Mindy knew there was going to be trouble when she saw Miss Hepston's car out front. Miss Hepston hated everyone in the neighborhood, especially kids. Especially Mindy's kids, it seemed. Knowing how much she despised him seemed to encourage Mindy's son Randy to think of new ways to annoy her. The old lady got out of her Chevy Citation. "This time that boy has gone too far!" she said, spitting, "He got a water hose and drenched me while I was washing my car. I've warned him before to stay away. I've warned you to warn him!"
"Ms. Hepston," Mindy began, "how do you know it was one of my kids? Our water hose couldn't reach over to your home, and ....."
"I caught little Randy red-handed Mrs. Pratterman. He's in my car right now."
That seemed unlikely. Randy would never have stood still for the old lady, let alone climbed into her car. "I don't see him. How did you get him in there?" asked Mindy
"I put him in there. He's there now, sleeping. Go see."
Mindy hesitated-- Miss Hepston was unpleasant at best, and possibly a psychopath. Still, if Randy was in there, she needed to get him out. She would check, but from a safe distance. When she got to the car, she saw there was a baby seat in the back, with a baby sleeping in it.
"You said Randy would be in here. Where is he?" she demanded.
Miss Hepston cackled. "Don't you recognize him? Look at the little fellow's clothes, dear."
Randy had left that morning in a green golf shirt and jeans, and his favorite Rams hat-- and the baby was dressed exactly the same, right down to tiny little Nike shoes.
"This is ridiculous," Mindy began, waking the baby, "that you expect me to believe that...."
"Mom!" the baby shouted. "Mom, it's me! Get me out of this thing!" he said, tugging at the belts on the car seat.
"Your little boy got me soaked, and he called me an old hag. So I gave him something to think about for a week. Maybe being old isn't so bad, little fellow, eh?"
"Seven days?!" yelled the baby.
Mindy reached in and opened the car seat, lifting the baby out and protecting him. "I'm taking this baby to my house and I'm calling the police on you!"
"Call the police, then. They'll whisk the little fellow off to foster care. You know, I brought him to you as a favor."
"Please mom! She's serious!" the baby pleaded. He was pretty articulate for an infant.
"Randy? Honey is that really you?"
"Yes it's me! Do something!"
"If you still don't believe me, compare his face to your son's baby photos. Talk to him. Of course, if you don't want to take care of him, I can certainly understand why you wouldn't want this brat in your care. Good bye now."
"Wait! Where are you going?" Mindy yelled, then added, "You can change him back after seven days? Can't you? You said that!"
But Mrs. Hepzbah laughed and drove away.
Mindy looked at the baby in her arms. "Randy, you've really done it this time!" she said.
----TO BE CONTINUED---