Emmy Lou Calls 911 | By: Jackie Barnes | | Category: Short Story - Comedy Bookmark and Share

Emmy Lou Calls 911

Yj.ward barnes

Emmy Lou Calls 911

Mama was able to sit up and take nourishment the day after New Year’s, but she sure wasn’t friendly--the way the cats came skidding out of the bedroom all puffed up, you’d think they’d seen a snake.  Being as Mama didn’t feel like playing cats-over-and-under-the-bed-attack-the-blanket right now, I fed them a pork loin I found in the fridge, but old Greedy Gut hogged it all.  I’m pretty sure Mama wasn’t saving it for anything, and everybody but old Greedy Gut shrank down to normal cat size right off.  Mama says cats can’t puff up and eat at the same time, but old Greedy Gut sort of inhaled pork loin in one breath and hissed the next and swatted the bejesus out of anything that came between him and that roast so fast that I couldn’t tell for sure--he sort of inflates and deflates.
I went to get the iodine out of the medicine cabinet but all the stuff in front of the iodine bottle fell out, and I grabbed the glass shelf and it and all Mama’s little bottles hit the sink and the glass shelf broke all over the floor and the little bottles ricocheted around and around the sink.  Mama’s lurching into the bathroom holding her head screaming for Emmy Lou to call 911, I’m bleeding to death, and she grabs me before I get a chance to tell her it was just where the iodine splashed when it broke, and I guess with all the screaming and hollering she just didn’t see the broken glass.  You wouldn’t think a little bitty cut would spurt like that--and what with Mama jumping and hollering and the cats trying to get out past Mama and finally clawing up her back and digging in and running sideways up the new wallpaper, and Emmy Lou shouting downstairs that she’s expecting an important call and besides she doesn’t know the number, and the cats hit Mama’s new white carpet running--you can see right where from the red tracks down the stairs--I can’t get a word in sideways.  What with dodging squalling cats, I get my feet all tangled up over Greedy Gut, rolling down the stairs right after him, landing on the hall carpet with the rest of the cats just as Papa opens the front door--he’s got about six hundred dollars worth of roses so Mama will let him back in the house--and he sticks his head around the flowers all smiley, takes one look, and turns right around and marches back down the walk and goes and sits in the car.  The cats make a beeline out the door right behind him and hit the side of the car and scramble through the window before Papa can get unstuck from the roses and roll it up.  Papa loves that car like a baby.  Mama says he’s got that white leather upholstery polished so slick she slides right off the seat when she hits the brakes.  Papa’s roaring and swatting cats with bunches of roses rolled up in green tissue paper and the cats spitting and yowling claw their way out over the car roof--Papa’s screaming “Don’t scratch the paint, don’t scratch the paint!”--and up and over Mr. Murphy’s fence setting off Mr. Murphy’s motion sensor siren and burglar alarm.

j.ward barnes
      Emmy Lou Calls 911  #2


Emmy Lou wanders out on the porch and announces to no one in particular that she thinks she got 911 the last time, and she’s pretty sure Mama’s dead in the bathroom and can she practice her CPR because she needs the points for Girl Guides, and can she have a new uniform to wear when she gets her medal?
The paramedics weren’t too happy about it all and Papa’s shouting about the bad word cats and to keep their bad word hands off of him, he was perfectly really bad effing word calm and didn’t need an effing word tranquilizer, and told the policeman he should be out catching real criminals and that this was not a domestic dispute but sure as hell was going to be just as soon as he got in the bad word house.  Mama’s hanging out the upstairs window in Papa’s pajama top and her new semi-transparent Victoria’s Secret silver teddy with all the feathers and iodine all over it telling Papa what he can do with his bad word roses, making finger signals at Papa with one hand--Mama says it’s a secret code that only grown people can use--and fending off a fireman with the other.  “She’s going to jump, Ralph!, she’s going to jump!   Get the net, get the net!”  And Papa says he hopes she breaks her two bad words neck.  Emmy Lou asks the paramedic if there’ll be a lot of blood? all excited and the cop slaps his hand over Emmy Lou’s mouth and asks Papa if he and the missus had considered family counseling?  And Papa slugs the cop and somebody finally shuts off Mr. Murphy’s burglar alarm.
In the sudden silence Papa and the cop stop rolling around in the nest of green tissue paper spilling out he side of the car and roses and iodine colored cats, and Mama snickers and fluffs up her feathers and tells Papa to act like a grown person and quit rolling around on the ground and to get up and come in the house and have a nice pork loin dinner, she had it all ready in the fridge, whereupon I tiptoe upstairs, being careful not to step where the cats tracked iodine on Mama’s new white carpet, and crawl out my bedroom window and up the drainpipe to the roof.
I hear the fridge door slam shut and Papa shouting and slamming the kitchen door and watch him stomp back down the walk and go sit in the car again.  I can hear Mama calling me in  that super sweet high voice she uses to get close enough to the cats to catch them to go get their shots.  The cats clamber up the roof from the other side and all six huddle down behind me, puzzled, because they just went to the vet’s last week, but being very good cats just in case.
I can hear Mama and Papa thrashing the tall weeds by the fence.  Mama’s calling me through gritted teeth by the sound of it, and I’m whispering through the bedroom window, pleading with Emmy Lou to call 911 before they think to look on the roof, but she says the fireman said she would go to prison for the rest of her natural life if she ever called 911 again and she had a Girl Guides meeting next week so she couldn’t very well go to prison, and besides Mama and Papa were still beating the bushes on the other side of the house, and slams the bedroom window shut.
                 j.ward barnes
Emmy Lou Calls 911 #3

The cats and me move up behind the chimney as a slow gentle rain starts to fall.  I want my dinner.  The cats swat each other and fuss and try to get the iodine off, giving me a lick now and then.  Papa’s voice floats up out of the darkness, “Kate, I swear to God they mixed up the babies--that is not my child!”  I think he means Emmy Lou--and Mama says “There always was something shady about your side of the family--my mother warned me,” and Papa says “what about dear old Uncle Bob who went around putting diapers on horses for God’s Sake? Just look at that car,” but Mama tells him to shut up and leave her family out of this and quit whining about the car, what about her new carpet? not to mention her new semi-transparent silver teddy from Victoria’s Secret? and to just get in the car and go down to White Castle and get the burgers and swing by Publix on the way home and pick up some cat food, she was getting low, and if the hardware was still open run in and get a first aid kit with a lock on it.  And Papa says he’s just going to get in the car and keep on going, and Mama says fine, either he takes the cats and me and Emmy Lou or she was going with him.  And Papa says to go back in the house and for God’s Sake quit traipsing around the front yard in that silver negligee thing and he’ll be a while because he’s going to run by the liquor store on his way home.
They’re out of cigarettes too, but I didn’t say anything.

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