Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/140142-JEANNETTE
by Bubba
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Emotional · #140142
The kind, elderly Jeannette has a surprise for two cruel serial killers.


Buster W. Newton

         On the outskirts, just outside the village limits of a small, peaceful community, lived an elderly widow by herself. Jeannette was well-known and well-liked throughout the vicinity although she was a very private person who, more than anything else, loved to work in her spacious yard.
         As people left the small hamlet, traveling west, within a couple-hundred-yards beyond the village limit's sign, on the right, setting up on the top of a small hill easily seen from the highway, was Jeannette's well-kept, white-painted, wooden house, resting in the middle of two acres of land. Jeannette knew every square inch of that bit of land and had devoted the last fifteen years of her life, since her husband's death, to turning the property into her own little Garden of Eden.
         She had been very successful in achieving her gardening goal and was often visited by the village people just so they could admire the beauty of her landscape. She never failed to offer the neighbors a drink and/or some homemade pie and was just about as well known for her delicious pies as she was for her beautiful tract.
         In fact, the highlight of the school year for the elementary school children was the visit to Jeannette's luscious enclosure. Not only were they infatuated with all the different flowers and trees but were also highly expectant of eating her pies, the best pie in the world in their opinions.
         Although she was pleased to share her patch and pies with the neighborhood and enjoyed the interaction, being a lone widow, Jeannette was most comfortable and contented while working by herself in her lot.
         Standing about five-feet, six-inches tall and having a stout, strong body that went unnoticed by most people because of her age and round, soft-complexioned face, illuminated by twinkling-blue, kind eyes and thickly braided, pure-white hair, Jeannette put her soul and body into her gardening work. From all of the weeding and extensive time spent planting and rearranging her gorgeous flowers, she had thick, strong hands that surprised most people when they shook her hand. It puzzled them that such strength issued from such a kindly, elderly lady.
         She preferred wearing loose, long dresses, usually having colorful floral designs on them and reaching halfway down to her ankles from her knees. Her footwear consisted of work shoes that contrasted strangely with her pretty, flowery dresses. This whole ensemble was always topped off with a wide-brimmed straw hat that kept the sun's rays from burning or tanning her soft, light skin.
         The people from the locale had grown very fond, when entering or leaving the city, to glance up the small hill at Jeannette's yard and see her bent over a flowerbed doing some weeding or else pruning a tree or anyone of the many tasks she was always doing on her property. Without their realizing it, it gave them a feeling of peace and tranquility in a world too often fraught with cruelty and harshness.
         For the village people, Jeannette was a symbol of kindness and compassion. Although the vicinity was rural and distanced from the chaos of big-city living, there was enough contact with the outside world brought in by the highway that went through their district, as well as the world-encompassing arm of cable television, that the people were well aware of the brutal realities of living in the late 1990's. The political, big business, governmental, and societal corruption had spread its disease throughout the land until no locality was free from the sickness with which this decaying immorality consumed the country.
         Jeannette, though, gave the people of the municipality a sense of sanity and tranquility that was often sought but rarely found in human existence. The people would drive by her home, see her working happily in the yard, and without being aware of it, smile contentedly while gazing at this lone, peaceful figure who was doing no harm to anyone and thoroughly engrossed in the joys of the Creator's loving gift of life and nature.
         For a brief moment the passer-bys were reminded of a different life style. Then, just as quickly, they were jolted back into the busy, stressful world of making a living in a product-crazed society as their automobiles sped them along to the day's activities.
         Meanwhile, Jeannette, sometimes aware of the passing traffic but mostly lost in her world of gardening, was committed to enjoying each day at a time as much as possible. Not a formally educated woman, she had learned from much inner contemplation and tough life experience the utterly amazing gift of life.
         Very aware of the massive inhumanities conducted by people to people everyday across the planet, she was devoted to staying in touch with the Creator as much as practicable. Her religion was simple.
         Her garden was her church. Each day she awoke excited to spend her day in her church, contemplating the wonderful gift of life and not letting the pains of humanity destroy the love of the Almighty. She believed without any doubt in the Creator. The laws of nature were enough to convince her of this truth. Her gardening proved to her everyday that certain laws were working in nature that could be relied upon.
         These laws came from the Creator. Her life came from the Creator; everything in the universe came from the Creator. She was absolutely convinced of this truth. Not only was her life a gift from God but she also understood the overwhelming kindness of the Almighty.
         The Almighty provided life, and humans were especially endowed with a thinking brain to be aware of life and death and the laws of nature. Jeannette also believed that, in addition to this gift of life with cognition, God had also benevolently provided for all the needs necessary to support existence.
         Most intriguing to her was the total love of the Creator as exhibited by Its willingness to give humanity free will. Instead of imposing any rules or standards to force humanity to live a certain way, the Creator gave complete choice to the human race to choose any manner of living and using God's gifts as it chose without intervention other than the natural laws always at work to sustain the creation.
         Every day Jeannette worked in her yard, giving thanks to the Creator for Its love and gifts. Every day she did her best to show her appreciation of this love by trying to be a natural part of existence, nurturing and growing and cherishing God's bequests without a thought of destruction or using selfishly the fruits of nature.
         Her needs were met, and she had no other purpose in life but to give thanks to the Creator for this favor. Long ago she realized that the human race had its course of existence set in a direction of inhumanity. It was obvious to her that the human weaknesses of greed and selfishness were two powerful foes that she was incapable of changing in others. She was only able to change herself and how she dealt with this reality in human nature.
         Her choice was to find her little niche in life that would permit her to enjoy God's offerings and to live as she thought was compatible with her beliefs. She had been very fortunate and had been allowed her chosen life style and had no complaints. As long as she had her little home and garden and the time to give thanks everyday to God, her wishes were granted. She knew she had been extremely blessed and lived every day as a grant from God.
         Each day she awoke very early, made herself a pot of coffee, and sat on her front porch to delight in the rising sun. For her, each new sunrise was unique and had its special colors and mood. She felt it was a wonderful way to begin the daylight hours.
         Even when the weather became stormy, she loved just as much the swirling winds, heavy and light rains, and different designs and movements of the varied colored and shaped clouds as they sometimes floated lightly across the sky while at other times whisked by overhead at incredible speeds. All of nature was an extraordinary miracle to her.
         It intoxicated and hypnotized her to experience the constant change occurring every moment of every day in nature. Nothing ever stayed the same. She was so synchronized to nature's minutely subtle changes, like noticing rocks in her garden that slightly transform their shapes each day, to the sudden and violent alterations caused by vicious storms that ripped apart her flowers and trees. All of this was nature's way, which she accepted happily.
         Once the sun had risen, weather permitting, Jeannette would put on her customized apron that held the primary tools and supplies she needed for toiling in the soil. Then, very methodically, she would continue her daily ritual of worshipping God in her own fashion.
         The kind, seasoned lady thought of her garden as a painting. As the artist visualizes a certain picture in her mind, seeing certain colors and shapes blending together to give a specific unity to represent her unique vision on canvass, Jeannette's canvass was her plot of land. How she experimented and learned from nature the most appropriate and life-sustaining areas to place each plant shifted her garden/painting daily to give her the impression of an ever-changing picture that took on a life of its own.
         Jeannette learned that a certain spot for a particular plant might seem the best choice at first; but then as time went on, nature taught her differently. She would be forced to move that particular plant to a new location since it was not thriving in the first area. Once she experimented and moved the dying plant to a new home, she would be elated to find the new location gave the plant the nutrients it needed to survive healthily.
         This often reminded her of people. She remembered being miserably unhappy living in an apartment complex during her first years of marriage. It was a crowded and dirty complex with no natural beauty surrounding it. Only asphalt, concrete, and brick decorated the busy community. There were neighbors, she recalled, who thrived in this environment and were happy. She, however, felt suffocated and depressed.
         Then, when her husband was transferred with a nice promotion to the small community in which she currently lived, Jeannette blossomed and took on a whole new attitude about life and her existence. She was happy and alive in this rural area that was plush with natural beauty. There was room to think and move without being crushed in by others.
         Every day she thanked God for this change in employment that had happened to her now-dead husband. She recognized that it changed her whole life for the better. It also made her wonder how many people were living in the wrong environment for their happiness and could be totally changed by moving to a more suitable habitat.
         If only there were a people-gardener that could plant and shift people until they discovered the most suitable home for their happiness, then there might not be such human suffering in the world. If that were true, though, Jeannette realized, then there would no longer be free will. That would be too high of a cost.
         No, it would be up to people to understand for themselves that they had to make the right choices for them to obtain a satisfactory level of existence. They had to be willing to experiment and make change until they reached their preferred level. Her grandfather used to tell her when she was a young child, "Water seeks its own level." Not until she had settled into her present home did she grasp the meaning of his words.
         As she contentedly toiled away each day in her Garden of Eden, moving unhealthy plants to new locations, feeding the flowers and trees, checking the young trees she recently planted to make certain they were healthy, pruning trees, moving rocks and stones to accommodate other changes, removing the plants that were too weak to survive regardless of her care, and simply walking the plot of ground to enjoy the results of her loving care, she would often notice her neighbors driving in and out of town. Sometimes, if she was not busy concentrating on a task, she would see her neighbor's wave in greeting, and Jeannette would wave back.
         Most of the automobiles in the community she recognized and knew the owners. It was easy for her to notice an out-of-town car just passing through. All the while, as the vehicles drove by her house, Jeannette, although aware of their existence, usually was in deep contemplation about life and God. She held a daily communion with the Creator and continuously studied the laws working in her garden to compare them with the laws working in human nature and was fascinated with the similarities.
         In this manner she lived her days very satisfied and at peace. In her work apron, she kept a cellular phone for communicating to the outside world. Sometimes friends would call just to chat, which was fine for Jeannette. She was not ready to be a complete recluse and actually appreciated people as long as the interaction was positive, respectful, and kind.
         Many efforts were made by her to spread good, human feelings in the community, such as freely sharing her garden, making pies to serve known visitors, and several other neighborly projects that kept her active in the small village.
         Occasionally, a stranger who was passing through might stop at her house to ask directions, which she would give cooperatively, if she knew the directions being requested. Then there were other times in which she had to be very cautious with strangers. Unfortunately, as she had learned, strangers may have bad intentions.
         She knew also that the world was full of unhappiness, and there were some very weak, confused, and scared people who would not hesitate to harm others for no reason at all other than their personal mental unstableness. For this reason, she tried to stay alert and prepared without letting it consume her and take her thoughts away from the gift of life that she felt blessed by having.
         Hence, one day as she was doing her normal ritual in the yard, she happened to notice an out-of-town car passing through, heading west on the highway. This was not unusual. Then a little later, she again noticed this same, strange car driving by, heading back into the village. This alerted her slightly because it was not normal.
         Unless one of her neighbors had bought another car without her knowing it, which everybody in this village always knew what everyone else was doing, then this out-of-town car was not following the usual order of things. Jeannette, being so attuned to the order of nature, which included the human race, mentally noted this slight change in ordinariness. Checking her work apron to make certain she had all of her necessary tools, she then went back to her labor of love.
         Unbeknownst to Jeannette, the out-of-town car that she had observed was transporting two fugitives from the law. They had fled from a large metropolitan area on the East Coast after murdering three young teenagers for their drugs.
         Both of these outlaws were in their late thirties and had spent much of their lives in either reform school as children or prison as adults. To write that they had no feelings for human life would be incredibly understating their absolute disregard for humanity.
         Trusting no one, these two killers had been slowly and carefully working themselves westward, supporting their needs by robbing and killing elderly people living alone and somewhat isolated. They had been so careful to scope out their victims before they did their dastardly deeds that the police in the rural areas where they had been committing their crimes were baffled and confused by the murders, especially since they were so cruel and unscrupulous.
         Most of the time, both men raped the elderly women repeatedly, and the old men were cut into several pieces. They made sure they did their heinous misdeeds far enough apart from each other until they felt comfortable that no one investigating the individual cases had made a connection among the five burglaries and murders they had thus far committed across several states.
         The two guttersnipes also traveled only through the back roads of the states, making sure they stayed away from any heavily populated areas. They were feloniously devious and cunning and were determined not to go to jail again. Having been successful to this point in their fleeing attempt, they believed themselves invincible so long as they continued with their current plan.
         Small villages with country cops and old people as victims were almost a perfect crime for them to execute. When they saw Jeannette working alone in her yard just on the outskirts of the village they had just left, they knew instantly that this looked like good potential for another crime. What they had to do was go back to the village and, without causing suspicion, find out for sure that the old lady working in the garden lived alone. Having done this several times already, they knew what to do.
         The one nicknamed Snake stood six-feet, three-inches tall and weighed about one hundred forty pounds. Very skinny and unhealthy looking, Snake's body was covered with lewd and derogatory tattoos, such as naked women in perverted situations and the Nazi swastika symbol.
         He wore his dark hair long and uncombed as well as unwashed most of the time. He had a large, hooked nose that even looked bigger on his skinny face and body. Two beady eyes rested above his huge beak and rarely did he ever look anyone in the eyes. His voice was squeaky and high with a vocabulary that only consisted of profanity.
         Wearing dirty, torn jeans most of the time with dirty T-shirts and big, heavy, motorcycle boots for footwear, Snake never made a positive impression on anyone he met. Even the criminals with whom he associated were uncomfortable looking at him. No one was quite sure what he was thinking or what he would do.
         In his home area, the neighborhood in the large city in which he was hatched from birth knew that he was insanely criminal. As a teenager, larger kids would try to pick on him, but these bullies would soon be found dead in an alley or the basement of a project building, usually with their throats cut wide open. It wasn't long before the neighborhood put two-and-two together to know Snake was the killer. Soon, the bullies left him alone.
         He also preferred to hang with kids who were younger than he. This way he could be the boss. These kids were used by Snake to sell dope, hurt enemies, kill enemies, bring young girls to him, which he usually had to rape because they were disgusted by just looking at him, steal property, and any other criminal activity Snake chose for them to do.
         Although he had been arrested numerous times as a child and as an adult, it wasn't long before the courts and jail system released him due to overcrowding or bribery payments by a crooked attorney. It was while he was in prison for rape that he met his best and only friend, Tiger.
         Snake and Tiger had shared a cell together in the state penitentiary and had become very tight buddies, which was rather strange. As ugly and mean looking as Snake was, Tiger was just the opposite. Six-feet tall and having short-cropped, blonde hair that was always washed with an almost baby face and innocent blue eyes, Tiger could easily have passed as a businessman or even college kid.
         He worked hard to keep his body in perfect shape and made sure his tattoos were placed where they could be easily hidden when he wanted to conceal them.
         Raised by sexually and physically abusive parents, Tiger early on developed a bitter hatred for all people but used his good-looks and innocent face to manipulate anyone he wanted to for whatever reason he chose. If he could not manipulate individuals to get what he wanted, then he would hurt them. If that didn't work, then he would kill them, which was his greatest pleasure. He loved torturing his victims before he finally put them out of their misery.
         Although he had been given a twenty-five year term for murder, he was let out in seven years for good behavior and using his good looks to seduce the homosexual warden.
         It was weird; Tiger liked Snake because of Snake's ugliness; and Snake liked Tiger because of his physical attractiveness. The two hit it off almost immediately, especially when they both learned of each other's hatred for the world.
         Eventually, Tiger was able to easily manipulate Snake and became the unsaid leader of the two. Snake had actually fallen in love with Tiger, of which Tiger was aware but used the love to dominate the ugly man.
         Since Snake was released from prison a couple of years before Tiger, Snake promised his cell mate that he would stay in touch and provide him with whatever he could sneak by the correctional officers. Snake kept his word and took very good care of Tiger during Tiger's last two years in jail.
         Once Tiger was released from prison, Snake and he joined forces to wreak havoc on anyone who was unfortunate enough to cross their paths. They never worked and took forcibly whatever they wanted. When the three young teenagers refused to give the two ex-convicts their dope, Snake and Tiger simply shot them and cut them up into pieces because of the pleasure it gave Tiger.
         Watching Tiger in his sadistic pleasure gave Snake gratification. The two made for a very sick pair and were happy to leave the East Coast together when they learned there had been a witness to their brutal crime against the three teenagers. It was Tiger's plan to travel the back roads across the country, robbing and killing lonely, old people along the way. By this time, Snake was willing to do anything Tiger wanted him to do.
         Their plan this day, as they returned to the village near where Jeannette lived, was to do as they had been doing. They would look for a very old person who might be aware of Jeannette's living conditions and would trick the old person into revealing if Jeannette lived alone or not. This tactic had been working very well for them because the old people who shared the private information did not connect the murders with Tiger.
         Tiger would clean himself up to look like a choirboy and approach the elderly person with a concocted story that would get the information he was wanting. In the meantime, Snake would be sure to stay out of sight so no one could put the two of them together.
         As they drove through the village shortly after passing Jeannette's, they saw no one suitable for their questioning until they arrived on the other side of the village. Here they noticed a little grocery store with an elderly man sitting in a chair out in front of the store who looked to be asleep. This was just what they were looking for.
         Snake drove the car down the road until it was out of sight of the store. Once he found a secluded spot, he pulled over and let Tiger take control of the car while Snake hid in the bushes. Tiger, looking his most innocent, drove back to the store and pulled in front of it and stopped.
         The old man sleeping in the chair never moved a muscle. As Tiger neared him, he could hear the old man snoring loudly. Tiger first went into the store and bought some cold soda pop and candy bars from a middle-aged woman who he assumed was the daughter of the old man outside. He asked the woman if the old man was okay; and she told him that if he could hear him snoring, then he was doing fine. Laughing at this remark, Tiger told her that he was doing well then.
         After making his purchase, Tiger went outside and stood near the old man who was sleeping and opened one of the cold bottles of soda and stood there for a few minutes drinking. Slyly, he looked back in the store to see what the clerk was doing and noticed that she had walked to the back of the store and was stocking some shelves from a box on a floor. Gently, Tiger touched the old man on the shoulder and said, "Mister . . .Mister . . .could you help me for a moment, please?"
         Groggily, the old man came awake, spitting and coughing, and sputtering, "Wha . . .wha . . .is-it?"
         "Sir," Tiger said in his most innocent tone, " . . .do you know the people who live in that white house on top of the hill just out of town? I'm wondering if they might be interested in selling the house. It's just what my parents are looking for."
         The old man rubbed his eyes for a minute, still spitting and coughing, and finally responded, "Why, ther ain't no people that live there . . .just widow Jeannette . . .and she ain't never goin' to sell that place . . .loves it too much."
         "Okay . . .well I won't bother her about it then . . .thanks Mister, thanks a lot," Tiger said as he left for his car.
         Before he started his car to go back and retrieve his ugly friend, Tiger saw that the old man was already asleep again. He was certain this old man would not even remember Tiger's ever questioning him.
         Once he returned to his brother-in-crime, Tiger told Snake that this was it. Just the old lady lived there by herself. Snake hopped into the car, excited about the upcoming assault. His biggest thrill was to watch Tiger rape the old women; Snake pretended he was the old woman, as his partner did his putrid act. Just looking at Tiger's private parts sent him swooning.
         As they passed the country store, Tiger explained to his love-struck partner the interaction with the old man asleep in the chair. Then he told Snake, who was busy fantasizing about the upcoming offense, that this was the easiest thing he had ever done for making money. It was a cakewalk. These old people never knew what hit them, and the country cops had no idea as to what was going on until they were hundreds of miles down the road.
         Tiger told his buddy that they just might keep doing this until they covered the entire country. As long as Snake was with Tiger, he wouldn't mind. That would be just fine.
         Their normal routine had been to attack their victims in broad daylight, going about their business very quickly so no one would have time to think. This way, too, they didn't have to turn on lights to cause suspicion and could see everything clearly. They believed these country towns never had anything happening and rarely would anyone show up; if they did, then they would kill them, too. So far, though, no one had shown up, which gave both men more and more confidence in their daylight assaults.
         Jeannette had just noticed some diseased flowers in with some healthy ones as the out-of-town car pulled into her driveway. Quickly, she turned around so the passengers in the car couldn't see her dial the state troopers' number on her cellular phone. Then she tossed the phone in the bushes. Sometime today she was sure the troopers would trace the number and get to her house.
         'You could never be too careful in this day and age,' she thought to herself as she turned to meet the visitors, not sure if they were strangers looking for directions or neighbors in a new car or strangers looking for something else. She had experienced it all in her time. Just in case, she put her right arm in her apron pocket and bent over to give her tired, old lady look.
         When the automobile pulled up close enough to see who her visitors were, she knew instinctively that it was trouble. Very quickly, she assessed the phoniness in Tiger's good looks and easily recognized the diseased state of mind in Snake just by his unhealthy appearance. The two diabolical ex-cons sprang out of their car and approached Jeannette hastily.
         "Lady, this is a robbery," Tiger said surly. He showed Jeannette his pistol in his belt and ordered her to go into the house immediately. Jeannette, bent over with her right arm in her apron pocket, walked very slowly and painfully. "What's the matter with your arm lady?" Tiger asked.
         Lying, Jeannette told him that she had had a stroke a few years back that left her right side pretty much paralyzed.
         Hearing this, Tiger looked at his friend, saying, "This is going to be different. I've never screwed a paralyzed person before."
         Neither have I," squeaked Snake. Then they both laughed loudly at their sick humor.
         As they entered the house, Tiger let out a whistle. Then he told his crime partner that they had hit pay dirt, pointing out to Snake all the antique items along with pure silver and pure gold candleholders. They had been very fortunate during their crime spree to sell all of the antique items they had stolen from burglarized homes at very good prices.
         It was Tiger's belief also that if this old lady had all these antiques and expensive candleholders, she must have a stash of cash hidden somewhere. He was looking forward to torturing the hell out of her if she refused to tell him where the money was concealed. He knew he would find out one way or another where it was.
         To his surprise, however, when he asked Jeannette where she kept her money, she cooperatively told him that she had it hidden in the basement. Then she told the two cruel thieves that she would cooperate with them completely if they would just not harm her.
         The two men snarled back at her that all they wanted was the money. They told her they could care less about hurting her, but they lied. Tiger was elated that the cash was in the basement because they could rape and kill the old lady with more privacy than upstairs. Her screams would be less likely heard down there, if she even had a chance to scream.
         Moving very slowly, Jeannette led them down into the basement with Snake's complaining to her to move faster. Feigning a pitiful voice, the elderly lady explained she was moving as fast as she could with her paralysis being what it was.
         The two contemptible men were so certain of Jeannette's physical weakness that they had neither one attempted to remove their pistols from their belts. As they reached the bottom of the basement steps, they stepped on some plastic covering that protected the entire basement floor. "What's this stuff on the floor?" asked Tiger suspiciously.
         Weak-voiced, Jeannette answered that it was plastic covering to protect her floor from paint. She explained to them that she had hired some painters to paint the basement the-day-after-tomorrow.
         "It sure doesn't look like it needs painting to me," said Snake.
         "I know," responded Jeannette. "I hate the color and want something brighter."
         "Tiger said, "Well, it must be nice to have enough money to do what you want when you want. . .I'm looking forward to having some of that money very soon. . .now where do you have it hid down here?"
         Jeannette said timidly, "You promise me you won't hurt me once you get the money."
         "Look, you old bitch, we already told you we wouldn't hurt you once we got the money. . .now quit stalling and tell us where it is!" snapped Tiger impatiently. He wanted the money, but more than that he wanted to get on with his torture and killing. He needed his sick thrill. Snake, also, was getting restless to see his secret love doing his perverted sexual entertainment.
         Jeannette pointed to the other end of the basement opposite from where they were standing and told them, "It's down there in that wooden box."
         Hearing this and seeing the wooden box, Tiger shoved Jeannette rudely on the shoulder, hard enough to knock her to the floor. After the old lady was pushed down to the floor, the two deviants walked briskly to the wooden box, barely able to contain their excitement. They were expecting to find a good bit of cash in the repository.
         Once they opened the receptacle, their mouths dropped open; there was only one hundred fifty dollars in the container. Maniacally angry, the two assassins turned around to face the old lady ready to torture her unmercifully. They both noticed that she had somehow risen to her feet and was looking strangely at them with her paralyzed arm in the apron.
         Tiger, in a rage, began walking menacingly towards the helpless old lady, yelling, "You bitch! I know you've got more cash around here than this! You better show us where it is pronto, or we'll cut your damn head off!" Snake was right behind him, glaring dangerously at Jeannette.
         As tiger got within ten-to-fifteen-feet from the widow, Jeannette pulled out a 22 pistol from her apron with her superficially paralyzed arm and shot Tiger dead in the heart. Tiger fell instantly to the floor, his innocent blue eyes wide-opened and staring blankly.
         It happened so quickly that Snake was momentarily stunned. This was never expected. Forgetting Jeannette for the moment, Snake was more horrified of his never-to-be-consummated-lover's death than he was of anything else.
         Being just behind Tiger when the old lady shot him, Snake fell down to his hands, hovering on all fours over his dead partner. "Tiger! Tiger! You all right!" he screamed frantically. He nervously shook his dead ex-cell mate and kept pleading hopelessly for Tiger to say something to him. Finally, he realized it was helpless; his only friend was dead.
         Then a sudden rage developed inside of him. He looked angrily up at Jeannette from his four-point stance and said, "I'm going to kill you for this, you old hag!"
         Jeannette stood there watching this pitiful scene with the pistol held down to her side. She said nothing to the hawked-beaked, beady-eyed homicidal maniac, content to watch him carefully to see what his reaction was going to be.
         Snake stood up, foaming at the mouth with tears flowing from his narrow, slit-eyes, and began charging toward Jeannette, forgetting to pull his own pistol from his belt, intend on strangling her with his own bare hands, not believing an old lady like this could beat him at anything.
         The moment Jeannette saw that he was going to charge her, she shot Snake in the heart. The ugly man was in such a rage that the supposed-to-be-fatal wound wasn't even felt. He kept moving towards Jeannette with the desire to kill in his eyes; she shot him in the heart again; still this didn't stop him; he continued to move dangerously close to the old lady; Jeannette changed her aim and shot him in the middle of the eyes; this didn't stop him; he was just about to pounce on Jeannette when she once again shot him in the heart. This last shot served the purpose. Snake fell back dead, reaching his arms out towards Tiger. The two serial killers would be doing no harm to anyone from here on out.
         Without thinking, just blurting out spontaneously, Jeanette said, "Damn, I didn't think he was ever going to die!"
         Carefully, she walked over to the two dead killers/thieves and made sure they were both departed. Satisfied that they were, she walked up the basement stairs wondering when the state troopers were going to arrive.
         The little village that she lived near was too small to have its own policeman. They had to depend on the state troopers for any criminal issues. She was hoping they would be arriving soon because she wanted to have time that day to rid her flower bed of the diseased flowers she had spotted earlier just about the time the two afflicted murderers were pulling in her driveway.
         She went upstairs and out of the house to retrieve her cellular phone. By the time she found it, the phone was dead, which told her that her call probably was traced. Replacing the phone in her apron with her other necessary tools and supplies, Jeannette went back in the house to make a fresh pot of coffee and to pull the three pies out of the oven that were cooked that day. She had an experienced hunch that Trooper Harley would want some refreshments before he left.
         In about thirty minutes, a state trooper automobile pulled in the driveway with two troopers in the front seat. Behind the car was an ambulance. There were no lights or fanfare or any indication of an emergency in progress. Everyone calmly got out of their vehicles and walked towards Jeannette, who was sitting peacefully on the front porch. As they approached the porch, one of the troopers said, "How you doing, Miss Jeannette? It's been awhile."
         "I'm fine, Harley. Yea, I know it's probably been at least a year-and-a-half," the elderly lady answered. "How's your family doing?"
         "Oh, there just doing great. . .the kids are keeping Faye and me busy all of the time. I would have been here sooner, but we were having a state meeting about these two hombres that have been traveling westward and robbing and killing old people along the way. This here is Trooper Hastings from headquarters. He was giving us a briefing about these murderers when your call came in. . .I told him to come along with me. Just by chance, you might know something about it."
         "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Hastings," greeted Jeannette. "Yea, I might have some news about it."
         "Nice to meet you, too, ma'am," the new trooper replied, looking at Jeannette anxiously. "What do you know about these killers?"
         "Well, I got two dead fellers in my basement that probably are just the people you're looking for if I have any judgment at all. . .that's their car over there," she answered, pointing to the dead men's car.
         The trooper from headquarters looked at the other trooper incredulously. "How can this be?" he asked the trooper named Harley.
         "Well, Bill, you just have to understand Jeannette to really know how it happened," Harley began explaining. Looking at Jeannette, he asked her, "How many is this now?"
         Jeannette thought carefully for a few minutes and said, "I think this makes seven in the last five years, Harley."
         Bill looked puzzled. "What do you mean by seven? You mean you've killed seven people in five years!"
         Before Jeannette could respond, Harley said, "Yep, that's just what she means. All seven of them. . .that is if the two who are in there now are who we think they are. . .were murderers on the run. They thought they could stop here at Jeannette's and have easy pickin's, but they thought wrong."
         Just then, the two men who arrived in the ambulance and had quietly gone on about their job came out of the house carrying one of the dead men in a body bag. On their way to take the corpse to the ambulance, one of the men told Jeannette, "There wasn't a speck of blood on the floor, Miss Jeannette. That plastic covering works great."
         "Good!" Jeannette exclaimed. "I tried to make sure they were close to the middle of the basement before I shot."
         The state trooper from the headquarters' office, listening to this conversation and seeing the dead man being moved to the ambulance, stood watching and listening in amazement. He couldn't believe what he was hearing and seeing. This was just too unbelievable. He looked at Harley and asked, "Shouldn't we be investigating the basement before they remove the bodies?"
         "Naw. . .we don't have to worry about that. . .Jeannette can tell us everything we need to know for the report," Harley answered, smiling at Jeannette.
         Noticing that the two ambulance workers were already going after the second body, Jeannette asked Harley and Bill, "You ready for some coffee and pie?"
         Bill, still in shock, stood speechless. Harley, on the other hand, gave a quick reply and answered, "I could hardly wait till you asked. . .you know I'm ready." Then he looked at his fellow trooper and said, "You're in for a real treat now, Bill. Jeannette makes the best damn pies in the country."
         The three of them went into the house. Jeannette already had the coffee cups, plates, and pies ready to serve on the dining room table. She wasn't expecting Bill, so she went into the kitchen and gathered one more setting. The three of them sat at the table and began drinking and eating the refreshments. While they were doing this, Jeannette gave a very detailed and descriptive account of the unfortunate incident that had occurred earlier.
         Harley, experienced and prepared, had already put the tape recorder on the table and had it turned on and ready to record Jeannette's story. The two other men carrying the other corpse out of the house interrupted them briefly. These men paused for a moment on their way out and tossed two wallets on the table. One of them said, "Here's their wallets, Harley. You make sure you save us some of that pie, too. We know how much you like it."
         When Jeannette heard the last remark, she chimed in, "Don't worry, Ted. I made sure I made enough for everyone."
         The two men carrying the body went on with their task as Bill and Harley investigated the contents of the two wallets. After they had thoroughly searched them, Harley looked over at Bill and asked, "You have any doubts now?"
         Shaking his head in amazement, Bill replied, "No, I think this pretty much identifies them as the men we were looking for." Then he looked over at Jeannette and said, "I don't know whether to thank you the most for the best pie I've ever eaten or for taking care of those two murderers. I'm really impressed, ma'am. . .I don't think I would have believed this unless I actually experienced it. In fact, I think the state owes you a big award for what you've done. There's no telling how many lives you've saved."
         "There's no need for any award," Jeannette said modestly. "I have enough award already just living my life the way I want. It can't be helped that sometimes something diseased comes along that you might not be expecting. If you listen to the Creator and Its laws, then you can be prepared the best you can to deal with these unhealthy experiences. All the credit goes to the Almighty as far as I'm concerned."
         Bill wasn't sure how to respond to this testimony of Jeannette's, so he just silently shook his head in agreement with her words. Harley understood her personal sentiments much better and shook his head in agreement.
         Then, seeing the look in Jeannette's eyes, he told her, "Don't worry. Your anonymity will be protected. I'll explain it to Bill when we get back to the station."
         By then the two ambulance workers came in to get their much-wanted refreshments.
         While they drank their coffee and ate their pie, Jeannette went ahead and completed her statement to legalize everything. Once Jeannette had completed her telling of the awful incident and everyone had his or her fill of coffee and pie, it was time to leave.
         The friendly, elderly lady walked them outside and thanked them for responding to her call. Then she handed Harley a whole pie in a brown bag and told him that it was for Faye and the kids. All the men thanked Jeannette profusely for the refreshments as well as ridding the world of two horrible killers. They all agreed that Jeannette was one hell-of-a-lady and were truly in awe of her as they left her driveway with Bill's driving the two dead men's car.
         Jeannette stood in the driveway and watched them until they were gone. Then she walked over to the flowerbed she had been working in when the two butchers had first arrived. She bent down carefully and ran her strong, loving hands through the flowers, trying to assess the damage that had been done.
         It looked like the diseased flowers had been found early enough to save most of the other, good flowers. She couldn't understand the Creator's purpose for allowing flowers to become diseased and possibly hurting other, healthy flowers but had accepted a long time ago to not question or condemn God's reasons. Her purpose was to only give thanks and praise to the Almighty for the good and healthy and to try and understand the laws that were at work in nature.
         For a moment, she thought about the murdered people that the two men she had killed in self-defense and wondered why it had happened to those innocent people. Again, she could only accept God's reasons and not condemn. She understood the same laws were working throughout nature regardless if it were people, plants, rocks, or anything else. Her complete love and trust in the Almighty reinforced her commitment to love the Creator and understand Its creation the best she could without judging.
         Within this quest to understand God's creation, the answers could be found when she was ready. She knew she couldn't force the explanations. Smiling, she carefully removed the diseased flowers and tossed them off to the side to get rid of a little later. Right then, she wanted to devote her attention to the remaining healthy flowers to try and save as much additional damage as possible.
         She understood that the diseased could pop up suddenly without any warning, and the laws of nature had taught her to try prevention tactics as much as possible and to always be prepared for the unexpected. Life never ceased to amaze her; the Almighty never ceased to amaze her, especially Its kindness and love, of which she knew sadly, so many people were unaware.
         That was one disease she would love to eliminate. Before once again checking the remaining healthy flowers for any signs of damage, Jeannette looked around at her church and gave thanks to the Creator for all.


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