Searching for Gita, the Little Pearl: Part 10
The boys stood on the sidewalk outside Hargrove's Grocery. It was after eleven p.m.. The street lamp across the quiet neighborhood street shed too much light. They needed darkness to pull off their caper.
"Let's get behind that big tree," said Spectacles. They went and hid behind a large elm tree next door to the little market. "Okay, you ready?"
"Ready," said Cowlick, aiming his slingshot.
"Okay, go," said Spectacles. His heart was racing with anticipation. Cowlick sent the large rock sailing toward the streetlamp but missed. He grabbed a new large rock and sent it sailing. The sound of glass breaking was loud enough to wake up half the neighborhood. There was a big flash, then darkness. The boys stayed behind the tree waiting to make sure no one had stirred in the neighborhood. Three houses down across the street a man came out of his house in bathrobe and slippers and checked out the street. He saw the street lamp was out but didn't see the glass all over the street. He figured it was just the way a lamp goes out and went back into his house. The boys waited another ten minutes.
"Okay, coast clear," said Spectacles ."Let's get going."
The boys got into their bags and took out several cartons of eggs and began throwing them against the side of the store. After the cartons were emptied, they began to put wads of toilet paper on the blobs of broken eggs. They got out cans of spray paint and emptied them all over the windows and the window of the door to the store. They made a skull and cross bones, a few profanities, and a threat to kill.
"Hey," said Cowlick, "Why don't we break in? We could do a lot of damage in there, too."
"I don't know," replied Spectacles, "she's got those bells on the door and she might hear."
"We'll be real careful. Besides, old ladies sleep like dead dogs." Cowlick felt fearless.
"Speaking of dogs, that dog poop in your bag is making me choke. Let's get this over with." Spectacles gagged.
Cowlick pulled out his pen knife. Then Spectacles remembered there was a little side door toward the back of the building. "Hey, I got an idea. Follow me."
They went around the store.and found the side door. Spectacles pushed on it. "Cool, it's unlocked. Dumb old lady." The boys slipped into the store quietly and walked around. They went to work with kectchup and mustard all over the counter, the scale, the till, on shelves and merchandise. When they ran out they searched the store for something they could add. Spectacles found a can of Crisco. He opened it with the attached opener and they began to smear it over the steps leading up the Mrs. Hargroves apartment, and made a trail through the store.
Next they went to the freezer case and took out all the merchandise and laid it on the produce table. They opened up bottles of vinegar and thoroughly doused the store. Spectacles cleaned out all the candy and put it in his bag. He gave Cowlick the go signal for the pièces de résistance - the dog poop, which they laid on the floor in front of the store entry door. "Cool," they both whispered. They went back to the side door and made their escape. They stopped at the park by some bushes and ate all the candy. They were sick but thrilled they'd pulled off their escapade. As they got up to leave Spectacles stopped suddenly.
"What are you stoppin' for?" said Cowlick.
"My glasses. They're gone."
"You idiot. Calm down, they've gotta be here somewhere. They searched until the sun began to rise over the trees. Spectacles was worried sick what his parents would say. But they were so exhausted they went home.
A Bad Fall
Mrs. Hargrove coughed as she sat up in bed and stretched. She thought what a great idea it had been to take that sedative last night. She had a decent night's sleep. She went through her morning routine without incident. She was thinking about finishing the inventory and figuring out her next move in the matter of Anna Wronski.
Dressed and ready to open the store, she stepped out onto the top step leading to the store. For a split second before she went sailing she saw the mess the boys had left. She landed on the floor on her head and rolled over onto her face unconscious.
Disturbing News for Raymond
It was Raymond's day off. As he ate breakfast, sipped his coffee and read the paper, he was suddenly flooded with dread. With all the trouble his mother was causing he was experiencing bouts of anxiety. He was very worried about his mother and greatly disturbed at the trouble she'd been causing.
'I'm going to go over and see if I can get her to go to the doctor,' he thought to himself. Just then the phone rang.
"Hey buddy, it's Coop. You better get over here to your mother's store."
"Oh, no. What did she do this time?"
"Something happened to her this time, Ray. Her store was vandalized and she appears to have fallen or been pushed and has a nasty bump on her head with a deep cut that will probably need stitches. She may have lost consciousness for a brief time. Her tongue is okay though, cussing about the vandals. The ambulance is on it's way."
Raymond hung up and raced to his car. "Please God, let her be okay, and help us find the scum that did this to her."
Mrs. Hargrove bossed the attendants, demanding they take her to University Hospital where Anna was a patient. Since it was likely she was not in imminent risk of death, they took her to Doctor's Hospital across town per Raymond's instructions. Dr. Heath, the ER attending physician, had her stitched up in no time. Mrs. Hargrove was in a high state of agitation, hopping mad at the vandals and the mess she had waiting for her. But the pain in her head overtook her and she laid back spent and demanding for medicine. Dr. Heath had seen and heard it all in his years as an ER doctor, so Mrs. Hargrove's high state didn't shake him, but it could be a possible symptom of a concussion. He stepped out to talk with Raymond.
"Yes, how's my mother?"
"Well, we've got her all stitched up and she's got a heck of a goose egg. She's in some pain. She's quite agitated though, probably due to the concussion. I'd like to get an X-ray and have her stay overnight for observation."
"Thanks Doc. I should let you know Ma is agitated a lot lately. It's become her normal. I'm concerned about her behavior. I'm wondering if there's something mental going on."
Dr. Heath and Raymond talked at length about Raymond's observations of his mother's behavior. Raymond told him that his mother refused to get a check up.
"Hmm," said Dr. Heath. "What I can do is have her admitted and run some tests and get a consult with a geriatric specialist, maybe even a psychiatrist."
Raymond felt overwhelmed. "Ma's never going to let you do all that for her. Besides, she's understandably anxious about the store."
Dr. Heath put his hand on Raymond's shoulder. "Tell you what, Mr. Hargrove, leave your mother to me and my stunning charm and I promise you she'll cooperate."
Raymond's eyebrows lifted. "You're pretty sure of yourself, Doc."
"I have a good track record. Ask the nurses."
Raymond sighed with doubt and worry but gave confident Dr. Heath the green light and wished him luck.
After Raymond went home that night Cooper called him. "Hey Ray, more news on the vandalism. It was the two terrorists."
"That's no surprise, but how do you know?"
"Spectacles left behind his glasses. I recognized the blue elastic band. We went to their houses and found paint and other gunk they used on the bottom of their shoes and pants. We already have them in custody. They know how serious it is, as do their parents, since your mom is hurt. How is she, by the way?"
"They're keeping her for observation and tests. I'm worried about her, not just for her health, but that she might go ornery on them and create some new fuss. I need to go by the store and see what the damage is."
"Sure, I'll pick you up. Nothing too permanent but a lot of mess to clean up. A lot."
"Wonderful," Raymond said, dreading what he'd find. His mood turned dark and foul. He was so tired, emotionally and physically. But he was responsible to clean it up. "I'll be here. Don't be long."
Raymond cursed the terrorists as he surveyed the damage at the store with Coop. "I ought to have them come and clean it up," he said.
"Good idea," said Coop, "but they're in Juvy right now. Their parents ought to come down and clean it up, but that's not going to happen. It's up to you and me. We've already investigated so we can clean it up now."
"No Coop, you go on home. This isn't your problem."
"Sorry buddy, I'm in for the long haul. Let's get some buckets and rags and get started.
They started on the inside. After four hours they needed a break. The clean up was tedious, the Crisco being especially hard to clean up. They still had a lot more cleaning on the inside and out, but Raymond was spent. Cooper suggested they go out for pizza. They went to Raymond's to clean up and he loaned Cooper a change of clothes. They were just heading to the door when the phone rang. Raymond answered. It was Dr. Heath.
"Mr. Hargrove, I'm afraid we have bad news."
Raymond's stomach filled with dread for the umpteenth time. "What is it?"
"Your mother got out of bed while the nurses were out working on getting her a bed upstairs. She fell and whacked her head again. A different spot but another gash, stitches, and incoherent. We're going to keep her an extra few days. I just wanted you to know."
"What about her mental faculties I spoke of when she first got there?"
"Well, the trauma to her head has to heal first and it may be difficult to determine what was present before these injuries. One thing at a time Mr. Hargrove."
That evening Cooper had to put a drunk Raymond to bed.
© 2017 Lori Colbo