The Psycho

The Psycho

A Story by texasjane

My reputation took off in town.

When the phone rings in my house, Precious is the first one to the phone, followed by Sweet Pea and hopefully followed by me.  The dogs do not answer it, but they do get excited because they know I am up and the race has started.  Once I get there I pat everyone on their respective heads, a tickle behind the ear will ensure they let me know the next time the phone is ringing.  Sometimes when I watch TV in the bedroom I do not hear the phone in the office.  If I am playing music in the kitchen... again I do not hear the phone.

I do not have very good mobility sometimes.  While I am watching a movie my feet frequently go to sleep.  I have to stomp a minute to wake them up before I can start walking.  I no longer run for anything, especially the phone.  I have an answering machine to catch the calls that cannot wait for me to get there.  I also have learned the caller ID also says, ROBO caller now.  I always glance at it before answering the phone.  Due to our worldwide “stay home” recommendations I have gotten more phone calls than usual.  I used to get drop ins  a lot though. My friends know all this and will just leave a message for me to call them.  Anyway, the phone race happens more frequently now.

I had not gotten to the phone before the machine picked up the call.  It was the chief of police.  He is a dear friend of mine and the one who gave me Precious.  Most of my volunteer assignments come through him, so I hurried just a bit more when I heard his voice.  I put the phone on speaker, so I could pat heads, scratch ears and talk on the phone at the same time.  I forgot to mention this is one blonde that knows how to multitask.... Anyway, he had two complaints.  One came from our neighborhood gossip.  She was all upset because she saw me in the backyard without a face mask on and felt I should receive a reprimand.  The second complaint was about my lawn, which once again needed to be cut.  I told the chief I had purchased a new lawn mower with part of my stimulus check and I would also call my neighbor for him.

You have to be very careful when you call someone who is known for carrying tales and for gossiping.  I apologized to her for not putting on a face mask to burn trash in my burn barrel.  I did not realize that her house, which was well over a hundred yards from mine, was in any danger from my behavior.  I then asked her how far six feet looked to her?  I had to giggle a little inside.  She said, “Six feet has nothing to do with it, when you are outside you are supposed to have a face mask covering your nose and mouth.”  Then the conversation went a little crazy.

Then out of the blue, I asked her, “Did you used to be a hall monitor in school?”
“Jane, how did you know that?  Are you one of those psychos who knows the future and the past?  Do you talk to dead people?  Oh, my, I had no idea.  Please forgive me for saying anything, Jane.  Can you tell me where my mother hid her money box?  She died ten years ago, and I am still looking for it.  We have been on this lock down, so I decided I would start looking again.  Please talk to my mom and let me know.” I was once again reminded that she had a limited education.  To her psycho and psychic are the same.  I started to correct her but got side tracked by the speed at which she created her own version of what she heard.

The excitement in her voice was nothing compared to the speed at which she talked.  Her imagination, however, was the winner of any race.  I never has seen how she developed  her gossip so quickly.  My mistake came when I made a joke out of it.  I had remembered her once mentioning that the last thing her mom did before she died was to put in the raised flower bed around the front porch.

“If it were me, I would bury it under the right corner of the raised bed she put in ten years ago.”  I laughed at myself for spouting off so.  “You really, do work fast, Wow...”  “Click”  She hung up on me.  I looked out the window and sure enough she was out there with a shovel digging up the corner of the raised bed.  It would have been fine if she had not found the locked box with her mother's money in it.  As I watched her jumping up and down and dancing in her front yard, I noticed one thing........... She was outside without her face mask.  The tattle tale in me took the bait. 

I called the Chief and told him.  I also told him about my conversation with her. He got a chuckle out of it.  I did not have to wait long before I watched him pay her a visit.  That is not the half of it.  Now, my phone is ringing off the wall. Everyone wants to talk to the psycho.... All this because I did not put on my mask. Never again.

Could things get worse?  You tell me.  I have no doorbell.  The dogs started barking at the front door.  I peeked out the window and saw a young boy on the porch.  I closed the dogs off and opened the door, remembering to keep a six-foot distance and holding a paper towel over my nose and mouth.  The kid looked like he was anywhere from ten to twelve.  He asked if he could mow my grass.

I asked about the money.  I also told him I had a brand-new mower that was still in the box.  It was a rechargeable electric mower.  I said it runs for one hour on my charge.  If you can get the front and the back done in that time I will pay you for all of it today.  If not... mow the back first.  I will pay you half the money today.  Then when you come back you can finish, and I will pay you the rest.  Then I dug my hole a little deeper.... “First, you need to start in the backyard by gathering all the dead animal parts.” 

His eyes got huge.  He looked over the backyard.  I had dog bones scattered all over it.  I buy them from Walmart, but they are beef and pork femur and knuckle bones. The dogs love them. He gazed back and forth. His mouth got bigger and bigger.  I thought he was going to step on his lower lip.  He started huffing and puffing, unable to speak.  “Oh, No, Lady.  Granny was right.  You are a psycho. That is why you have those two big dogs.  I bet you eat kids too.  I have seen them over here before.”

I started laughing. I was so surprised at what he was saying.  “Who is your Granny?

You guessed it... the tattle tale.  I tried to tell him I bought them at Walmart, but he was too excited.  He ran all the way to his Granny's house, waving his hands like I had just threatened to boil him in oil.

I heard the phone ringing.  I heard the chief laughing. Then I put on the speakerphone as I petted heads, scratched behind ears, and explained to the chief that I did not have dead animals all over my yard or any kids buried under my house.

I then did some prayer.  How was I going to stop this.  It all seemed so ridiculous to be real.  Then it came to me.  I knew from all my psychology training that the only reason she told her tales was to feel important and to get people to notice her. I decided to make a calculated risk.

At this point I was not sure if I could make things worse.  I got online and printed out an instruction manual for beginning writers.  Since I am new to writing I have done a lot of reading on the subject.  I put my gift together with a list of publishers and websites.  I then proceeded to make a visit... complete with face mask… To my neighborhood tattle tale.

I started out by complimenting her on how well she had created such an adventuresome story when we talked the other day.  I told her that I had mentioned her to a couple of professionals, and they said they also agreed with me.  You are very talented.  You should be writing stories.  With the way your mind works you could be the next Steven King.  I gave her my print-outs all wrapped up with ribbon.  She was so pleased that I thought she was that smart.  “I'm not smart enough for all that.”  She said and started to object.  Then I said... “That is what editors are for.  You just need to get some of those wonderful stories on paper.  You made up that one about me.  Even though not one word of it was true it made a great story.  You need to share your stories with the world.  When I said that she grabbed my gift from my hands and gave me a big hug.  “I am going to start right now.”  She almost shoved me out the door.

I glanced in her picture window as I crossed the street.  She was dancing and waving her hands in the air. She kissed the stack of papers in her hands and ran out of the room.

Have I unleashed a tattle tale upon the world?  I think I did the kindest thing I could.  I discovered the joy of writing a year ago.  Why would I not share that with someone?  The gossip in town may be slowed down.  However,  I fear the difference between psycho and psychic may never be the same for one little gossip.

© 2021 texasjane

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Despite all the assumptions, stereotyping, and taking things too far, something good seems to have come from it all. I at first thought the neighborhood gossip might be like one I once knew, but it turns out that yours is way worse.
Something you said causes me to think you desire constructive criticism of your work. I can do that, but experience has taught me to tread oh so cautious in that regard. Too many times, I've offended writers by being too honest. Keep in mind that I have no degrees and little formal education--nothing that makes me an authority. Just an amateur writer who tries to do his best--that's what I am. Also, I put the highest value on honesty and truth.
I "get" your writing. Our age, culture, and geography are very similar, so that's a big part of it. You're a natural storyteller who no doubt has entertained many over the years, and that's a marvelous thing. It's a gift. Can your writing be better? I think so, just as I think mine could be better, too. I think you've said you're fairly new to writing. If so, we all get progressively better with practice.
Okay, for what it may be worth--I think you should try to make things more believable. Like the bones in the back yard--that's a great idea, but more development would make it better. Don't call the bones in the backyard "animal parts", and allow yard boy to discover them on his own, reacting wildly on an erroneous assumption. Readers can accept some pretty far-out scenarios, but you must do your best to present it to them in a way they'll swallow without thinking.
Now, you keep spinning these yarns.

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 Years Ago

Oh, thank you so much. How cleaver. You are correct, it would have been more fun if the kid found .. read more

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1 Review
Added on April 18, 2021
Last Updated on April 18, 2021
Tags: Gossip, Humor



Hawkins, TX

I a retired Texas widow. I live alone with two dogs. I love to look for the humor in almost everything. I like to pass along a giggle when I can. Wisdom is also fun to pass along. I like to pro.. more..

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A Story by texasjane