Writing 101 – Mrs Pauley


Do you see her lying there on the stretcher? The police and the paramedics around her and all the neighbours standing by shuffling their feet and talking quietly. Well, that’s Mrs. Pauley as stiff as a door nail, dead. She was a curious old thing but Mom said she’s lived there in this house where we’re gathered on the driveway, forever. She had six kids, didn’t pay her mortgage, never came out except to garden a bit.

I been in her house once. It was messy. There were dishes piled in the sink and bugs flying around the house. Mrs. Pauley’s house stunk like mold, mildew, and garbage. Oh, and that old lady smell. Not the good kind that Grandma’s house smells like but something putrid. Mom used that word I thought it aptly described the smell of Mrs Pauley’s home.

She didn’t like kids to much, she said we were noisy and loud. But my Mom told her that kids were just loud and became over excited easily. Mrs. Pauley didn’t have much use for other neighbours opinions and she let my Mom know that.

Curiously today though, I watched as a couple of cop cars pulled up to her house. I was sitting on the step in our front yard working on my math problems. Math was so hard! The police officers knocked on Mrs Pauley’s door but she didn’t come out. She wouldn’t have even if she was alive, she didn’t care for coppers. The police knocked again then tried the door. Strangely, the door just opened which was odd because Mrs. Pauley always locked up tight to keep the riff-raff out.

I guess the house really smelled because the police came out covering their mouths and noses with their hands and an ambulance arrived. Neighbours began to come out on their lawns and some crept to Mrs. Pauley’s drive way to see if they could help. But into that gruesome place went the paramedics and then later they brought out this stiff body covered up. I swear I could see Mrs. Pauley’s hand curled hanging from the stretcher as if she’d just been drinking her coffee.

She had six boys but none of them were here. They lived all over the place, Mom said. I was grossed out as we went over to Mrs. Pauley’s driveway and I could smell the stagnant house. My mom talked to the police said she had seen her just hours ago. Just like that Mrs. Pauley’s continuous presence on the block ended. They sold her house, cleaned it out first, and there was a funeral Mom went to with Dad. I didn’t miss her, but I knew I should.

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