Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Finding Fannie

I’m back from Synod Youth Workshop and packing this week for Guatemala. I may run into my old friend there…..but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last week you read about the abduction of Fannie in Guatemala and the e-mail I received. Today we join the search for Fannie starting with my response to the ransom note:

From: "Jane Els"
To: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
Subject: Re: FANNIE FLAMINGO
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 22:31:49 -0600
You can expect my full cooperation. Which friends do you have? I should have guessed when she disappeared in Guatemala that I could expect fowl-play. (excuse me, I couldn't let that one pass.)

But when I realized I desperately needed a recipe for Baked Alaska I naturally thought of Francine first. I knew that most of the birds spend the night at the church during their forced hibernation. However, I also remembered that Fred was probably still in the Peavys' flower bed watching TV through the window...The Larry King Show was still on. So I went and alerted Fred to the situation. He is on his way up to the church now to get the others for their help. I sure hope they're all still there. I know everybody thinks Fred is such a big boozy grouch, but he really has a soft spot in his heart for Fannie. They all do.

It's late right now and I need my sleep. I'll leave the Toucan in the window as a lookout. Please tell me you don't have the others as well, I will really need their help in solving your questions.

I've got cookbooks scattered all over the floor and Francine is the only one who can help!!!

You will hear from me before 48 hours is up. Don't do anything rash.

Jane

Does the "Flamingo Bureau of Investigation" ring any bells? I won't hesitate to bring in the big guys if you hurt Fannie.

--also--

From: "Jane Els"
To: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
Subject: Re: FANNIE FLAMINGO
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 16:09:12 -0600

Here are the ingredients:
ice cream (1 qt)
cake (6 small sponge short cakes)
egg whites (6)
cream of tartar (1/2 tsp.)
sugar (1 cup)

I hope this will be enough. I'm going out of town until Sunday morning. Please cut me a little slack on your time table. I'm trying to work with you.

How is Fannie?

Fred is worried sick. And Fern is standing outside in the rain watching for her....yes, In the RAIN!!!

Jane

==========
To: jels@flash.net
Subject: Re: FANNIE FLAMINGO
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 19:54:51 PST

SO NOW YOU SEE HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED, MS. ELS. I WISHED THE FLAMINGOS SHARED YOUR CONFIDENCE. WE MANAGED TO ROUND UP THE REST OF THE FLOCK EXCEPT FOR FRED. WE ARE WATCHING FOR HIM - BE CAREFUL!

WE WILL LEAVE YOU WITH FRED-FOR NOW.

QUESTION #2

EVERYBODY KNOWS PRESIDENT CLINTON IS BEING IMPEACHED. WHO WAS THE ONLY SITTING PRESIDENT TO BE IMPEACHED BEFORE CLINTON?

YOU HAVE TILL MONDAY BEFORE 9:OO PM

AND MRS. ELS- DON'T EVEN THINK OF CALLING YOUR SO CALLED FBI OR FRANCINE SHEDS HER FEATHERS (IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN)

TICK-TOCK TICK-TOCK TICK-TOCK
F.F.F.


We got back in town Saturday morning to find a plain manila envelope in the mailbox. Inside was a color photograph of a flamingo that I recognized immediately as Fannie. In the background were the rest, except for Fred. A computer printed note said the same stuff about not contacting the police and waiting for further instructions. It was from the Flamingo Freedom Fighters. I’ll get Fred to check the picture over and see if he can tell where they’re being held. In the meantime, I got another e-mail.
========
From: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
To: JELS@FLASH.NET
Subject: TICK TOCK
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 15:24:31 PST

TICK TOCK

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!
==========
From: "Jane Els"
To: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
Subject: Re: TICK TOCK
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 19:52:12 -0600

Andrew Johnson.

============
From: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
To: JELS@FLASH.NET
Subject: IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET HARDER
Date: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 17:09:39 PST

MS. ELS,
PERHAPS WE HAVE BEEN TO EASY WITH YOU. PERHAPS WE HAVE UNDERESTIMATED YOUR KNOWLEDGE. HOWEVER, HERE IS A QUESTION THAT WILL HAVE YOU PRAYING TO BOB VILLA FOR THE ANSWER:

WHAT COMMON SOLVENT IS DISTILLED FROM PINE TREES?

ONE WRONG ANSWER AND YOU'LL NEED TO START COLLECTING A DIFFERENT FLOCK! YOU HAVE UNTIL TUESDAY AT 9:00 YOUR TIME TO ANSWER.


DO YOU KNOW THE ANSWER OR DOES FANNIE GET HER FEATHERS THINNED?


TICK TOCK TICK TOCK
F.F.F.


Another exchange of e-mails followed and life tried to return to normal. Fred returned to the couch in the den to watch TV.

And, of course, the Super Bowl was on Sunday night. So Fred wanted to invite a few friends over to watch it. I didn’t figure it could hurt much since Beaven and I weren’t planning to watch the game anyway. I figured there would be room for a few friends. I never dreamed he would invite GRACKLES. And a WHOLE FLOCK of them!! Grackles are noisy enough in your yard—try them in your den. With beer. And cigars-- did I mention they all smoke cigars??!! So, you can imagine what my house looks and smells like this morning.

Also, Fannie’s cousin Clarice flew in from Oklahoma City tonight after hearing the news. I put her in the window under where the Toucan is hanging. (Did I ever mention his name? It’s Harold.) I figured they can watch out the front window together. I may be wrong, but I think I sensed an immediate chemistry between the two of them. You know how those girls from Oklahoma City are. Not at all as sweet and innocent as my Fannie.

So, now I had a Hot-To-Trot Couple of Amorous Aviaries in my front window, a flock of cigar smoking Grackles all over my lawn and an overweight, lonesome flamingo on my couch. Not to mention the cigar butts and feathers everywhere.

--------------------
From: "Jane Els"
To: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
Subject: Re: IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET HARDER
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 22:01:01 -0600

Turpentine


In the meantime, life went on as always here at home. We managed as best as we could without our friends. My garden suffered without Farfel. Frank’s many projects lay half-done. We did have a roofer come and finish the new roof he had started but we left his other projects waiting for his release.

I was losing patience with their games.

---------

Later that same day I went to the mailbox to find one of those clear plastic disposable containers, like you pack a sandwich in. Only it contained not a sandwich but a flamingo. Bright pink feathers hung limply out past the lid. Two lifeless eyes stared out. I was devastated at the thought of Fannie being sacrificed. All I could do was sit on the couch and stare into space.
That’s when Harold, the Toucan, flew into action. Little did I know that he had been watching me on the computer all this time while he hung there in my window. Harold had taught himself e-mail in his spare time! He took over for me with the next e-mail to the kidnappers:

______________
From: "Jane Els"
To: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
Subject: Re: PHASE II
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 15:05:24 -0600

Dear F.F.F.
I'm afraid that now you've gone and done it. Jane is in tears. She's sitting on the couch overcome by grief and I'm not sure Fred and the rest of us will be able to console her.

When Jane went to the mail today and found pink feathers in a box (and those two bright but lifeless eyes!!)--Oh, how COULD you!! She was cooperating with you! How could you do this to her?

Then, upon second thought, we all decided that it could possibly be, not Fannie, but Francine. And NOBODY liked her to start with. Please tell us that was Francine.

Do you realize what you’ve done if that is Fannie wadded up in that box?
Life was starting to settle down to a routine. In fact, things were looking up for Fred. Definitely looking up for Fred.

But now you've upset the applecart. I'm afraid the jig is up. Return Fannie to Jane at once or face the wrath of several irritated birds.

signed,

Harold Toucan
and his friends:

Fred Flamingo,

Clarice Flamingo (currently working at Baylor Hospital, Garland),

and, of course, the Grackles
Gary
Gerald
George
Greta
Garfield
and their big brother,
Bubba (Believe me, you don’t want to mess with Bubba.)

-------

their response:

To: jels@flash.net
Subject: Francine
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 15:38:31 PST
THAT WASN’T FANNIE. IT WAS FERNANDO. HE WAS A NEIGHBOR WHO GOT ON OUR NERVES. IT WAS ONLY A WARNING OF WHAT WE ARE CAPABLE OF DOING.

SO THIS IS HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT FRANCINE? POOR FRANCINE SAW YOUR DAMAGING EMAIL AND HAS BECOME CATATONIC. SHE HAS NOT SPOKEN A WORD SINCE.

BE AT YOUR HOUSE TOMMOROW AT 6:30PM WITH A BUCKET OF CHICKEN. WE WILL DELIVER THE BIRDS THEN. AND REMEMBER MRS ELS - NO COPS. NO FBI. OR
FANNIE GETS IT.

F.F.F.

From: "Jane Els"
To: "FLAMINGO FREEDOM FIGHTERS"
Subject: Re: Francine
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 06:53:23 -0600

It's a deal. Regular or Extra Crispy? Or is that too delicate an issue around there?

Anxiously awaiting their release. All their friends are so excited! Harold just about pooped on my window sill.

Jane


Next week: The kidnappers are revealed and we rest for a while. But the story of Fannie is not nearly over

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