The Hour Before
Little girls and women bustled around the pristine kitchen. Fresh baked cookies for the little ones, coffee for the moms. Giggles and chatter filled the air. The children finished quickly and left all but a few crumbs. They could be heard running through the house, slamming heritage doors. Then quiet. Mothers exhaled as they sipped on java and conversed.
“Dads here,” yelled ten year old Pepper,” he’s taking down our Christmas lights!”
“He’s putting them in his van, mom!” she shouted with alarm.
Sherrie ran swiftly through the French doors to the living room, only to see the green van bolt away. Pepper was crying and asking her mother why he took their pink Christmas lights. Sherrie comforted her daughter with optimism, while the phone rang, and rang and rang. One of the ladies finally answered it.
"No, sorry she’s busy right now.” Sherrie could hear Gale respond to the caller.” That’s not a very nice way to talk.” Gale retorted, then hung up.
The phone rang immediately after being placed back on the cradle. No one answered. It kept ringing. Finally Gale answered again, as Sherrie peered on in anticipation.
“No, she can’t come to the phone, and that’s not a very nice way to talk,” she scolded.
Little girls continued to play, while mothers stood with blank faces listening to Gale trying to calm the caller. Sherrie walked quietly to the mud room to set the house alarm. Pepper followed her mom, knowing the routine.
Gale tried to assure the caller that Sherrie was busy and couldn’t come to the phone. In a tranquil voice Gale said goodbye and hung up.
Again the phone continuously rang; Gale tended to it once more, while Mothers bundled up their children, and proceeded to leave. Sherrie turned off the alarm; let her company out, apologized profusely for the kafuffle, then reset the alarm. Grabbed her cell phone and called the police. A different officer appeared this time; Sherrie played excerpts from the many taped phone calls that transpired, the hour before!