“Holy Shit! It’s a gun!” Myrna shouted, dropping the page from Deffert, Smith and Deffert.
“Myrna Billingham!” Taffeta said, mostly joking, but sill a little shocked. “Such language!”
“Are you shitting me? Is that not a gun?” Myra said pointing down at the open crate.
“Looks like,” Taffeta said with a small grunt as she shifted from her knees to her butt.
“And you’re OK with that?”
“Well,” Taffeta said, leaning her nose closer to the inside of the crate, not brave enough yet to touch the thing. “I’m not really sure what we have here, or why we have it. So I’m not sure how OK I can be with it.”
Myrna quickly turned and stepped toward the door. “Maybe it’s not too late! We can catch the delivery man and have him take the dreadful thing away.”
As she grabbed that handle and swung the door wide to wave the Daily Parcel man down, she was met with an unexpected sight.
Myrna’s shriek sent a charge through Taffeta which inspired her to get to her feet as fast as she could manage. Her friend rolled away from the door, but did so along the wall so that she wouldn’t drop to the floor. Her eyes grew wide as plates, as Taffeta’s grandmother used to say. As one hand splayed out against the wall for support, the other clutched at her chest hoping against hope that her heart would not come bursting out through her ribs. Her heavy breath came and went so hard, her lower lip moved ever so slightly in and out with its raspy rhythm.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am!” said the voice from the other side of the door. The Daily Parcel man, who had not been gone five minutes leaned in a bit to make sure the woman was all right – his own heart beat heavy with the shock of the door swinging open just as he was about to push the door bell. “I didn’t mean to startled you.”
Taffeta reached the door with her hands up and waving. “Don’t worry about it young man,” she said. Again, hating hearing her mouth say those words. They made her sound like Katherine Hepburn. “She gets startled on a regular basis. It’s a thing with her…like exercise.”
Myrna stood fast against, that wall, but turned her head fast and squinted in protest at Taffeta’s words.
“How can I help you?” Taffeta said.
“I’m sorry Ma’am, but as I pulled away, my eye caught the list here and there is another crate. The one I brought a bit ago was one of two. And this here,” he said patting the large crate on the dolly next to him. “Is two of two. Can I bring it in.”
“Oh mercy, wait!” Myrna yelled out, rolling her eyes and her head in exaggerated exasperation. “We’re not decent!”
It was Taffeta’s turn to look back at her friend with wide eyes and a gaping mouth that whispered, “What?!”
Myrna pushed away from the wall and lunged, if one could call it an official lunge, toward the crate on the floor. She snapped up the foam and threw it across the open crate to hide the gun underneath. Then she righted herself smoothed her shirt by tugging at the bottom hem and set her glasses right on the front of her chest. She took a deep breath, plastered a smile on her face and as she took her a step toward the door, she let her finger pull the strands of hair that fell down in front of her face back over her ear as if she were making a stage entrance.
“Yes, pleeease,” she said with a cartoon like, exaggerated kindness that clearly implied there was nothing to see here, certainly not a gun of sorts. “Taffeta, step aside so the man can do his work.”
Taffeta cocked her head a bit as her eyes followed her friend. What’s with the southern accent Daisy Mae?
Daily Parcel grabbed the handles of the dolly, gave it a spin and a healthy tug up and over the threshold into the small front room. He set two of two next to one of two, grabbed the clipboard off the top of the crate and handed it to Taffeta to sign.
“That was a heavy one,” he said, noticing the first crate was open. “What did you get if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Jelly of the month club!” Myrna said stepping in front of the open crate. “Yes, premium jams and jellies from around the world.” She moved in a rather quick and fluid motion to first block his view of the open crate, then reach up to gently guide him toward the door with a soft and flowing touch to his shoulder. “Ladies of our… experience, have earned the right to enjoy some of the finer things and these jellies are just to die for.”
Taffeta caught her eyes at about mid roll.
Myrna continued to guide the man toward the door, taking the clipboard from Taffeta, handing it to him and shuffling him outside. “Goodbye now,” she said, nearly singing it as she started to wave. “Safe journey! Long life!” She continued to spew various well wishes and valedictions after the man as he moved down the walkway and she pulled back into the house to where she could shut the door. The second the door clicked, the flowery and sunny disposition melted into a rush of panic and fear as she pushed against the door, bolting locks and setting chains as if something were fighting to get in from the other side.
She spun around, leaned hard against the door with her arms outstretched and breathed a huge and dramatic sigh, “Whew! That was close.”
Taffeta stood motionless for a moment looking at her friend who was effectively holding the imaginary evil at bay.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes,” Myrna said, still breathing heavy from the excitement.
Taffeta looked close a moment longer. “We’re not decent? What was that?”
“I’ll say. Who knows what story mister Daily Parcel is going to share when he gets home about the indecent, crazy old ladies who just got two giant crates of exotic jellies and jams from around the world.” She turned back to the crates.
Myrna pulled her self from the door, “It’ll be better than a story about two crazy old, er, two ladies with profound life experience who happen to be in the gun trade!”
“Gun trade?” Taffeta said, not fully committing to the argument. “I hardly believe one gun, which we didn’t even know existed 20 minutes ago, qualifies us as gun runners or criminals.”
“Maybe not,” Myrna said, “Unless create number two here is also full of guns!”
“True,” Taffeta said. “But I thought you wanted to catch that man to have him take the gun away. We could have been done with it by now.”
Myrna fiddled and adjusted the glasses on her chest that hung from a chain around her neck. “I panicked.”
Taffeta reached over and patted her friend’s shoulder, “I know sweetie. It’s ok.”
After a moment she stepped away, reached down for the crowbar and moved toward the second crate. Giving it the once over, she saw that it was a bit bigger than the first and she could tell heavier by the way Daily Parcel moved it. She sought a spot to stick the crowbar and pried up along the edges until she could pull the lid off.
Myrna peered over her friend’s shoulder as she pulled away the packing paper.
“Huh…,” Taffeta said.
“Mother Mary pray for us,” Myrna said behind her. “Bullets.”