Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jeanette Cheezum

Miss Emma

I pulled up in the little silver company car. The kids in the neighborhood saw me and ran ahead to tell Miss Emma I had arrived. I never knew what to expect when I came here. Would her children or the caretaker be there? Would Miss Emma be in a horrible mood or just the sweetest thing? I took a deep breath and entered the hallway to her apartment on the third floor.
The door was unlocked; the way it always was when she expected me.
The apartment smelled like cake. That was a good sign. Now I could exhale.
“Miss Emma, its Dotty your favorite nurse.” Silence. “Miss Emma, where are you?”
I began to worry and then looked in all the regular places. Where was she? Maybe she was on the balcony.
Then, I heard the sound of a man behind me. “Can I help you?” He asked.
“I’m Miss Emma’s nurse. We had an appointment.”
“She doesn’t live here anymore.” He looked me straight in the face and thought I believed him.
“Oh, when did she move?” I stood firm.
“Last week.”
I had seen her two days prior. This son-of-a-bitch was up to no good.
“Ah, you must be her grandson, Willie?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
You lying bastard, she doesn’t have a grandson, only granddaughters. “I’ve been driving in bumper to bumper traffic. Would it be okay if I use one of the bathrooms?”
“Okay, lady, but hurry. I have to leave for work soon.”
Someone would have called to tell me. I went through the motions and used the bathroom. Why did the house smell like fresh baked cake? Maybe I’d call the police and see what they thought.
I chose the back bathroom next to Miss Emma’s bedroom. When I opened the door he was there waiting for me.
“Open your purse--”
“This is a med bag; I don’t carry cash or credit cards. My billfold is in the car.”
“You got any drugs in that bag?”
He towered over me and I could smell the sweat and cigarettes seeping through his pores.
“No, I don’t carry anything but bandages and a blood presser cuff. Can I leave now? I have other patients waiting for me.”
He flipped me around and shoved my right arm up behind my back and snatched my bag away from me. It hit the floor hard. That’s when I heard a muffled voice from across the hall.
He opened the closet door and shoved me in with Miss Emma. She sat there with one of her knee socks stuffed in her mouth and a piece of twine about to cut off the circulation in her wrists.
Knowing Miss Emma I could just imagine what she would have done if she could have taken him down. We heard the door lock and the intruder searching through the house. My cell was in my jacket pocket but I waited.
“Miss Emma,” I whispered into her good ear. “Just be quiet until he leaves, and I’ll call the police.”
I began to work on her wrists, but the knots were too tight and I couldn’t free them. Now, did I dare to remove the knee socks? Because she would yell out some profanities that might make him open the door and smack her.
Things were quiet now. I reached over and removed the sock.
“Blah, why did you wait so long? Let me out of here. I’ll kill the ugly beast.”
“The door’s locked. Let me call 911.”
“They better not charge us. I remember one time I had to pay them five dollars because Julia hit 911 instead of 411.”
Lord, help me. Her blood pressure would be sky high. I thought, “How will I code this? The company doesn’t have a code for this. We have to have a code! If Medicare doesn’t get a code, we’ll have to hear about this from Miss Emma for the next five years.”
“Thanks officer for letting us out. We’re really lucky he didn’t hurt us.”
“Easy for you to say, my wrists are cut. I’ve peed my Depends and The Young and The Restless has just gone off.”
“Now Miss Emma, you need to calm down. Let’s see what he’s stolen and give the policeman a description.”
“Sonny, I’ll deal with you in a minute. I need to make sure my cake isn’t burnt.”
“She does pride herself on being a good cook.”
“Ma’am, I think she needs to keep the door locked from now on.”
“Yes, Sir, I’ll tell her.”
We found Miss Emma in the kitchen holding a rifle.
“Ma’am, what do you have there?”
“I’m going to get my son-in-law Jerry on the phone and we’re going to find that beast. He was an Army Ranger you know. He’ll take care of it.”
“Hold on! Can I see the rifle?”
“No! A poor defenseless woman has to protect herself. You can’t have it. This was my husband’s hunting rifle. Do you want me to show you the deer heads with antlers? Then I’ll fix us some cake. We can have a nice visit. I don’t get too much company. Just a nurse and she was late today.”
“Well if you don’t mind, Miss Emma, I’ll take your blood pressure and be on my way.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to this nice policeman and you can lock the door on your way out.”

© Jeanette Cheezum 2011

See Jeanette’s Pubit eBooks at Barnes and Nobel, A Bark, A Shell and a Squiggly Tail for children, Big Stories Told Short and Fish Wife for general adult audiences. Coming soon Twisted Branches. You may see where some of her work is published on the About Me page at or on the members page at


  1. "A poor defenseless woman has to protect herself." Ha! Love that feisty Miss Emma! Reads like it could be a true life case Jay C. Great work!

  2. Miss Emma isn't as "helpless" as one would think. I wouldn't want to cross her! Nice story, Jeanette.

  3. Thanks Harry and Sugar. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.


  4. That was a fine piece of writing, Jeanette. Miss Emma is a great character. And a gun toting old woman to boot.


  5. Thanks David. She just comes buy it naturally.


  6. Thanks, Carol.



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