March 25, 2015 – It took us longer than anticipated to hatch a viable plan and put an end to Eunice’s reign of terror. It wasn’t the catching her that had us troubled, but what to do with her after we caught her. We couldn’t take her to the police, since her sister was the radio dispatcher at the station and would surely aid and abet the former librarian. We certainly couldn’t take her back to the chicken yard! Finally, I offered a suggestion that seemed as good a solution as any. But first, we had to nab our nemesis.
Bo was still keeping a tail on Eunice, documenting her comings and goings from the library until Sawyer, Addie and I showed up a few hours later. Around 5:00 o’clock in the morning Eunice left and drove next door to the donut shop. I watched her purchase a cup of hot tea and a peach pastry. Personally, I think she would have benefitted from a bran muffin, but to each their own.
It was then that we seized the opportunity to enter the library and attempt to rescue her latest victim. We took the elevator to the second floor. As the doors opened, we panned over the research tables and book shelves until our eyes fell on a side chair not far from the window which looks out over the parking lot. As Bo suspected, Eunice had taken someone else and tied her up, just as she had with the Orpingtons. This time it was our friend, Gertrude the goat, from Mrs. Turner’s Farm. Eunice had forced her to sit in the chair as if she were a human! Imagine! Her back hooves were tied to the chair legs with a yellow nylon boat rope, and her front hooves were shackled to the chair arms with a blue bungee cord. Gertrude started eating through her restraints as soon as Eunice left the building. She had nibbled through the last fiber of rope when we appeared on the scene.
“Are you alright?” I asked rushing to our friend.
“Right as rain,” Gertrude laughed, flipping the bungee cord into the air. “As if THAT would restrain a goat!” she added, insulted over Eunice’s obvious lack of caprine knowledge.
“What happened?” I probed.
“That bespectacled pencil who ran against you in the election, foiled me into thinking she was a purveyor of tin cans and edible hats. She made me ride from the farm to the library on the hood of her car, in exchange for all the straw fedoras I could stomach. How could I pass up such an offer?! I’m always hungry! Once we got here, she tied me to the chair and promised I’d get a hat to eat as soon as she got you in exchange. The old bait and switch! I’ve been here for hours without so much as a bookmark to munch on!”
“Well, there’s no time to eat now,” Bo warned, looking out the window. “Eunice just pulled in.”
“For the love of bat milk!” Addie said in a panic, slapping herself in the head with her wings. “What are we going to do?!”
I grabbed her by the arm and pushed open the door to the back stairwell. We made it out through the basement before Eunice ever saw us. We were standing by the back door when we heard her frustrated screams reverberate through the building.
“I guess she found the empty chair,” laughed Gertrude.
“She has to be hotter than a flapjack on a jet engine,” said Bo, shaking his head.
“Alright,” said Sawyer. “What now?”
“Now we put OUR plan in place,” I replied.
I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number for the library. Surprisingly, Eunice answered.
“Town Library,” she snarled, “We’re not open yet. What do you want?”
“Ooh la la, mademoiselle!” I purred in my best French accent. “I was calling my sister in Quebec, but must have reached a wrong number. I was about to say, excusez-moi, and hang up, but now I must know who it is behind such a fiery voice.”
Eunice fell for my insincere compliment, hook, line and sinker.
“Oh,” she stumbled, searching for her pleasant words. “This is Eunice. Eunice Ignatia Tightklutcher.” Her usually clipped tone dripped with sugar.
“Oui!” I replied. “”I thought so. Eunice, from the Sanitariums. It means, “tu pues”, no?”
Sawyer giggled in the background.
“She just told Eunice that she stinks!” she translated to the others.
“Why yes, I suppose it does,” Eunice gushed, tripping over herself in an effort to impress a sophisticated stranger.
“I suppose I should let you go, mademoiselle, and not take up any more of your time. I need to tell my sister about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“It’s very early in Quebec,” Eunice stalled, clearly intrigued. “Why don’t you tell me, and when the hour is later, I will call your sister for you and relay the information.”
“You would do that for a stranger from France?” I baited. “That is magnifique! You are so kind!”
Addie pretended to stick her wing down her throat and puke.
“That’s me,” Eunice chirped merrily. “I am magnifique!”
“Do you have a pencil and paper?” I asked in a thick Parisian accent. I could hear her shuffling papers and knocking books to the floor.
“Yes, I do. Go ahead. I’m ready.”
“Tres bon! Very good!” I replied. “Here is the information to tell my sister. I know she is looking to relocate. A client of mine from the United States has an opening for a town manager that pays very, very well. The candidate must be strong-willed and tenacious, just like my sister. The job comes with a free car and lodging. It is hers if she wants it, but she must act now. She is to ask for a Mr. Barstool at The Pearl Onion in Walla Walla, Washington this Friday at 4:00 o’clock in the evening. He will hand her a plane ticket that will transport her by puddle jumper to her new town where she will be greeted enthusiastically by the locals. She is to tell the mayor of the town, that she is HAPPY to be there, and then repeat this phrase. This is most important, as it is how the mayor will know she is the candidate to whom the job is to be given.”
“A phrase you say?” Eunice repeated.
“Oui!” I replied. “It is in French, so listen carefully, no?”
“No… er, I mean, yes…” Eunice stuttered.
“My sister is to tell the town manager, “Je suis un pruneau de moyenne et je déteste les poulets! Do you have that?” I asked.
“Je suis un pruneau de moyenne et je déteste les poulets!” Eunice repeated. “It sounds intriguing! What does it mean?”
“Oh, no bother, mademoiselle,” I replied. “My sister speaks French fluently. She will know what I mean. Let me give you her name and phone number.”
As expected, before I could utter a fake name, the line went dead. If I had to guess, Eunice was busy making travel arrangements that focused her attention on greed rather than a desire to do bodily harm to me and my family. A few minutes later, we watched Eunice’s car peel out of the parking lot of our local library, hopefully for the very last time.
“Is there really a job?” Gertrude asked.
“Where did you send her?” Addie probed.
“I contacted a friend of Pauline’s, from Pauline’s Crab Shack and Ballroom Dance Emporium, that owns a pub in Washington. He agreed to hand Eunice a plane ticket that will take her north to an old mining town called, Chicken, Alaska. In 2010, the population was 7… not counting the chickens!”
“That’s brilliant!” Sawyer howled.
“What about that phrase,” Bo questioned. “Je suis un…”
“Je suis un pruneau de moyenne et je déteste les poulets?” I chuckled. It means, “I am a mean prune, and I hate chickens!”
We enjoyed a laugh over that before heading home for a hearty breakfast of mealworm pancakes and hot lavender tea. With Eunice hopefully out of the picture for good, I can now focus on being sworn in as the next official library trustee for our town. A position I will honor and respect for the entirety of my term. De ce que je voeu! Of this I vow.