“That woman’s a menace to the entire town,” Harvey Dilwood grumbled to the man sitting next to him after Agnes Harper had been escorted out of the meeting. “It’s only because she’s a descendant of Jerimiah Dunn that she gets away with causing mayhem everywhere she goes.”
The meeting had been adjourned and the attendees were filing out into the late morning sun.
His neighbor nodded in agreement, rearranging the John Deere cap on his graying head. “James ain’t gonna press charges either.”
Harvey snorted in derision. “No doubt about that, Mack. The day that boy arrests his own grandmother is the day I kiss that mangy cat of hers right on the ass.”
Mack chuckled in agreement.
“If it ain’t her, it’s that stinkin’ monkey,” Harvey muttered, removing a handkerchief from his back pocket and dabbing at his sweaty brow. “Thank the Lord the windows were open or we could have all passed out from that stench. For the love of Oscar, who the hell has a monkey for a pet?”
Mack rubbed his sun-reddened nape.
“That new science teacher at Dunnville High,” he supplied.
“I heard he was in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD. The monkey’s like an emotional support animal.”
Harvey snorted as he pocketed the handkerchief in his left pocket and produced his car keys from the right.
“Emotional support animal my ass. I did two tours in ‘Nam and I never needed a damn emotional support animal.”
Mack chuckled again as both men approached their vehicles; Mack’s Ford pickup and Harvey’s brown Buick.
“It’s almost noon, Harv. Meet me at Finnegan’s for lunch?”
Harvey retrieved his Jitterbug phone from his pocket and checked the time. “Not today,” he replied. “I want to keep an eye out for Salome. She ain’t been home for three weeks.”
“Leave out a dish of tuna,” Mack advised, climbing into his dusty truck. “Never met a cat that couldn’t resist tuna.”
Harvey gave a short wave to his retreating friend and unlocked his own vehicle. Agnes Harper’s careless actions had him thinking of last December’s explosion. The police claimed it was due to someone carelessly depositing a leaking propane tank in the bay, but Harvey was inclined to believe the reporters on Focus News, who believed it was the work of terrorists.
With this state of mind, Harvey drove home, knuckles blanching as he gripped the steering wheel. They tightened again as they always did when he drove past Agnes Harper’s ugly stucco house glistening in the midday sun.
That eyesore ought to be demolished, he thought, pulling into his driveway.
Due to the heat and the morning’s excitement, his blue polo shirt was sodden with perspiration. With keys in hand, he gave the ugly stucco house across the street a last dirty look before smartly saluting the flag as he ascended his porch steps.
Then he froze.
Slowly backing down the steps, Harvey retrieved the phone from the depths of his pocket and pushed the Emergency Alert button.
“Nine one one,” a dispatcher answered. “What’s your emergency?”
“This is Harvey Dilwood at 420 Applewood Drive,” he whispered urgently. “Someone’s left a bomb on my porch!”