Nannie, the “Giggling Granny” Serial Killer
Writing101: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene. Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.
Fun fact: I’d already written this piece, then went looking for a real serial killer. Nannie fit perfectly, so a few details changed and the story came to life. Check the link below for more on Nannie.
Finally. I thought I’d never find a job. You’d think a medical degree would open doors, but evidently there’s little need for male nurses in the great state of Oklahoma. Granted, the State Pen isn’t where I imagined beginning my grand career. On the other hand, you’d be surprised at the number of fine women working in the OSP hospital ward. Miss Molly Ames is my favorite; with that shining blonde hair and those pretty blue eyes…okay, you caught me. Mostly I like the fact that if it rains, her shoes won’t get wet in the front or the back. And that’s without an umbrella.
She’s assigned to “show me the ropes,” and since prison is heavy on protocol, we’ve been spending a lot of time together. I definitely won’t complain. “Let’s take the outdoor tour today,” she says. “That’s usually scheduled on day four of orientation, but I heard it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.” My snicker almost escapes, and I cough to cover. “Sounds great,” I say, following her through the heavy doors.
We angle across the yard toward a concrete bench. Female inmates fascinate me; I can’t imagine how this innocuous woman landed in prison. She knits a small red sweater, looking up as we approach. Her round, sweet face brightens. “She reminds me of my Nana.” I look over at Molly. “How in the world did she end up here?” I stumble, and Molly snatches my hand to steady me. She doesn’t let go. “They say she poisoned some people, but I don’t think it’s possible. Nannie’s just so sweet. Even if she’s not guilty, Nannie won’t live long. Leukemia.” Molly grimaces and looks away, eyelashes wet.
“Nana had cancer, too. I miss her.” I stumble again; this time tears blur my vision. Molly squeezes my hand. “You have a warm heart. I like that. Come over for dinner tonight.” I agree, spirits lifting. This time, I’d angled a date in less than three days. The “Nana” bit works every time. I smile at Nannie, glad for her unwitting collaboration. She waves with a little giggle. Adorable, just like Nana.
We walk toward Nannie, holding hands. I still don’t see how they could lock this sweet woman up. Say what you will about her, but I’ll never believe this woman belongs in this prison. Those horrible men deserved to be poisoned. It’s sad that the kids died but they were probably sneaking food, like all kids do, and picked the wrong container. Then again, they shouldn’t have been stealing her signature stewed prunes, so I guess they deserved it, too.
“Good morning,” I say. “Roger was just hired to the hospital ward. I think you’re going to like him.” Nannie tips her face to Roger with a quiet laugh. “Just in time. Help me to my feet?” Roger, eager to help, almost trips again. “He’s very graceful,” I laugh, “don’t you agree?” Nanny smiles at me. “No, but it’s a good enough reason to hold his hand. Don’t want that handsome face planted on the ground. I’ve changed my mind. Roger, would you fetch some water?” Roger nods and heads back the way we came. I sit next to Nannie, and as we watch him lope away, he trips twice. Ugh.
“He’s sorta gawky, but he’s easy on the eyes. So, you like him, do you?” Nannie asks. My face burns. “We’ve only just met.” She giggles again, and we are two schoolgirls, heads bent together, speculating about the new boy. “You should invite him to supper.”
I beam. “I already asked, and he said yes!” We squeal, sisters in delight. She’s old enough to be my mother, but the years disappear when we discuss love, passion or our favorite romance novels.
“You put me in mind of my younger self,” she says, setting aside the sweater and wrapping an arm around my shoulders. I lean into her embrace, thrilled with the affirmation. Six months of conversations with Nannie have healed my broken heart and given me a purpose. I finally know what it is to be loved and supported. She believes in me. She sees my potential. She even gave me some of her family recipes. I will find the perfect guy, settle down and make her proud of me. I know true love is real, and Nannie will help me find it.
I already know Roger isn’t the one; he can barely walk. But hey, a little fun never hurts. Not usually, anyway.
Molly is the daughter I never had. Well, now, I do have one, but she won’t visit her poor dying mother in prison. I just don’t understand. I never killed anyone unjustified; I explained my reasons a dozen times over. Some of my husbands died sooner than others; they deserved it. I only ever served my stewed prunes and special almond coffee to the ones as deserved it.
See, here’s proof. I never killed Charley, because we were just kids. Our parents encouraged the marriage, but neither one of us really knew what we was doing, so I sent him on his way. See, I was fair. And of course Melvina—that’s the one who don’t visit—is happy and healthy. She was a wonderful child; she never needed no stewed prunes.
Molly, now, she’s my joy. Mirror image of the young Nannie, she is. Except she’s smarter than I ever was, so I’m sure she’ll stay out of the pen. Poor thing never had any mama to speak of, but she’s done real well for herself. If I could adopt her legally, I would. It just makes me giggle, no end, knowing she’s carrying on with the family recipes. And we love the same books, imagine.
That young man she’s sweet on, now, he’s not too bright, but he sure is handsome. I wonder if she’ll keep him around.
“Well, now, Molly, what about Roger?” I ask. “Oh, I haven’t decided, yet.” She says. “I think he might be nice to have around. We’ll probably just drink iced tea and sit on the porch.” Roger appears with my water. “Sorry I took so long.”
I take a long sip as Molly continues. “Maybe I’ll invite him in for dessert. And if he’s lucky, we’ll even have my special almond coffee. But only if he deserves it.” She grins wickedly at the young man. Startled, he reddens, then recovers, flashing a conspiratorial smile. “Oh, don’t you worry. I’ll deserve it.”
As they walk away, hand in hand, I just can’t help it. I giggle and giggle.
Posted on October 6, 2014, in Blogging101, Fiction, Writing101 and tagged almond, blogging101, coffee, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, point of view, red sweater, stewed prunes, writing, writing challenge, writing101. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.