By: Terry D. Scheerer

The Minion nodded and turned to the door, then began to slowly change into a dark cloud of mist which drifted toward the key hole. As Cummings watched, fascinated, the mist disappeared completely through the small hole in the door. Once it was all gone, there was a slight clank of metal outside the door, and then a soft knock.

“Who’s there?” Cummings asked.

“It’s me, Cecil,” someone responded from the other side of the door. “I got him.”

“Come on in, Archie.”

The door opened and another old man entered the room, although this one was only in his early seventies. He carried a quart size canning jar with a metal lid on it in one hand. Within the jar a dark mist slowly swirled around.

“Ahh, nice work there, Archie,” Cummings said. “Just put it on the shelf with the others.”

“Right you are, Cecil,” Archie said, and gently placed the jar on a low shelf alongside five other jars, all of which contained a slowly swirling mist.

“So, you got my message all right, then?” Cummings asked as Archie gazed at the growing collection of jars.

“Aye, that I did,” Archie said and turned back to Cecil with a smile. “Three raps of yer cane on the floor, clear as a bell.”

“Good, good,” Cummings said with a sigh. “I wonder if they’re ever going to stop coming after me?”

“Ah, well, you know how bureaucratic administrators can be about paperwork,” Archie said with a chuckle. “But, as long as we have a goodly supply of canning jars on hand, we can deal with anything they send along, eh?”

“Yes, yes, I suppose we can,” Cummings agreed with a lingering look at the jars of swirling mist.

“Well, g’night then, Cecil,” Archie told him as he headed toward the door. “I’ll see ya at breakfast, tomorrow.”

“Right, right, and thanks again,” Cecil said and waved his cane at Archie as the door closed, then turned his attention back to the television. “It’s a B you moron, not a T!” Cummings grumbled. “The phrase is, ‘A bird in the hand…’ not…oh, why do I even bother?”


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