The Soupster backs away from trouble.
The imposing Doris Capfield barreled into the city official’s office holding a map.
“It’s a land map,” she told the official. “I’ve got a big problem with my neighbors,” she said and the official gulped.
He knew about the three-generation-long feud between the Capfield family and their neighbors, the McCrorys. This was not the first time a member of one family or the other had been in the official’s office, not by a long shot. Neither family had ever resorted to outright violence against the other, but they had been creatively nasty at expressing their grudge over the years.
And the official was painfully aware that a predecessor had lost his job when he accidentally expressed a pro-McCrory sentiment at a public meeting and the Capfields just about ran him out of town.
The Soupster, who had come into the office a few seconds after Doris, read the scene instantly and backed silently away.
Doris spread her map out on the desk and motioned the official over. “These McCrory fellers – you know who I mean? – think they’re gonna build a fence on a property line that exists only in their mind. Their very demented mind.”
A quick glance at the map told the official that the McCrorys had the stronger case. And, deep down, Doris must have known that, too, because when the official started to tell her, she reared up on her hind legs and huffed, Mama Bear that she was.
The official groaned inaudibly.
“I want you to issue a “Stop Work’ order,” said Doris. “Send the Troopers if you have to. Send in the National Guard!”
“I don’t think there’s anything I can do to help you,” the official said.
“That’s what I thought you’d say,” Doris huffed again and the official thought he heard her mutter the word “weasel.” She angrily rolled up her map and looked like she might bop him with it.
Then Doris burst into tears.
“What is it, Mrs. Capfield?” asked the official.
“It’s my son, Lawrence,” she sobbed. “He’s been seeing the McCrory girl – Sarah?”
“He spends all his time with those… monsters!” she wailed. “Sarah is a nice girl, she can’t help who her family is. But he’s over there all the time. Lawrence, I mean.”
The official handed Doris a tissue.
“He’s going there for the Fourth of July! What if they get married?” Doris grabbed the official by the lapels. “What if they have a baby?!”
“A baby,” she said, tugging harder on his jacket. “My grandchild! What should I do? What advice would you give me?”
It took the official only a second to decide. He plucked the map out of Capfield’s hands and spread it out on his desk. “Now about this land issue,” he said. “We should definitely look at that again.”
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