Monday, June 05, 2006

Mayberry Code Epilogue

All names, organizations, characters, etc., in the following are the property of their respective creators, and no connection with same is implied or stated.

Later, when the deputy was driving the three villains away, Barney and Thelma Lou stood on Andy’s porch, watching.
“I can’t believe that Aunt Bea wasn’t real and Opie had a mother,” Thelma Lou said. “It’s just so…so…fantastic. And Andy was in on it all the time.”
“I wondered,” Barney said. “When he had the guy clear those papers off the sofa. Aunt Bea would never have let papers pile on the sofa.” Thelma Lou nodded. Barney put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face him.
“But there’s another part to the secret, isn’t there, Thelma Lou?” he said. His eyes held her. “A part that you know, and that you’re only now beginning to understand.” Thelma Lou looked away.
“Yes, I know,” she said. “I hadn’t thought about it before, but it fits. You know how I was gone from town that year, how I was ‘traveling’ with family. I wasn’t, of course. I was pregnant.”
She drew a deep breath, gaining strength from Barney’s steady gaze. “And I had a boy, and I gave him up for adoption.”
“That’s right,” Barney said. “Andy had a wife, and she died, but she wasn’t Opie’s mother. Thelma Lou, you are.”
“Oh Barney,” Thelma Lou said. “That means…well, you know what it means…”
“Yes,” Barney said. “I know what it means. I know I’m the only man you’ve ever been with, Thelma Lou, so I know that I’m Opie’s father.” He nodded sadly.
“That’s the real secret, Thelma Lou. That’s what Floyd knew. And that’s what he died to keep hidden. He was the only one I ever told. The only one I trusted with the secret…the real secret of The Mayberry Code.”

Friday, June 02, 2006

Mayberry Code Ch. 6

All names, organizations, characters, etc., in the following are the property of their respective creators, and no connection with same is implied or stated.

Ernest T. and Andy’s bodyguard stood behind the chair where Andy sat. Andy looked at Barney and Thelma Lou with resigned sadness in his eyes. Barney knew that while he might overpower one of the two men, the other was sure to fire before he could finish. And that would leave them plenty of time to reload and eliminate Thelma Lou. He bided his time.
“Barney, Barney, Barney,” he said. “I’m sure sorry you got mixed up in this. Darn that Floyd!”
“Mixed up in what?” Thelma Lou said.
“Well, Thelma Lou, it’s like this,” Andy began. “Mayberry’s a wonderful town, but it’s got a dark secret. Just a few people know it…”
“I knows the see-cret!” Ernest T. crowed. “Kin I tell it? Kin I kin I kin I…”
“Enough!” Andy barked. “Ernest T., you just hush right now.” He smiled back at his prisoners.
“It’s kind of an open see-cre…secret, really,” Andy said. “I’m sure you noticed that I raised Opie myself, didn’t you?”
“Well, yes.”
“But what you didn’t know was that I wasn’t always by myself.”
“What do you mean?” Thelma Lou asked.
“I mean that I wasn’t solely responsible for bringing Opie into the world,” Andy said. He stopped for a second, watching Barney nod and waiting for Thelma Lou to understand. Suddenly her eyes widened.
“Do you mean to tell me that Opie had a mother?” she asked incredulously.
“Of course, my dear,” Andy said. “The vast majority of educated people are well aware that children have mothers as well as fathers. This revelation would be no shock to them.”
Thelma Lou shook her head, and looked at Barney. “Is what he’s saying true?” she asked. “Did you know?”
Barney nodded. “It’s a pretty well-accepted fact,” he said.
“But we never saw her,” Thelma Lou protested.
“She died,” Andy said.
“But Aunt Bea?”
Andy made quotation marks with his fingers. “‘Aunt Bea’ was a much later creation, forced upon an unwilling group of people by the rich and powerful. Floyd knew that. And he knew that if anyone ever found out that ‘Aunt Bea’ never existed, then they would be forced to accept the conclusion that Opie had a mother. That could have shaken the structure of civilization as we know it. Floyd was a part of the secret Priory of Mt. Pilot, an organization dedicated to keeping that secret.”
He nodded at Ernest T. “So he had to be killed so he wouldn’t share the secret with anyone.”
“That makes no sense,” Thelma Lou said. “If he knew the secret but was part of a group that wanted to keep it a secret, and if you want to keep it a secret too, then why kill him?”
Andy started to answer, then blinked in confusion. When he did, Barney leapt into action. He hurled his iced tea glass with terrific force at the slow-moving bodyguard, diving at the wilier Ernest T. His ruse worked, and he disarmed them both. He stared all three men down.
“Barn,” Andy said dangerously. “There are three of us, and you’ve only got two guns and two bullets. You can’t get us all.”
Barney smiled dangerously. “But you forgot, Andy,” he said, reaching into his shirt pocket while handing one gun to Thelma Lou. “I still carry my bullet, too. Thelma Lou, call the deputy.” He looked at Andy. “What’s his name again?”
Andy shrugged.