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Yard Work With The Doodys


Trynn

1,028 views

This story has 2 alternate endings. I honestly couldn't decide which I liked better, so I included both.

 

 

Maude Bagwell quietly observed the Moody family –all dressed alike this morning in khakis and olive green shirts, with beige gloves-- walked up the sidewalk toward their house. What do they want now? She thought Warily.

“Good afternoon Mrs. Bagwell, how are you this fine afternoon?”

“I am well, thank you, and yourself?”

“I am very happy to be alive on this blessed day that the Lord has made. My wife, Emily, and I noticed that your yard has been getting overgrown, and we heard you recently had surgery--”

Get to the point, Jim, you're not helping my recovery right now.

 

“And we thought we'd come to offer our services by having a work party at your house. We have brought our own tools in the van, and would love to do your yardwork absolutely free of charge.”

Maude blinked. She was trying to think of a polite way to say no, but the yard did need work. The grass was almost approaching the 16 inch mark, and the city would file a complaint if it got any higher. Jane was busy working at a day camp, and Alexa had her paramedics course. Larry, Jane's brother, normally was happy to mow the lawn and weed the flower beds for her but this summer he had turned 18 and joined the army. And of course, she herself couldn't do it, what with her recent back surgery. Soon.... she promised herself, soon you will recover and be allowed to bend over again.... Maude yanked her mind back to the Moodys, who were standing there with identical gummy smiles on their faces.

“Er, yes. Alright, then.” She said. “Make sure you don't pull up all the mint Alexa's growing behind the toolshed that she thinks I don't know about, though.” And Maude made sure to point out the mint plants, so the Moodys wouldn't think they were weeds. I still don't trust them... but they did make Mrs. GenericnonMoodywoman's yard look nice, even if the DID leave the dog in the house to make messes....

A few hours later, Jane's car pulled into the driveway. She and Alexa were home from camp and class. Maude was in a bikini on the roof, sunbathing. The Moodys had their heads bent over their work, trying not to look at her.

“What the heck is that weird family doing in our yard?” Jane asked.

“Planting secret bombs because we're not Christian enough for them?”

“Don't give them ideas,” Jane said, stepping out of the car. Alexa got out too, taking a big swig out of her water bottle as she did so.

Maude came out of the house just then, still in her bikini, with some lemonade. The Moodys thanked her politely and took a break.

“Gee dad,” the youngest boy, Mitch, said. “It sure is good to help the widows, just like the bible says in James 1:27!”

Maude stopped in her tracks. Widows? Widows? WHAT?!

Water flew out Alexa's nose, and she started coughing. Jane face palmed, which was a bad idea, since she still had the car keys in her hand and succeeded only in klonking herself on the forehead.

Fortunately, Mr. Moody mistook Alexa's tears of laughter for tears of sorrow. He glared at Mitch before turning to Maude and saying. “I'm sorry.... I didn't mean to bring up the sensitive topic. Has he been gone long?”

Maude's mouth opened, then closed several times before finally settling on “uh....well... kind of...”

Alexa finally stopped coughing. Jane offered her a tissue to wipe her face. “It's alright,” she told Mr. Moody. “It's just... we all miss grandpa very much....”

“Now see here Mr. Moody,” said Maude, who had finally found her voice.

“Well,” said Mrs. Moody, “time to get back to yard work.”

Max started up the lawnmower and Maude's protests were drowned out as Jane and Alexa each took her hands and led her back to the house.

“Now grandma!” Jane exclaimed.

“Don't stop me Jane, I'm going to give him a piece of my mind!”

“Oh but grandma, we could have so much fun with this....” Alexa said.

“Yes yes,” Jane said eagerly. “They wanted to mow our lawn because you're a widow.... if they keep this up, we could have free yardwork all summer.”

““Besides,” Alexa cut in, “think of how Mr. Moody's head is going to explode at the end of the summer when you tell him he's been helping an evil, sinful, divorcee rather than a helpless widow?”

Maude simmered for a minute, then slowly started to smile. “Oh girls,” she said. “I've taught you so well, what would I do without you?”

“Your own yardwork,” said Jane.

 

The second ending.....

 

Alexa finally stopped coughing. Jane offered her a tissue to wipe her face. “It's alright,” she told Mr. Moody. “It's just...”

But Maude had finally found her voice. “So.” she said in a dangerous voice. “So.”

The Moodys looked confused. Alexa thought briefly of running into the house before the explosion hit, then decided she'd rather stay and watch the fireworks.

“So,” Maude repeated. “You noticed an old woman living alone, and just assumed my husband died?”

“Uh....” Said Mr. Moody.

Jane inhaled sharply, then exhaled.

Alexa carefully controlled her facial features, digging her nails into her palms to avoid.... laughter? Anger? Both?

“I could very well still have a husband; he could be on vacation, or in the army, or... or What makes you even think I was ever married in the first place?”

“Well, uh-”

“My eyes, Mr. Moody, are up here.”

“You...” Said Mr. Moody, forcing his eyes away from Maude's cleavage. “You are Mrs. Marple, are you--”

“It's Ms. Marple.” Maude was really hitting her stride now. “And you, Mr. Moody,” she said, jabbing her finger in his face, “would do well not to make assumptions about people.” And with that, she turned on her heel and marched into the house, leaving the stunned Moodys staring after her. Jane noted that Mr. Moody's eyes had rarely left Maude's cleavage during the entire conversation and suppressed a shudder.

“Come on Jane,” Alexa said. “We'd better, uh...”

“Go make dinner for grandma!”

“Right, come on!”

They ran into the house after Maude, then opened one of the windows to listen to the Moody's conversation.

“Should we leave, dad?” Max asked his father. “That lady was rude, and she's sunbathing on the roof half naked. I'm having a hard time not looking at her!”

Jane and Alexa each threw each other identical looks of disgust. How old was this kid, 10? Perving on their grandma? Disgusting.

“No, children,” said Mr. Moody, “we will finish that which we have started, for the Lord wants us to persevere and finish our tasks according to our abilities. We will continue to work here and we will go home afterwards and have a special prayer at bible time for Mrs.... or Miss, Marple. We will ask for advice as to how we may best witness to her.”

“And we will make sure to ask her to be fully clothed if we ever come back,” They heard Mrs. Moody say in a barely audible voice. “Think of the children...” the lawnmower started up again, and the 2 cousins couldn't hear any more.

“So,” said Alexa icily, drawing away from the window, “that's how they want to play it.”

“Well,” said Jane, “two can play at this game.”

“What's your plan, Jane?”

“They want to witness to us? Think about what would happen if we were to witness back.”

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Ooh, I like both endings. Depends on if there's a follow-up, I suppose. If you're going to write another chapter about Jane and Alexa trolling the Moodys, then definitely ending 2. Otherwise, ending 1, because I love the idea of them getting free yardwork out of the Moodys' own backwards assumptions :pb_lol:

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4 hours ago, alba said:

Ooh, I like both endings. Depends on if there's a follow-up, I suppose. If you're going to write another chapter about Jane and Alexa trolling the Moodys, then definitely ending 2. Otherwise, ending 1, because I love the idea of them getting free yardwork out of the Moodys' own backwards assumptions :pb_lol:

I have no idea if there will be a follow up or not. I kinda want to leave things open, in case I do think of something at some point.

I do kinda want to do an actual book of these. Like, "A Summer With The Doodys," but not from the Doodys' perspective like Sarah writes, but from the perspective of their neighbors. How do the neighbors see the Doodys? That, to me, would be interesting.

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Yes, I think that would make a much more interesting story than the actual books, which don't even really have much in the way of 'story' to them; just scattered vignettes that don't tie together. You know what would be really interesting, actually? A full-on narrative from the POV of one of the neighbours, perhaps dealing with a personal issue that involves character growth and all that fun stuff, with the Doodys recurring and interfering but not being the focus.

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10 hours ago, alba said:

Yes, I think that would make a much more interesting story than the actual books, which don't even really have much in the way of 'story' to them; just scattered vignettes that don't tie together. You know what would be really interesting, actually? A full-on narrative from the POV of one of the neighbours, perhaps dealing with a personal issue that involves character growth and all that fun stuff, with the Doodys recurring and interfering but not being the focus.

I had kinda been sorta thinking of something like that, only perhaps with multiple POV. It was just as fun to write scenes with Mrs. Clifton as it was with Maude. Not entirely sure what personal issues I could give them... besides thinking the Doodys are a headache. I could theoretically go with Mrs. Clifton struggling to get used to life after her hip breaking, but I feel out of my depth with that.

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Hmm, I like that! And I don't think they have to be *big* personal issues; even just *normal* issues like Alexa having difficulty with homework or Jane struggling to decide what college to go to. Something like that that contrasts with the Doodys' soulless existence!

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crawfishgirl

Posted

I like the first ending - free yardwork is great (I really hate to work on my lawn).  She can correct their assumptions later, along with the definition of 'assume', which would teach them a time-consuming lesson.

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