From Belle Books, June 2003
For more information, check out www.bellebooks.com
Copyright © 2003 Anne
Bishop. Used with permission.
Tweedle Dee was a terrific companion, but he was a lousy navigator, which is why we ended up in Georgia
on our way to South Carolina.
It was late in the afternoon when, shaky and finally admitting that we were very very lost, I passed
a white corn silo with the words "ain't going nowhere and don't want to" painted on it. It made me smile
and gave my heart a little lift. I was still smiling when I drove into Mossy Creek and found a place
to park near Mama's All You Can Eat Cafe.
I got out of the car, not sure if my leg muscles were going to stretch all the way after driving for so
long, and looked around. The town square was an enticing bit of green, and I spotted a bench. Now if Mama's
provided takeout, I'd be all set. I'd been living on takeout since we'd left Nadine's simply because it
was a whole lot warmer down south at that time of year than it was in western New York, and I couldn't
leave Tweedle Dee locked in the car while I went inside someplace to eat. I had these horrible visions
of coming out after an hour and finding baked budgie. But I really needed to eat, so I went inside, hoping
I could get something to go.
I could, and did, along with a large Coke for me, a small cup of water for Tweedle, and a copy of The Mossy Creek
As I stared at the passenger door while Tweedle Dee made his cht cht cht scoldy noise because I was doing nothing when
I obviously should have been doing something, I realized I had a slight problem.
“Need a hand?” a male voice asked
That was exactly what I needed, but there I was, feeling limp and looking wilted, and there he was,
wearing that nice uniform with a badge pinned on it.
“The square's a nice place to have a bite to eat.”
“That's what I thought,” I muttered.
cht cht cht!
“Doesn't sound like he wants to be left behind.” There was laughter in that voice.
I sighed quietly, handed over the food and the Gazette, got Tweedle Dee out
of the car, and followed the officer to the bench in the square, with Tweedle
chirping at the top of his little
lungs to let the whole town know he had arrived.
I put Tweedle's cage on the bench, took my lunch and paper from the nice officer, and set that on the bench too.
Feeling awkward, I smiled at the man who was still watching me. “Thanks for your help, officer.”
“Chief, actually,” he said. “I'm Amos Royden, Chief of Police here in Mossy Creek.” He looked at me expectantly.
“I'm Laurie Grey.”
cht cht cht!
“And that's Tweedle Dee.”
I thought I detected a twinkle in Chief Royden's eyes as he said, “Hey, Tweedle Dee.”
Tweedle hopped from perch to bars, studied the man who was studying him, and said, “Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle
Dee is me.” Then the scolding started in earnest.
“Hush!"” I said sternly. "“You'll get your french fry.”
Yep, there was a definite twinkle in those eyes. The man probably thought I was a lunatic. Or, at the very least,
eccentric. Couldn't blame him. Right about then, I was wondering about me too.
“Welcome to Mossy Creek, Ms. Grey,” Chief Royden said. “Hope you enjoy your visit.”
“I'm sure I will,” I replied, trying a smile I hoped made me look like a normal person.
I breathed a sigh of relief when he went away, then settled down to my meal. Before Tweedle could start up again and
possibly get us arrested for disturbing the peace, I broke open a french fry, blew on it to cool it off so he wouldn't
burn his tongue, and slipped it into the treat dish.
As we ate, I looked around--and felt the tightly coiled tension inside me ease.
Have you ever gone to a place you'd never been before and recognized, on some level, that you'd come home?
As I looked around, that's what occurred to me. I'd come home.
I opened the Gazette and began scanning the pages for an ad for a bed and breakfast or an inn or someplace I could
stay that wouldn't object to my having a fluffy blue roommate.
Sometimes Fate just takes you by the hand. I did find an ad for the Hamilton Inn, but I also found a small notice about
a cottage for rent, fully furnished. The notice said to call Mac Campbell and gave a phone number. I flipped back to the
front page to check the paper's date. Today. Maybe...
I stuffed the debris from our meal into a nearby trash receptacle, grabbed
the paper and Tweedle Dee, stuffed him back in the car, then went into the
cafe to use the pay phone. Yes, the cottage was still available, and Mac
Campbell would meet me in an hour to take me over and show
me the place.
I had an hour to kill, so I retrieved Tweedle Dee, tossed the paper in the car, and the two of us took a stroll. So
what if people noticed that I was walking down Main Street carrying a budgie in a cage? I'd just be that eccentric
Well, people did notice--hard not to with Tweedle happily chirping at the whole world. I just hadn't been in town long
enough to realize that little stroll had pretty much assured my welcome in the Mossy Creek community.