Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The prompt this week was Groundhog’s Day. The story needed to take place on or around Groundhog’s Day and include the word ‘salad’. Here’s my offering, and I hope you enjoy a day in the life of Bud and Jimbo.


“What? You need to wait for what? You know, Jimbo, I’ve put up with all your superstition crap since forever, but this is too much. You want to wait to hit that bank until what happens?”

Bud knew he’d regret asking for an explanation. He always did because Jimbo always gave him one. But, like slowing down as you drive by a train wreck to see what’s what, some things you just gotta know.

Jimbo shook his head and took a deep breath. It was really sad that some people fail to recognize the critical importance of signs. Considering all he and Bud had been through and considering the signs had always pointed them in the right direction, Jimbo couldn’t understand his judgment being questioned each and every time.

“Bud, Bud, Bud,” he began. “Like I told you, we need to wait to find out if he sees his shadow or not. Tomorrow is Groundhog’s Day, so we only have to wait until morning. If the groundhog sees his shadow, we skip this one because it will all go wrong. If the groundhog doesn’t see it, not only will we have an early spring, but you and I will score big and walk away clean. It’s a sign we need to wait for. You always need to wait for the signs.”

Bud had to admit Jimbo had been right in the past, even though the ‘signs’ he looked for were beyond weird. The broken weather vane in Summerville meant the sheriff’s car would stall out on the way to the store they were robbing. Check. The beer Bud had spilled at that tavern in Grantsberg meant the construction crew’s payroll was going to be rerouted to the next county due to last minute changes in the company’s structure. Check. The list went on and on. Jimbo came up with the most unbelievable reasoning, but so far, he’d always been right. But Groundhog’s Day? How long would Jimbo’s odd luck hold out? This town was a speck, where no one locked their doors and the bank had two employees and no guard. There would be no million dollar payload, but money was money, and all they had left was enough for tonight’s dinner and one more tank fill-up.

“Jimbo, this is different. It’s as sure as sure gets. A pudgy little man’s the bank pres and his pudgy little wife is the teller. We could probably walk in right now and clean them out, but I’m willing to wait till midnight when this whole town is snug in their pudgy little beds. But, that’s all I’m waiting for this time. Sometimes, Jimbo, you gotta trust your gut, and this time, I trust mine. If you want out, I’ll pick you up here at the motel when I’m done, but understand, the whole score’s mine then, agreed?”

Jimbo was never one to make waves, and he certainly didn’t want to create a rift with his long-time friend and partner. Something just didn’t feel right about going early on this one, but maybe this time, he could trust Bud’s gut.

“I’m with you,” he said. “Midnight. It will be fun though to find out tomorrow whether or not the groundhog actually saw his shadow, won’t it?”

Bud nodded. Yeah. Fun.

“Let’s go grab some chow and then sleep till close to twelve.”

“Great idea,” Jimbo responded. “But, whatever you do, don’t order any salad. The news anchor this morning had a stain on his tie and that means the local lettuce crop has been tainted.”

Okay, Bud thought, I’ll give you this last one. Cottage cheese and a peach it will be.

* * * * * *

As they were being handcuffed and led to the squad car, Jimbo was crying and Bud had another ‘gotta know’ moment. He looked at the pudgy little man hob-knobbing with the State police who had been waiting for them when they broke in the bank a few minutes after midnight.

“I heard you say you got a tip the bank was going to be hit at midnight. I want to know who tipped you. I sure plan to pay him a visit.”

The State cop pushed him toward the car.

“Watch your mouth, tough guy. Don’t be making threats. You’re already in deep enough.”

“You’d better not come near Horatio,” the bank president was trembling and moved slowly behind the policeman. “When the wife and I got home last evening and saw him laying that way, we knew we had to alert the authorities of the impending attempt to loot our modest vault.”

Bud’s gut told him to stop while he was ahead, but he dove in headfirst just the same.

“Horatio? Who’s that? Laying how? Where? What are you talking about?”

“My Horatio,” the man continued from his perceived position of safety. He’s the conductor figurine of my model railroad set and I keep him on our mantle when the train’s not running. He was laying on the carpet in front of the fireplace, pointing toward my wife’s shadowbox. It’s new and has twelve empty slots. That sign meant someone would try to rob our bank at midnight that very same night. You do see that, don’t you? You must be able to read the signs.”

Bud saw Jimbo wipe his eyes and nod. ‘Signs,’ he heard Jimbo mumble. ‘Signs’. Without waiting for the news, Bud knew at least six more weeks of a cold hard winter were waiting just for him. Six. At least. Bud knew how to read the signs.


  1. Great story!

    This story sent a serious chill down my spine. See while various people claim to have psychic powers my grandmother somehow knew when things were going to happen. Nothing spectacular, just normal stuff like a cousin calling or someone coming over to her house.

    As a kid I asked how she knew these things and all she said was, "I saw the signs." Yeah, there is a reasonable explanation but given the circumstances you'd have to been there to know she did not receive any letters or phone calls before hand.

  2. Thanks much, Beach! So glad you enjoyed it. I know exactly what you mean. My grandmother on my father's side had what everyone back then called the 'evil eye'. She knew this and she knew that, but being isolated on their farm as she was, it was tough to figure out where she got her info. I don't know if there's much of that anymore--kids today just don't know how it used to be. But, when I was a kid, there was always someone in your family with the 'eye', evil or otherwise. Creepy, but great material for stories, that's for sure!