By Rick Jacobs
Now, time for: Bragnet!
The following is an accurate account of a series of events that occurred in a real house, in a real cove, in a real city. The story is true. The diapers were changed to protect the skin.
The city is Bartlett.
My name’s Grandpa.
I carry a pacifier.
(Music) Daaa da dat dat! Daaaa da dat dat daaaaaaaaa!
It was Saturday afternoon, Jan. 18. It was cold in Bartlett. I was working on my novel when the bawl came in. My partner, Grandma, heard it as well. It was pretty clear. It seemed to both of us like a 606-B-11-WAAAAH. We were sure it was an ANT.
Attempted nap time.
My partner and I immediately went to the scene of the cry. When we arrived we found exactly what we expected. We’d seen it too many times. The perp and victim were lying on the couch. The victim was one-year-old Isabella, a.k.a. Izzy. She looked at us with eyes that screamed, “Help me, Grandpa!” Crocodile tears streamed down her cheeks like Niagara Falls. It was clear to us that she wasn’t sleepy. We knew it. She knew it.
Problem was, her mother didn’t know it.
She was 31-year-old Lisa. She was fighting a losing battle with Izzy. She knew all the tricks, though. Paci in her mouth. Rocking back and forth. Holding Izzy close to her. Patting her back. Whispering softly and soothingly. It was easy to see she was a real pro. The problem?
This time, Izzy wasn’t buying it.
I began to question her. “What are you doing, ma’am?”
“Nothing? Doesn’t look like nothing to me, ma’am.”
“Why, whatever do you mean?”
“Why’s the baby crying, ma’am?”
“She’s tired. She needs a nap.”
“Uh-huh. How do you figure?”
“She … she’s been up a long time. I … I mean, she … oh, boo-hoo-hoo!”
My brilliant line of questioning was beginning to work. She was starting to crack. Always looking ahead, I had my office fax me a copy of the statute she was breaking. I turned to my partner. “Grandma, has it arrived yet?”
“Yes it has, dear,” she said.
“Please,” I said to her, “don’t call me ‘dear’ when we’re on a case. Hand it to me, please.”
“Anything else?” she asked me.
“No,” I said, “just the fax, ma’am.”
She handed it to me and I began to read it to Lisa. “According to Grandparent law, in the state of Tennessee, anytime a granddaughter or grandson is crying, regardless of any circumstances whatsoever, but especially Attempted Nap Time, or ANT, a grandpa or grandma has the right to interfere, pick the grandchild up and carry him or her away and be the hero in his or her eyes, while the parent, unable to interfere, watches helplessly.” I looked at Lisa. Her eyes stared at me in disbelief. “The baby, ma’am,” I said, “hand her to me.”
Izzy’s little arms extended toward me, her eyes were wide with hope, and a smile began to form on her lips. As I gathered her in my arms, her head went to my shoulder and she began to pat my back. She started to jabber, and to most folks it would be unintelligible, but I knew exactly what she said.
“Thank you for saving me, Grandpa. You’re my hero!”
“All in a day’s work, Izzy,” I said. “It’s what I’m paid to do. And you just paid me.”
That afternoon, a smile was held in the county of Shelby, in the city of Bartlett, in that very living room. In a moment, the results of that smile.
Lisa was found guilty of ANT, punishable by a period of not less than one hour of Grandpa playing with the victim, until she finally did go down for a three-hour nap.
The story you have seen was true.
My name’s Grandpa. And I have the best job in the world.
Rick Jacobs is a process server for Shelby County and a longtime resident of Bartlett. Contact him at email@example.com.