It was a fine spring morning, a day just ripe for the picking, thought Hortense as she scooted her walker from a vantage point at her living room window to the kitchen, where she phoned her friend Gertrude.
“Gert? It’s ’Tense. There’s enough blue in the sky to make a pair of jeans. Call the girls and let’s take in the morning at the lake.”
• • •
It was 8:03 a.m. when Walter Winker eased behind the wheel of his patrol car. As an officer of the city’s Better Behavior Bureau, a branch of the Department of Fines for Fun, Winker loved his job enforcing the city’s ordinances dealing with the foibles of amusement abusing, helping people see the folly of their ways.
It was close to 8:45 a.m. when the last of the girls, Millicent, arrived at the lake; Hortense, Gertrude, Bertha and Mabel were already sitting on the dock’s bench when Officer Winker drove up.
“Lovely day, ladies,” said Winker, addressing the group. “But I’m afraid that the geese you’ve gathered about you number more than 12. According to our schedule down at the station, that means that one of you will have to exit the premises in order to be in compliance with the 4-to-1 ratio as outlined in our Anyone v. Animal Ordinance, subsection 3, Creature-to-Creature Decree.
“I’m sure you know it’s for your own good,” he added while waiting for the group to decide which one should leave.
“Oh, by the way, as a point of reference,” said Winker, pointing to Mabel, “I see you’re wearing a purplish red flowered print dress. Are you aware that such prints can attract bees?
“No? Well, some pretty smart folks are studying the science right now, and if it turns out such patterns lead to bee stings, the council will certainly draft an ordinance outlawing such a nuisance.
“Just thought I’d give you a heads-up, strictly for your own good.
“One last thing. Is that Indigo Blue Dye No. 2 you girls are using for rinse? Thought so. You may want to switch to Snappy Sapphire No. 6 or Astounding Azure No. 11 in the future.
“No, there’s no law against No. 2, but the jury’s still out and it might be in your own best interests if you go with No. 6 or No. 11. I’m just sayin’. ”
Hortense, her day that was once ripe for picking now perfectly plucked, opted to leave, bringing her friends into ordinance-ordered balance with the geese at hand. As she moved with her walker toward her car, she heard a throat clearing behind her.
“Ma’am,” Winker said, “I believe that front left caster on your walker could use some WD-40. We do have ordinances dealing with acceptable decibel levels for squeaky wheels. I’m sure you understand.
“After all, it is for your own good.”
Reach Bill Morem at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-7852.