It all started when Ilene Wilson showed up at Dominoes Club saying that her husband, Ralph, had been taken away by an Accidental Invasion.
“I have never heard tell of such!” exclaimed Aunt Agnes, giving me a sharp look over her dominos. Aunt Agnes had been worried about our neighbor, Ilene, ever since she found out she had been taking Nervous Pills, you know, for her nerves and all.
“I think those things have got her,” Aunt Agnes whispered to me as I put a domino on the table.
Ilene and Ralph had been our neighbors now for goin’ on four years. Truthfully, I was pretty sure I had seen Ralph slip out of the building a few times getting on the casino bus going over to Oklahoma to gamble. Ilene would have skinned him alive if she knew he was over there wasting money.
“So Ilene, what exactly is an accidental invasion?”
“They didn’t mean to invade us. They were supposed to go three doors down. Ralph said he would show them…”
“Ilene, honey who are they?”
“Those men. That crew with the green shirts…”
“Oh, okay,” I replied.
Aunt Agnes clicked her tongue and checked her domino hand. The other ladies looked at her in suspense. What exactly could be in Aunt Agnes’ domino hand? Who were the men in green shirts? Would Ralph come back in time for choir practice? Why was Ilene taking nerve pills?
Aunt Agnes smiled. “Don’t you worry none, honey. I’m sure it’s all a big mistake. Nobody would even want Ralph.” She winked at me and laughed lightly. Of course, I knew that Aunt Agnes really wasn’t kidding. She didn’t like Ralph. I saw the building secretary come into the snack bar.
“Excuse me,” there’s Lucy. I needed to ask her a question. She was wearing her Fries Before Guys t-shirt from the local burger joint.
“Lucy, by chance has the landscaping crew been here?”
“Why yes, they have been tree trimming outside, why?”
“Oh, I see. Do you think they may have borrowed Ralph?”
“Oh, I don’t know…” I said.
A few minutes later, Ralph came strolling in and smiling like someone who was never abducted.
“Oh there you are!” exclaimed Ilene.
“Why yes,” he responded.
Aunt Agnes looked at him shrewdly. “We thought you were lost.”
“Oh no, the landscapers asked for my opinion on placing the pansies,” said Ralph.
“Well, that’s good,” I replied.
“See there. No aliens or bad guys either, Ilene,” said Aunt Agnes.
“Don’t you remember, Ilene?” asked Ralph.
“I kinda do now. I think I must have been dozing when you left. Maybe I dreamt it…” she said slowly.
“Look at the time, we should be going,” said Aunt Agnes laying down her dominos. She tugged at my elbow. “Jillie here is going to make Trudy a Facebook. Just like that little Norbie dog. I think Trudy is gonna be famous!” she said.
I gave her a short smile. “Now, Aunt Agnes, there’s lots of cute little dogs out there.”
“Well none of them are like her. She’s one of a kind!” Aunt Agnes is like that, once she gets something in her head…