The Gardeners – Part Four


Part Four

© Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour


            Gwen meant to call Betty at noon, but she’d gotten busy with some scrap booking and lost track of time. She knew better than to disturb her friend between the hours of two and three in the afternoon because Betty behaved like an old she bear if her nap was interrupted. Gwen checked her watch––4:00. She picked up the phone and dialled Betty’s number. After ten rings, Gwen’s brow furrowed worriedly. “That’s strange,” she mumbled. “I wonder where she is.”


            John left Betty’s house with a big smile on his face. She’d signed on the dotted line, and his gardening crew would begin their work first thing in the morning. Of course, she’d had no choice but to sign, if she ever wanted to see that blasted cat again!

            He’d arrived at Betty’s house at 2:30, while she was still sleeping, had picked the back door lock and stepped inside. The cat, which had been munching on kibbles when the door opened, had arched her back and hissed at him.  And then, the nervy cat had started inching toward him, hissing, it’s back arched, but he’d been ready. He threw the bag over her head, scooped her up quickly, and then headed for his truck. He felt the cat struggling, and he was thankful for the thickness of the burlap material.

            John had taken Mr. Fornam’s advice and had bought something for Betty’s cat; but, of course, it was not exactly what his boss had in mind. John considered himself a genius at figuring out ways “to get the job done.”


            Betty couldn’t believe what had just happened! She’d known. She’d told Gwen that she didn’t trust this company, and her friend had told her how foolish she was. Now, Safire was kidnapped, and she couldn’t even call the police or that horrid man might kill her! Betty’s jaw quivered, but she clenched her teeth to head off the flow of tears. She’d figure out a way to get through this situation, and those gardeners would answer big time––even bigger time if there was one hair out of place on her precious Safire.


            Gwen decided to call Mildred, thinking they should go over and see what was going on with Betty. Maybe even take the dogs today; Buster had missed seeing Safire yesterday. “Strange,” she muttered, “how the animals get along, especially when Safire treats the dogs with such disdain!” Gwen knew Betty didn’t eat supper until 6:00, so thought to pick up some barbequed chicken and roasted potatoes from the grocer. Mildred answered on the third ring, and, when she heard the concern in Gwen’s voice, she agreed it would be a good idea to check things out, and have supper together at the same time. She also agreed it was a marvellous idea to bring the dogs.

            As the two friends pulled into Betty’s driveway, they were startled that the curtains were already drawn across the big bay window. That was not like Betty––she never closed her drapes until after supper. Gwen and Mildred snapped the leashes on Buster and Prince and headed for the door. The dogs barked excitedly. Gwen was holding the bag of chicken; Mildred pounded on the door. They waited for what seemed like forever before Betty answered. The sight of their friend shocked them!

            Betty opened the door just a crack, keeping her chain lock on. She looked dishevelled and was already in her housecoat. Betty never got ready for bed before supper, unless she was not feeling well.

            “Let us in Betty,” Gwen demanded.

            “We brought over some supper,” Mildred added.

            “Why didn’t you answer your phone at 4:00?” Gwen questioned.

            “I was not feeling well,” Betty returned sharply. “Can’t a woman have any peace without her nosey friends bothering her?”  

            Gwen noticed Safire was not at the door. That darn cat never missed an opportunity to try and escape. “Where’s Safire?” she questioned.

            “On my bed. Now, ladies, I do appreciate your effort here, but I truly am not up to company at the moment,” Betty conveyed. “I want to get better before tomorrow because those gardeners are coming to start the yard first thing in the morning.”

            “I thought you were going to cancel the whole thing?” Gwen quipped.     

            “Don’t want to waste a well earned dollar,” Betty uttered. “Now I’d thank you two to leave me be. Enjoy your meal.” With that, she shut the door.

            “Something’s not right here,” Gwen stated.

            “Should we call the police?” Mildred suggested.

            Gwen snorted. “Mildred, don’t you think that would be taking things a bit too far. We’ll just come over in the morning. Hopefully, Betty will be in a better mood by then.” 


            “Everything in place for tonight?” Mr. Fornam enquired.

            “Right on schedule,” John replied.

            “No more problems with the old bird?”

            “No, she came around quicker than I thought––even signed our regular maintenance program. We start on her yard first thing in the morning.”

            “Perfect,” Mr. Fornam grinned. “Let’s move out. After tonight’s job, we can just concentrate on our gardening business for a while.”

Part five on August 8, 2012       


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Betty
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 16:05:47

    Very exciting, got my interest, can hardly wait for Part 5!!!
    Love it.!!!


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