armed, and dangerous?

September 7, 2007

I didn’t have to ask who she was when she interrupted my routinely official phone greeting with an insistent, “Honey, can you come up here for a minute.” Wondering what the crisis of the day was, I grabbed my keys and headed up to the 11th floor. The door was cracked and she hollered for me to come on in when I knocked.
Miss B, do you know you left a note up on the door, saying you’re changing and to come back in 30 minutes? “Oh yes, I know,” she replied. “Soon as you leave, I will–so I wanted that note up now.”
Oh, of course . . . so how are you today?
“I dropped Hospice,” she began, as I sat down across from her at the dinette. “They just weren’t any good. So I got me a real doctor. Her name’s over there on the fridge. She has a nurse too but, shit, I can’t remember that nurse’s name . . .”
I started to get up to write down the Doctor’s name but sat back down when she leaned over conspiratorily and said, “But that’s not what I wanted to tell you today.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Now I don’t want you to tell anybody about this, but you need to know what’s going on . . .”
I sat back in my chair and listened as she told me the “real story.” It turns out Miss B has had a scare. She had someone break in her door last night. Well, not quite: they almost broke in . . . just loudly enough to wake her up. So she decided to take action. Next time, she’ll be ready for the potential intruder . . .
She stopped her story and began rifling through her purse. “I got this a while back; when I got it he told me it was good forever. And not just in this state–it’s good anywhere . . . there it is!”
And she handed me a certifiably official Georgia Firearm Licence, stamped with her name and thumbprint.
“Next time my Social Security check comes, I’m going to get me a gun. Not a big one–just a little one. So when he comes back, I’ll be ready. It won’t be loaded, mind you, but I’ll keep the shells by my bed. So if he comes back, by the time he gets from the door to my bed, I’ll be ready for him. Now I don’t want to kill anybody–‘Thou shalt not kill’ . . . but I can make sure he crawls out of here if he tries to hurt me. I’ll shoot him in the foot!”
As she said this she gestured to my feet, and I widened my eyes as I nodded with her.
She lowered her voice again and came closer to me. “I want you to know this, but I don’t want you to tell anyone. You know how word gets around here. But if I die, I want you to destroy all my papers–and destroy my gun! I’m going to keep it in my pillowcase, so you’ll know to look for it there.”
Her day’s task apparently completed, Miss B then wheeled away from the table and thanked me for being “so helpful” all the time.
“Alright honey–you have a good day. And just make sure you latch that door behind you as you go!”
Miss B’s secret is safe with me–at least now that I have checked the building policies. The manager assured me that they were not allowed to look for contraband materials inside resident apartments, even if “heresay” suggested the existence of the same . . .

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