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Pranking The Doodys


Trynn

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8. The title of this chapter is “Business rolls in.” Was that supposed to be a pun? In any case, this is the story where Maude gives the Moodys a rat to petsit, as a joke.

 

 

Maude Bagwell went to the telephone.

“Grandma's not serious, is she?” cousin Jane whispered to Alexa, who shrugged helplessly.

“Hey, I have my hearing aid in today girls.”

“Sorry grandma.” The cousins chorused.

“I mean, come on, I'm old. What's old age for if you can't mess with people?”

“How exactly are we--” Jane began, but Grandmama cut her off.

"Besides, the Moodys totally deserve it. You should hear what they did to poor Honey.”

“You mean Mrs. GenericNonMoodyFemale's dog?” Asked Alexa.

Grandma nodded. “The children, instead of pet sitting her at their home, basically locked honey up in the house and only let her out twice a day. They fed her, but they didn't let her run around the yard much except to do her business.  It's no wonder Mrs. Genericnonmoodyfemale came back to find that the dog had chewed up the couch cushions. Poor dog was bored. Not to mention all the messes all over the house, because most dogs go to the bathroom more than twice a day.”

Grandma Maude dialed the phone. It was answered on the first ring.

“Hellothisismax!”

Well, it's better than the robot speak, but at least I could understand what he was saying then. Annoyed, she asked, in a really loud voice, “Hello? Is this the Moodys? Anyone there?”

“Yes, hello,” Max responded a little more slowly.

“Ah, yes, this is Jane Marple. I need to speak to--” she glanced down at the flyer, which she'd salvaged out of the recycle bin, “Mix.” She grinned.

Alexa thought about double checking grandma's meds, then shrugged.

“Hello, Mrs. Marple! This is Max. How may I help you?”

By calling me Miss or Ms instead of “Mrs.” thought Maude. She tried to keep the laughter out of her voice as she responded. “I’m leaving on a trip tomorrow —it was a last-minute thing— and need you to watch Snickers. I know you will love him. He is easy to take care of, and I’m sure you’ll get along well. Can I stop over tomorrow morning to give instructions and leave Snickers with you?”

“Snickers?” Jane asked, “who is--”

Grandma Maude gave her a look, and she stopped talking. Jane turned to look helplessly at Alexa, who gave her the don't-look-at-me-I-don't-know-what-the-fuck-is-going-on look.

“Yes, ma’am. That would be great.” They heard Max say, and then he hung up.

Jane was first to speak. “Grandma what--”

“Relax girls, I'm not trusting Nox to those people.”

“I know,” Alexa said. “But--”

“Who or what is Snickers?” Finished Jane.

Grandmama grinned, reached behind her chair, and pulled out a cage. Inside the cage was a large rat. Alexa took a step back. “grandma, you know I'm allergic to rodents.”

“Where did you even find that?” Jane wanted to know.

“Out in the garden, eating up my strawberries.” Grandmama replied. “I thought it would be fun to mess with the Moodys a little, after what they did to poor Honey.”

“You know you're going to have to pay them, right?”

“I'm paying the kids,” grandmama corrected, putting the rat cage outside on the back porch. “That Mr. Moody keeps them so tightly controlled, this is probably the only way they'll ever get spending money, poor things.”

“And if the rat doesn't survive?”

“Then the parents will make the kids abandon this stupid business idea before they actually hurt someone else's beloved pet. Now, go get some sleep girls, we leave early in the morning.”

 

The next morning, Jane and Alexa went to drop off “Snickers” at the Moodys's house. The trip hadn't really been last minute. Alexa's mom worked at a summer camp, and one week out of the summer, the family would visit her there. The camp was generous, and any family members were allowed to stay with the staff member free of charge. Maude looked forward to it every year, and this time Alexa and Jane were going.

Alexa hoped the Moodys wouldn't ask about the dog. Nox had already been safely dropped off at Aunty Marian's house, a much more trustworthy person than the robotic religious Moodys.

Mrs. Moody opened the door.

“Hi, I'm Jane Marple,” Mrs. Bagwell said, extending a hand. Please tell me the adult gets the reference...

But there was no trace of a laugh as Mrs. Moody smiled and shook Maude's hand. “Nice to meet you, Miss Marple, come on in.”

Mrs. Bagwell bustled in with a small dog carrier and a bag of supplies. She walked straight into the living room. The children all stared at her with their mouths hanging open. What are they staring at me like that for... do I have something in my teeth?

Jane was wondering if the problem was that the Moody children had never seen a woman in pants before. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mrs. Moody shake her head and press her finger to her lips. Jane was suddenly very hot, even though the Moody's air conditioned house was quite cool.

Maude peeked in Snickers ’ home. “Now, Snickers boy, I’m going to leave you for a little while, but these children will take care of you.” She tried not to grin, but it was very hard to keep a straight face. “I want you to be good. I’m so sorry you can’t come.” Mrs. Bagwell set the carrier on the floor and opened the door. A small rat cautiously crawled into the middle of the living room.

At the look on Mrs. Moody's face, Jane and Alexa almost burst out laughing. Maude alone kept her face straight as the oldest girl gasped, “this is Snickers?”

The two boys could only stare, wide eyed, as “snickers” ran across the room and made a beeline for the littlest girl, jumping right up into her lap. The little girl giggled. “I like this rat,” she said. “He's nice.”

Maude smiled. “Yes, Snickers is a rat. You won’t find a friendlier rat than him.”

The oldest girl nodded respectfully, but Maude could tell by the look on her face that the girl wasn't so sure she wanted a rat for a friend.

Maude hurried to Maddie. What if the rat bit her? She didn't think it would, but.... “I told you he was friendly. But, whatever you do, don’t pull his tail. That is the only time he will bite. Also, he needs to be let out once a day to run around the house.”

Maude pretended not to notice the horrified look on Mrs. Moody's face. It had been a few weeks since the surgery, but she was still in pain from restraining her laughter.

“Don’t worry, he shouldn’t cause any problems. Snickers also likes to sit on shoulders.”

Jane quickly turned her fit of laughter into a fit of coughing. Alexa slapped her on the back. “We'll be out in the car, grandma,” she said. She grabbed her cousin's arm and yanked her out the door. As soon as they thought they were out of earshot, they both burst out laughing.

“Oh, yes,” said Maude, trying to get the attention away from her granddaughters. “One last thing. Don’t be surprised if he chatters his teeth. He’ll do that when he’s happy.”

“Okay,” said the oldest boy.

Maude handed the oldest girl the bag of rat supplies she'd picked up at the pet store. “I'll be gone for ten days, and I'll pay you when I get back. Do you all have any questions?”

After a moment of silence, Max smiled. “ No, ma’am. I think it will be easy enough. Thank you for trusting us to watch Snickers for you.”

Maude patted Max. “Thank you for taking care of him. Well, I’d better be going.” Mrs. Moody walked Maude to the door and waved good-bye.

Maude, Jane, and Alexa drove away, laughing hysterically.

 

 

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PennySycamore

Posted

I loved how Snickers wasn't a breed of pet rat, but just a Norway rat out of the garden, the kind that you usually call an exterminator for.

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14 hours ago, PennySycamore said:

I loved how Snickers wasn't a breed of pet rat, but just a Norway rat out of the garden, the kind that you usually call an exterminator for.

Grandma Maude is her own exterminator. She's never met a pest she's not meaner than.

(except bedbugs. Grandma Maude runs away screaming from bedbugs.)

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