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Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #2317813
Millicent has the time and the inclination to keep an eye on things.
         Millicent unpacked her cavernous tote bag, the one with all the handy pockets. On the stone bench she arranged a neat pile of peanuts for the squirrels, bread crusts for the ducks, a few oatmeal cookies for herself and a heaping mound of mind-your-own-beeswax for the impolite, mouthy hooligans. She sighed and squeezed her eyes shut as she took a moment to feel the warm sunshine caress her face. She found that more and more she needed this tiny ritual. The steady dub-dub of her heart slowed. She relaxed into less of a pant, or it could have been a wheeze. No matter, she was still this side of a grave.
         With one final sigh and a brief second to smooth her wrinkled skirt Millicent tugged the binoculars from their assigned pouch. They never failed to cause a wistful smile. Their former owner, her nephew Sam, had never left home without them. Oh, the sights they'd illuminated. Sam had been clutching them the night he did not return from what would be his final stakeout.
         His spinster, oh how she despised that silly title, aunt carried on what she considered the family business. Although she would admit grudgingly if she had to that she did not have an investigator's licence nor had ever possessed one, truth be told Millicent tended to think of herself as a watcher. No, she was most emphatically not a snoop, or even a busybody. Her calling was as a witness, an observer. Of course, she had no intention of being a night watchman, er, watchwoman. She enjoyed quite a different viewing of an evening comfy on her worn sofa wielding a television remote.
         Tossing a handful of peanuts to the ground Millicent signaled the beginning of her vigil with the hefting of the binoculars. The sharp focus always amazed her. Why could her spectacles not be like this?
         Across from the town square Mr. Peabody dropped his broom to carry Ivy's bags to her parked car. Has he had a haircut? Is that a new bow tie? Is she actually giggling, a woman her age? Don't be taken in by that cheap dye job. She graduated high school before I did. How many peaches does one matron, yes I said it, need?
         Something flashed red in her peripheral vision and Millicent turned her head and thus her attention to the cafe. Two aproned figures shook a bright tablecloth, laughing and conversing. A gust of wind whipped one end from the waitress' grasp and the waiter threw his hands into the air stumbling to the sidewalk attempting to aid his co-worker. Ouch. That must have hurt. Hopefully his pride is still unbruised. Millicent jumped. A horn blared. Muffled shouts wafted on the breeze. Something, car brakes, squealed. The unmistakable crunch of crashing metal grated on her ears. Someone screamed.
         Through the lens Millicent first noticed the red tablecloth draped like a matador's cape across the windshield of a crumpled, smoking Mini. Its stunned driver wobbled from the wreck cradling one of his arms. The tiny vehicle's front bumper hooked the counterpart of a massive pick-up truck. The man emerging from the cab waved his arms and screamed before his boots hit the pavement.
          Holy smokes! I didn't see that happening. Wait, yes I did. Has anyone phoned 911? Why are cellphones aimed at the wrecks? Am I seeing flashes?
          A demanding chorus of quacks alerted Millicent that the panhandling ducks had waddled up to the bench. Their feathers were not in the least ruffled , not yet anyway. Red strobing light pierced the crusts as Millicent scattered them on the grass and the birds squabbled.
         A crowd had circled 'round the accident site.
         Oh, oh, tempers are boiling. Mr. Peabody is sure red in the face. That truck driver fella does not like to be restrained. Whoa, he has a mean left cross. Ivy is cradling Peabody's head in her lap. That's a bold move. Did Sheriff Law get a hair cut? I dunno, should he dangle the hand cuffs in angry trucker's face? The waitress is pushing Mr. Broken Arm into a chair. I think he's gonna spy the other red tablecloths. Oops, one of the paramedics just slipped on a peach. Are you seeing this Sam? ( 711 words )
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