Cupcakes and Gossip
I was a man who needed his
fingerprints taken. You see, I had a new job
handling controlled substances, so I guess my
hands needed to be controlled as well.
My wife and I had lived in
the country for about a year, but I had never
been to the little town named Coyote just up the
road. I heard it was a tiny, friendly town that
had its own police department, police being the
operative word here in connection with
fingerprints. I was hoping that "tiny and
friendly" would translate into "quick
and no charge" in Coyote as opposed to
"all day excursion for a small fortune"
So I paid my first visit to
Coyote. As I drove down the main street I noticed
one building on the left with a sign out front.
"Justice of the Peace" I thought the
sign said. That sounded hopeful, so I walked in.
Behind the desk sat a large woman with an
enormous, greasy smile on her face. She was
eating fried chicken and licking her fingers.
"Hi there, I'm Jessie.
Come on in."
"Well, Jessie, Im
trying to find the police station."
"Um hm" she
answered, chicken leg in hand. The noise of her
eating was remarkable. Smack, crunch, slurp were
accompanied by the rhythmic popping sound her
mouth made off the ends of her fingers. This
blended so perfectly with the sound of her voice
that I didn't realize she was actually talking to
me. She may have said, "Just around the
corner past city hall. First building on the
right". Or, "Cows can't bowl worth a
damn, Thelma, so I'm settin' the armadillo on
fire". However, I distinctly heard, "Help
yourself to some chicken. I've got enough to feed
I took a leg.
Continuing my quest, I
thanked Jessie for the chicken. Leg in hand, out
the door I went, around the corner and past city
hall. But the first building on my right was
neither the police station nor a flaming
armadillo. It was Flora's Hair Care. I squinted
through the windows, and smiling ladies squinted
back. Unfortunately, none of them had a badge or
a service revolver. No uniformed officer here.
My hunting for the police
station wasn't saving me any time, but the 'free
lunch' was delicious and I was having fun. So I
decided to try inside city hall and see if that's
where they were hiding the mysterious police
station. I walked out of the sunshine into a
cavernous room that was so dark I thought I'd
gone blind. As soon as my eyes adjusted I saw the
room contained three matronly ladies grouped
around a dilapidated table. They appeared to be
simultaneously smoking, eating cupcakes and
"Hi!" said one of
the ladies. Smiling must come naturally to these
folks, "Can we help you?"
"I'm looking for the
police station. Am I getting close?"
"Close enough. Police
station's empty right now. What do ya need?"
"I've got this form
and I need..."
Let me see if I can raise the police station for
you...it's Tuesday ...that would be Billy today."
Then she reached above her head to a shelf where
a radio and microphone sat. She tugged on the
cord until the entire system came to rest on her
ample bosom, which in turn rested on her ample
lap. Then she pinched the left side of the
microphone with her thumb and began to talk. She
had obviously done this before.
"Billy, what's your
twenty? We got a gentleman that needs your
"I'm at home eatin' a
"Don't say it like
that. He's standing right here."
"Oh, Louvenia, don't
worry about that. Tell him I'll be down in a bit."
So I joined the ladies
cupcake and gossip-fest. I was immediately
included in the conversation and was duly
appalled that young Eddie had run off with Miss
Takstone from the high school. Not only were the
parents upset, but where were they going to find
a new principal at this time of the year? I
learned that Ellen's baby had come out on time,
"just slipped out like on a banana peel"
and mother and baby were doing fine. I got awful
worried when they told me that Bud had fallen off
his John Deere and was gonna have to miss this
year's harvest. Good grief, who's gonna bale that
hay? Then Billy walked in. I was almost sorry
he'd gotten there so soon--I was beginning to
feel like one of the girls.
"Sorry for upsetting
your lunch," I said.
"That's all right. It
wasn't much of a sandwich anyway. What can I do
"I've got this form
and I need..."
"Fingerprints. Come on
back and we'll fix ya' right up. You can bring
your cupcakes. In fact, bring me a couple, too.
I followed Billy down the
hall, casting one last glance at my three new
best friends: Louvenia, Sarah Elizabeth and
Lydell. I promised myself Id come back and
catch up on the news next chance I got.
with a little help
from "Coyote" Matt Dilger!