face. She thumbed off the safety, exhaled, squeezed the trigger.

KRAK KRAK. Possum popped a backflip. Lost his head, mostly. Dropped. Didn't move again.

Minnie exhaled. "Come back from that."

Ernie coughed. "Ow."

His wet legs shifted under Minnie. "Jeez, sorry, Ernie. I couldn't check you. Figured you...You okay?"

An umbrella shadowed overhead. Drumming in the rain. "Tazered your colleague...," said the honeyed voice in the dark suit with the umbrella, and her muddy shoe, in the same hand.

She looked up, past the crotch of his pressed trousers. His ears weren't comically bigger than Dante's. But his eyes started her heart thumping. Matching watery diamonds. Watching her, open legged under the storm.

"...To stop him shooting the subject." He flashed government I.D. In both official languages.

The End

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