Here is another one of my short stories that will be in my book called Shirley’s Short’s and Flashes. Getting this new house done with the remodling is taking a big chunk of my time, so I hope you don’t mind my short stories. Have a great evening. Until next time. Shirley
Mrs. Tipton didn’t lock her door, but it wasn’t a problem. No one in the area locked their doors in 1985. Scipio, Oklahoma wasn’t on a main road; the community sat fifteen miles north of highway 270 on a black top road. You had to be heading there know about the place.
The one-room store was the front room of an old house. The other five rooms are where Mrs. Tipton lives. The house had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and bathroom. The old outhouse still stood out by the barn. It was still used occasionally, if the electricity went out, since it shut off the pump for the water supply. There was a beautiful red crepe myrtle bush in full bloom at this time of year. Mrs. Tipton had planted the bush when she and her husband moved into their store/home, in 1930.
Built in 1929 the one-room store and home was clapboard with wood floors, and one room. The outside front had two rock pillars holding up the covering for the two gas pumps. The pumps were old enough you still went inside to pay for your gas.
Mrs. Tipton was not much on decorating, but she did believe in living clean and being comfortable. Handmade quilts were on the chairs and couch. The quilts had similar colors, but they didn’t match. They suited her taste and lifestyle well.
The quilting frame hung on the living room ceiling until last year. Over the years, Mrs. Tipton brought the frame down three times a week, to work on her projects. She made many a bed covering over the years, using that frame. Sometimes her daughter would visit and help her quilt, but most of the time it would be just her.
She used to make butter, and sell it in the store, but she had to get rid of her Jersey cow, because she couldn’t milk her. Selling the cow and removing her quilting frame was emotionally difficult for Mrs. Tipton, but her arthritis was so bad; she couldn’t do the handwork she once did.
Tom, who was Mrs. Tipton’s husband of fifty-two years, died two months ago from a heart attack. Mrs. Tipton’s world crashed around her after her husband died. Being a strong countrywoman, with an even stronger faith, she buried her husband, and went back to running the store. Her son and daughter tried to convince her to close the store and move in with one of them. She refused, and nothing said or done could change her mind.
She’s lived in the clapboard house, and ran the store for over fifty years. She told her children she wouldn’t leave her house until they carried her out feet first. Besides, everyone in town knew her. If she needed anything, someone would help her. The place wasn’t even locked up at night, because she felt so secure no one would bother her. In the fifty years of running the store, not a thing had left the store without permission. She was proud of her little community, and the people who lived there.
When she and her husband first opened the store, they had a booming business. It took to long to get to McAlester by horseback or wagon, so almost all the store purchases made by the people of Scipio was at Tipton’s Grocery. Over the years, business decreased due to better transportation. It didn’t make the Tipton’s any difference. Scipio was their home, and they weren’t going anywhere. They just made the best of their situation.
Four months went by, with life as usual. Mrs. Tipton got up at 6:00 AM every day and turned on the front lights, so everyone knew the store was open. Every once in a while, someone would come in, and buy a coke and peanuts for the drive into work, or buy gas to get to work. Now bread and milk are sold most of the time. Kids bought lots of candy, and she always gave the “bad for your teeth” lecture, every time they bought it. The kids thought she was a funny old woman, but everyone loved her. On a late fall night, two boys drove past the store. The lights were off, so the boys knew the store was closed for the night. These boys weren’t from Scipio. They’d been driving around, and accidentally found the community. They turned around and drove back by the store a couple of times, trying to decide if they were going to stop, and what they were going to do. The two boys were high on cocaine, and they didn’t care about anything, except getting money to buy more dope.
They pulled up to the side of the grocery store slowly, with their lights off. They didn’t want the gravel parking area to alert anyone they were around the house. The lights being off gave the boys an easy opportunity to walk around and not be seen. The road didn’t have any traffic on it, so interruptions by traffic wasn’t a problem. Brain could jimmy a lock, so he went to the front door. He removed the bell from the screen door, so it wouldn’t make any noise. He tried the doorknob, and to his surprise, the door opened. He motioned to his friend to follow him, “come on Sam hurry up, and be quiet. We need to find the cash register.”
“Brian, I don’t think this is a real good idea. What if we get caught?”
“Shut up, we’re not going to get caught. Besides I have my insurance with me”
They looked around in the dark for the cash register. When they found it, and got the drawer opened, it made a loud digging noise. They hurriedly started stuffing the small amount they found into their pockets. They had to get out of the store, before they were caught.
A light came on, and Mrs. Tipton stepped out into the hall, and called out, “Who’s there?”
Brain pulled a gun from his pocket and shot her. He had no intention of going to jail. Mrs. Tipton immediately fell to the floor, with her life’s blood running out around her.
The boys, ran from the store, and drove away in their car. No one knew about the robbery, or the shooting. At 6:00 AM, the store lights didn’t come on. People drove by, curious about why the lights weren’t on. It was unusual, because they were on every morning, for as long as anyone in the community could remember.
One of the community women entered the store to get milk at 10:00 AM, and noticed the cash register open. She walked around the counter, and spotted Mrs. Tipton on the floor in a pool of blood. She called 911 from her cell phone.
Tipton’s Grocery closed, and Mrs. Tipton left her home, feet first, just as she wished.