Buzzt! Buzzt! I grab the vibrating smartphone from my desk. I’m supposed to be working on my book. I’m really playing computer games. Glancing at the caller’s name, I realize it’s my youngest daughter Lynn. She’s about to have my much wanted grandchild.
“Hey Sweetheart. What’s up?”
“The baby’s coming! I need you now.”
“Okay Honey, I’m on my way!”
“Hurry Mom, hurry!”
“Love you.” She hangs up. I knew it! I should have done my laundry yesterday. I’ll just throw it all in a garbage bag and roll.
Shutting the lid on the laptop, I hustle down the hall to the kitchen. Who can be left in charge while I’m gone? Lex, my gargoyle, with a tendency to burn things down? Bert the Goblin? He’d sell the place. Gramps, his dad? He’d sell the entire neighborhood. Molly, the Mother of Goblins? Molly will do. She’s doing a great job of keeping up the house with the help of her children Sid and Cheri.
Swinging around the corner, I arrive at the kitchen. “Molly. You’re in charge. Lynn is in labor and I have to leave right away for Michigan!”
She waves to Cheri, who runs for the basement door, reappearing moments later with my laundry clean and neatly folded. Sid bumps into me with my suitcase, which Cheri promptly fills and zips. I like these goblins.
“You best take the dog, Tootsie Too and Lester with you, good lady. Bert’s been mentioning recipes featuring dog and Gramps has been sharpening the sacrificial knife. He’s mumbling something about ensuring an easy delivery. The only thing stopping them is the thought of you.”
I turn to Lester, the goblin orphan, “Go get your stuff and meet me at the front door.”
I wrestle Toots into his harness and connect his leash. Lester hurries into view. All he has on is a pair of grey shorts. “You can’t go out in this weather like that! It’s fourteen degrees! Molly, doesn’t he have something warm to wear?”
“Not really, Mistress. Here are a few things that Sid has outgrown.” She hands them to Lester. “Put these on and be quick about it.” She shifts to look at me. “You be safe out there. Let us know how it all goes. May they come through in good health.” She’s pushing us toward the door. “Everything will be fine here while you’re gone. I’ll see to it.” Sid and Cheri have the door open and out we go.
“Well, okay then, I guess we’re off to Michigan.” Toots leads the way with Lester following us. Lex is on guard duty in the front garden with Bert and Gramps. I wonder if Molly has encouraged the gents to join the guardian gargoyle just to get them out of the house.
“Lex we’re off to Michigan. Lynn is having her baby. Molly is in charge and I expect you to back her up if these two start something, anything.” I point to Gramps and Bert. They look shocked that I would even think such a thing. “Toast their butts.” Lex nods solemnly and shoots a jet of flame at Bert. Gramps laughs. We hustle on our way.
Sweet Pea, my enchanted car, waits for us in the garage. That’s very odd. Usually, he’s running out in the driveway. I pop the trunk and load up the suitcase. I fasten Tootsie’s leash to the back seat belts and buckle Lester into the front passenger seat. I settle into the driver’s place. Making sure the doors are all closed, I touch the ignition and nothing happens.“Sweet Pea we have to roll. Lynn’s having her baby! I’ve got to be there for her. Now is not the time to get all crappy.” The car remains dead. “I don’t have the time for you to be all pouty. Everybody out! We’re taking Al’s SUV.” Sweet Pea’s engine turns over and he backs out of the garage. I should have sold him years ago when he broke down instead of casting that spell on him.
Tootsie Too huffs in my ear from where he stands on the console. I give his head a pat. We’re on our way.
The radio switches on playing the latest hits and I begin to sing along. Tootsie howls in time. We are rocking down the road, dancing and having a fine time.
Then I look over at Lester. He’s watching us with huge, deep brown eyes. The clothes he’s wearing are way too big and have holes in all the wrong places. He’s shivering. I crank up the heat. He cannot go to Michigan dressed like this. He’ll freeze solid before we get there. “Sweet Pea, we need to stop at the store to get Lester some clothes.”
We pull into the parking lot of a big box store. “Climb into my purse, Lester. Tootsie stay here and watch Sweet Pea. Don’t let him drive off without us.”
I grab a shopping cart and plunk my purse in the toddler seat. Leaning close to my bag I whisper, “Lester, I’ll hold the clothes close to you and you nod your head if you want them and shake ‘no’ if you don’t.” We need to hurry this up. Babies won’t wait for their grandmother to get there. I grab some things and wave them over the purse. Lester nods yes to everything.
Baby shoes fits his feet perfectly. I know because I have him stick a foot out and I try one on him.
A woman passing by sees his burgundy foot waving around in the air, “What is that? Where did you find it? My granddaughter would love something like that. They do the most remarkable things these days with robotics.”
Finally, we’re back at the car and on the road.
Tootsie huffs at me and starts whining. What now? We are never going to get to Detroit Michigan. “Sweet Pea, I think he wants something. Find a place where he can get out and pee.” The car pulls into a fast food restaurant and taxis to the intercom for the drive up. The dog is hungry. Okay. I missed that. I order a ham sandwich and fries for me. Chicken bits for Toots. What do goblins eat? Is it all right to feed them meat? If I feed him, will he turn into a monster? If I don’t feed him, will he turn into a monster? “What would you like to eat Lester?”
“Burger with cheese, fries and a chocolate shake, please.” Where is he going to put all of this? He’s so tiny! Well maybe Toots can help him.
We return to rocking it down the road. The miles flash past on I-94 bringing us closer to Lynn and the baby. The sun is sinking behind us, a ball of red fire as we enter the state of Michigan. We will be there soon, honey. Mom is coming.
Passing the 159 exit, I see red lights flashing and Sweet Pea pulls over to the side of the road. I look at the speedometer. ”Were you speeding car? How could you be speeding? What were you thinking!” The car goes stone dead. I can see the cop, all ego, strutting towards me in the side view mirror. ”I’m sorry! I’m sorry! You are wonderful and beautiful and we have to get
to Detroit.” The car starts. The officer taps at my window. The crank handle turns, lowering the glass beside me. “Hi, Officer, how can I help you?”
“Ma’am, turn off the car.” Of course, Sweet Pea obeys him. “Do you have any idea why I pulled you over? I’m going to need you to show me your license and registration.”
“We weren’t speeding, were we?”
“No ma’am. You seem to be having quite the dance party in there with your hands off the steering wheel for the last five miles. Are you aware that it is illegal to drive with your knees?”
“I’m sorry, Officer.”
“License and registration.”
Lester reaches for the glove compartment to take out the registration. I think I renewed it last fall.
“Stop right there! Freeze! What’s that on the front seat?” He speaks into the microphone on his right shoulder while pointing at Lester, a pint sized goblin with remarkably large ears and a pointy snout much like a bat. “I need backup at the 162 mile marker.”
“It’s just a toy for my new grandchild. My daughter is in labor and I have to get to Detroit.” I try an innocent look on him.
“What?” He snarls, “How do I know you’re not smuggling illegal animals?”
“Seriously? Do I look like an illegal animal smuggler? Maybe I’m a just a spell weaver and the car died about a hundred thousand miles ago, so, I enchanted it to run on its own. So I don’t need hands on the steering wheel. Also there might be this reflection spell that causes harm to anyone who tries to hurt me. So back off or be sorry.”
“Get out of the car!” He talks into the mike again. “I think we’ve got some kind of delusional paranoia going on here.” he gestures at me with his hand to move faster.
I slowly unfold from Sweet Pea’s driver’s seat. My arthritis makes me stiff, especially in the cold. “Hands in the air! Hurry up!” The officer moves to place a hand on my arm.
“Don’t.” I warn him.
He does anyway and the spell kicks in. He shoots straight up. Back flips several times and lands in the median on his butt. At least there’s no traffic to witness this.
He pulls his gun.
I tell him, ”Do not point that at me.”
He does anyway. It smacks him in the face and he goes down – out cold.
A number of police cars arrive with all their lights going. The cops surround my car. “Where’s Officer Anderson?”
I point to the median. “He’s very strange. Seemed to think I was holding a dance party in my car. Told me I was driving without my hands on the wheel for five miles. Anyway, he ran to the median, pulled out his gun and smacked himself in the head with it. Is he a bit overworked? Maybe he should get some rest.” I indicate my car. “Is it all right if, I just go on my way? My daughter is having a baby and I have to get there.”
“Yes ma’am. Sorry about this.”
They start to get him up on his feet. He waves his hands and gesticulates in my direction, yelling something about a witch. I shrug and give them a “see what I mean” look. Actually, I prefer “spell weaver.” Witch brings up images of pointy hats and warts.
I climb into the driver’s seat of Sweet Pea and we pull out onto the road. We are traveling right at the speed limit and the radio is playing funeral dirges.
Finally! We turn the corner on Lynn’s street and park in front of the house. I free myself from Sweet Pea and make my way up the walk. I pull open the front door and then step into her home.
“Oh hi, Mom! Wow you got here fast. You didn’t speed, did you? Have to watch out for this one crazy cop on I-94 around the 159 exit.” Lynn greets me coming from the kitchen.
“You’re all right?”
“Yeah. It was just false labor. Doc says I have at least another week to go. Who’s that?” She is smiling down at Lester holding out a hot cup of tea to me. “He’s adorable!”