The first thing that Lilly did upon entering her home was to lock her heavy security lock. She then went to the sink to put in her wet umbrella, and it was at that point she noticed the damp places around her refrigerator, and beneath the partially-opened window. “Oh my,” she said half-aloud. “Have I locked myself in with an intruder? Oh silly Lilly,” she remarked aloud, lowering the window. “What would my Franklin say about me being so forgetful?” Studying the wet spots in front of the refrigerator, she remarked: “’Mop-miss’” and went for the mop.                                                                                                     


         “They just don’t make good mops anymore. . . .” A rustling noise coming from the other side of the pantry door startled her senses.  Cocking her head sideways, and aiming an ear toward the door, she remembered what her Franklin used to say: “A mouse in the house is better than a bear in your beer.” That thought was followed by a protesting squeak from the door hinges as the door started to move slowly outward.


         Slow of thinking, but swift of instinct, she bolted for the staircase.


         “Oh heart,” she commanded, grabbing onto the railing, "stay with me!” At that moment, she heard the sounds of the mops and brooms and other closet instruments being knocked astray.


         “Oh, Lord,” she shouted reverently, “please help me up these stairs.”  Whether it was her plea to heaven or the sounds of heavy foot-falls close behind her that gave her the momentum that carried her into the bathroom, it was a subject which she would dwell on later. At that moment, she was too busy slamming the door against the large hands reaching out for her.  With her heart pumping wildly out of control and her breathing coming in short, rapid, gasps, she leaned her back against the door, sliding down to a sitting position.  She was trembling too arduously to close her hands around her ears to protect them from the stream of indelicate words coming from the other side of the door. 


         “Yea, yea, yea, yea,” replied Lilly. “Hey, I bet that hurt, didn’t it?”  Her soft chuckle was answered by a hard kick against the bottom of the door, and then silence. After a while, Lilly spoke:  “Hey you! Out in the hallway . . . if you need to use the bathroom, you’ll have to wait.  And if you are after my wealth, it’s in my purse, which is hanging on the coat-rack down- stairs . . . all of my twelve dollars. And you’ll find my  valuable silver ware–straight from Paul’s plasticware store, in the kitchen-sink cabinet.  Take it, and please go!”


      A hoarse laugh from the other side caused her to scramble to her feet. “I’ll take that, alright . . . when I choose to go. It’s you that I want, Lady. . . .”


     “What? You want romance?”


      Another hoarse laugh.  “In your dreams, you old crow. . . .  In your dreams. . . .  You owe me!”  Lilly jumped at the sound of another heavy kick against the door.


           “I owe you? Well, Sonny, get in line. . . .  Take a number.”  Lilly raised her head, scratching it.  “Are you sure?  I owe you?“  The door suffered from a few more kicks, causing items on the lavatory cabinets to rattle. 


           “All I wanted was a little change so I could feed my kids.                                                                                                            


         "Your purse, hanging down from your arm, seemed like an invitation to me. . . .  You didn’t have to scream for the cops!”                  

         “You knocked me down,” Lilly said defiantly, beginning to

remember. “You nearly broke my arm. . . .”


           Another kick against the door.  “And I got six months in the hoosegow,” he continued. “I lost my measly job, my dope-sniffing wife left me, and the state took away my kids. . . .”


           “Well, Mister,” Lilly replied, looking around for some kind of weapon. “Life can sometimes be so cruel . . . and stop kicking the door!”  Lilly’s response brought more kicks, and a few that sounded like palm-slaps. 


           “And you know what, you old bat?  Before you brought your sorry butt back to this dump you call a house, I ate the rest of your poorly made apple pie.  And do you know what else I did?”


           Lilly, leaning over the soiled-clothes hamper, remarked:  

 “Let me guess. . . .  You were able to find your rear-end, and you gave it a good scratching?”


           “Very funny, hag,” Was her visitor’s reply. “I had a good       

look through this old shack, and down in the cellar I found  the

biggest axe I ever saw, and if you don’t open this door, I’m gonna go get it and turn this door into kindling.  And then, I’ll use it to fine-tune your  skinny carcass!”  A slight pause and then: “How does that grab you?”


           While her guest was making small-talk, Lilly was sliding open the heavy window over the bathtub.


     “Hey you. Did you hear what I said?”


     “Sure did, honey. I heard you mention: ‘Old bat, sorry butt, old crow, skinny carcass.'  I have never had so many compliments, and did I not hear you say something about grabbing me?” She let that sink in while she was lifting up the clothes hamper. “I would venture to say that you don’t do well with the ladies. Maybe I remember wrong,” she added. “It has been a while since my Franklin set off for heaven, but it seems like we always did the grabbing first, and then did the romancing.” After Lilly had lifted the hamper into the tub, and on up to the window sill, she paused to take a few breaths.


         “Are you gonna answer me?”


         “Give me a moment, honey,” she replied, looking out the window and down to the car just below her.


         "Hey, crazy old crow . . . aha," he remarked.  "That one fits you.  I want to know what you're doing in there!"


         “Well, this a bathroom,” she remarked, lining up her target. “And what I could be doing in here is not what I am doing; getting ready to take my dirty laundry down to my car. . . .”


         With that said, she shoved the hamper out the window. “Direct       

hit!” she screamed loudly, as the hamper slammed down onto the hood of her car; bringing forth instantly the high-pitched sound of the car alarm. Lilly could just barely make out the sounds of heavy feet stumbling down the stairs. Looking out the window, and over the sill, she saw her visitor leaving by the front door, and down the street at a fast run. “Hey you!”  she shouted after him. “If the police don’t pick you up . . . come again, sometime.  Do you play ‘Old Maid’?”  


(First published in "Twitter" by Larks Magazine on July 10, 2011.)    


© William J. White