Tillies Terror!

written by David & Frank Kocourek

Danny awoke to an absolutely gorgeous sunrise shining through his window. Stretching, he yawned and wiped the sleep from his eyes. "What a great day for a walk! Even better since I've nothing else on my schedule today." Dressing, he walked outside and took a deep breath. "Ah, there's nothing like a sunny day."

Taking a leisurely stroll, he arrived at an outdoor cafe he sometimes frequented and ordered breakfast. As he ate, a man carrying a briefcase approached him. "Excuse me, but are you Danny Cat?"

Danny looked up from his meal and nodded. "Yes, I am."

The gentleman handed him a business card. "I'm from the Children's Hospital. We're hosting a play to help raise money for the hospital and it would really help if you were to join."

Danny considered the offer while finishing his meal. The gentleman paused respectfully, then continued. "This is probably a bit sudden, but you see the children all love you and I know your presence would raise a great deal of much needed funds."

Danny smiled. "For the Children's Hospital? Sure! I'll do it!"

"Wonderful. Here's the script..." The gentleman opened his briefcase and handed a copy to Danny. "The play will be in a week, but I'm sure you'll be perfect. Allow me again to thank you on behalf of the hospital." He tipped his hat and left on his way.

Danny flipped through the script and nodded. Paying for breakfast, he headed home and spent his spare time during the week studying, memorizing and practicing.

A week later, Tillie was coming out of a hair salon and paused in front of the glass window to admire herself. With her new hair style, she was definitely a fetching sight...at least to another hippo. "Wait 'til the others see me now." Noticing a crowd of people watching something, she curiously walked over to see what was going on. A couple of policemen hurried out of a store and looked around, then pointed to a car where someone was hiding. Danny, dressed as a gangster, quickly stepped out holding a bag of money.

"You'll never get me, coppers!"

Tillie gasped as he pulled out a gun and fired at the policemen who collapsed. Her eyes grew wide and she stared in shock as he pointed the pistol towards the crowd. "Reach for the sky, ya mugs!"

At the back of the crowd, Tillie ran in fear and confusion towards the only place she could think of.

Meanwhile, Sawyer sat at her dinette table sipping tea while the radio played in the background. Her schedule had kept her busy for awhile and now a pile of unopened mail sat before her, waiting for attention. She sorted the bills to one side and briefly looked at the circulars before tossing them into her trash basket. Fan letters remained now and she sipped more tea before starting on them. The bills could wait and fan letters were far more interesting. An urgent knocking sounded at the door, growing louder by the second.

She hurried to the door, as the pounding quickly grew to a thunder, and opened it. "Tillie! What are you..."

"Let me in!" Tillie breathlessly urged her, anxiously looking about.

Sawyer let Tillie hurry in, looked briefly outside the door and closed it.

"Tillie, what's wrong?"

Tillie paced back and forth. "Oh dear, oh dear..."

Concerned now, Sawyer lead Tillie to the couch. "Sit down and I'll bring you some tea. Then you can tell me what's wrong." She poured a cup of tea for Tillie who remained pacing. She handed the tea to Tillie. "Now tell me what has you so upset."

"I'd just finished having my hair done and I was walking...", (she changed the subject quickly)"...by the way, how do you like it?" (and continued on) "...and I saw a couple of policemen trying to catch a gangster who had stolen some money from somewhere and it was Danny!!"

"Who? The police?"

Tillie shook her head. "No, Danny was the gangster!"

Sawyer eyed her, unbelieving, almost smiling. "You're joking."

Tillie waved her hands. "No, I'm not! He also shot the police and then he started to rob the crowd! Well, I didn't wait and stick around to see what happened next!"

Sawyer quietly listened, unsure what to believe. "Are you sure it was Danny?"

Tillie, even more upset now, raised her voice. "I saw him with my own eyes! I was watching!"

Sawyer paused now, unsure what to think. "I can't believe it."

Tillie remained silent as Sawyer walked about, thinking. Several minutes passed before she could think of anything. "I've got to talk to him."

Tillie, blinked with disbelief. "What? You can't do that, Sawyer! What if he decides to PLUG you?!"

"I need to sit down and think."

Sawyer walked back to her chair and sat down while Tillie sat on the couch, sipping her tea now while trying to calm herself. It was obvious that Tillie wasn't pulling some sort of joke and evidently believed Danny had robbed some place with a pistol. But, she couldn't bring herself to believe he would do such a thing. On the other hand, Tillie was so upset that something had to have happened. She didn't know what to think now.

The doorbell rang and Tillie jumped. Sawyer walked cautiously to the door and quietly asked, "Who is it?"

"It's me, Danny."

Tillie gasped. "He saw me!"

From outside, Danny asked, "Is Tillie there?"

Tillie started to panic, but managed to keep her voice low. "Sawyer, I've got to leave."

She pointed. "Use the back door. Go to your place and I'll be along later."

Sawyer waited while Tillie quickly and silently moved to the back and left. Danny, still waiting outside, asked, "Hey, is anybody there?"

She took a deep breath and opened the door. Danny smiled at her. "I was wondering what you were doing?"

She quickly pulled him inside and peeked outside the door, looking up and down the street. "What are you doing here? The police might see you."

He shrugged. "So? Sawyer, do you know where Tillie is? I was wanting to talk to her."

She closed the door and, pausing for a moment, hesitantly answered. "Um...no, not at this exact moment."

"Oh, well. No matter. I'll catch up with her later. Say...mind if we go for a walk in the park? I wanted to tell you something."

She swallowed, then summoned her courage. "I'd like to talk to you, too. But, aren't you...concerned that you'll be seen?"

Danny smiled. "It'll be great! My fans'll love to see me in person. Let's go."

Locking the door behind her, Sawyer walked with Danny towards the park occasionally casting anxiously looks about her. No one seemed to be paying any attention to them. She glanced to her right at Danny who merrily continued on his way, even waving to a couple of fans.

Danny noticed her staring at him and slowed down to keep pace with her. "Is anything wrong?"

Sawyer realized she had been intently watching him and quickly looked away. "Why? What could be wrong? It's...it's...a beautiful day. What could possibly be wrong on such a fine day as this?"

"Are you sure?"

She forced a short laugh. "Of course!"

Arriving at the park, they walked quietly along one of the paths past a water fountain and arrived at a bench surrounded by flowers. "Let's sit here, Sawyer. Isn't it great? I know a squirrel nearby who tends these flowers and keeps this area clean."

"It's nice.", she replied half-listening. She looked around and wondered to herself, "Why is he bringing me here? Isn't he concerned " Sitting down by Danny, she turned to him and gathered her courage. "Danny, I know what you did today."

"You do?"

"Yes, I do."

He smiled. "Great!"

She looked at him, surprised. "Don't you know what you've done?"

He nodded, pleased with himself. "Yes, I do."

Taken aback, she asked, "Well, how do you feel about it?"

"I'm happy I did it and I think if time allows, I'll do it again sometime. And speaking of that, I've got something to ask you."

Sawyer shook her head. "No, that's ok."

"Oh, it's no problem. Sawyer..."

Nervous, she clenched her hands into fists. Danny paused, concerned at her sudden reaction. "Sawyer, are you alright?"

She eyed him. "...yes. What were you going to say?"

"I was going to say that since you know, there's no point in waiting anymore."

She hesitated. "Waiting for what?"

"Would you join me in the play I'm in?"

Sawyer looked at him, puzzled. "Play? What play?"

He reached into his jacket, pulled out a rolled-up script and held it up. "The play I'm in for the Children's Hospital. It started this morning to benefit the hospital."

"Play? You're in a play?" She leaned forward. "Danny, do you play a gangster in it?"

He nodded. "Of course. You said you knew what I was doing so I thought it would be a real help if you, Tillie and maybe the others helped with it. It would draw a real big crowd next time."

Relief filling her, she started to laugh.

Danny smiled, unsure of why she was laughing. "I thought you'd like it, but I didn't think you'd be this happy about it. What's so funny?"

She waved her hand at him, signaling to wait while she finished laughing. "It's so ridiculous! I knew I was right! This whole thing is so ridiculously funny!" She calmed down and stopped laughing enough to talk. "Tillie said you were a criminal."

"Huh? Why?"

"Tillie was out around town this morning getting her hair done. When she came out, she saw the crowd watching you in the play, but she didn't realize that it was just a play."

He smiled. "Seems kind of silly to me."

She nodded. "So she hurried off before she knew it was merely a play and told me you were a criminal."


"Yes and..." Sawyer suddenly stopped and gasped.

"What's wrong?"

Concern on her face, she turned to him. "It's Tillie. She's hiding from you at Francis' place because she thinks you're out to get her! We need to tell her before she spreads this news of you being a crook!"

He quickly nodded in agreement. "Let's go!"

Meanwhile at Francis' place, Tillie paced back and forth while Cranston and Francis watched her from the couch. Cranston grimaced at Tillie, annoyed. "Oh for crying out loud, stop pacing already."

Tillie spun around and faced him. "But, it's true! Everything I've told you is true! I've seen it with my own eyes!"

He rolled his eyes. "Oh, brother. What kind of fool do you take me for?"

Francis replied, "We don't know, dahling. How many kinds are there?"

He snorted, derisively. "Oh fine. Go ahead and joke while Tillie here is having a nervous breakdown."

Francis ignored him and took a puff on her cigarette holder. "Tillie dear, you must be mistaken. Obviously there was a robbery, but perhaps you simply mistook the identity of the perpetrator in the intensity of the moment."

Cranston nodded. "Francis is right. You're worrying over nothing."

Tillie folded her arms. "I know what I saw and I saw Danny committing a robbery."

Cranston stood up from the couch. "Why don't we settle this once and for all? I'll just call up Danny and ask him."

Tillie's eyes widened. "You can't be serious! He was using a revolver..! He...he could be dangerous! Poor Danny...what could have driven him to do it?"

Cranston muttered under his breath, "An automobile."

Tillie waved a finger at him. "Don't you make fun of me at a time like this! Danny is in big trouble and we need to figure out what we're going to do about it?"

Cranston closely eyed Tillie's finger. "Right, right! Just don't hit me. I bruise easily."

She moved to and couch and sat herself. "Oh, rubbish. You're as tough as an old boot."

The doorbell rang and Francis asked, "Could you get the door for me, dahling? I need to make something for her to calm her down."

Cranston walked over and opened the door. "Hello?"

Danny and Sawyer walked in. "Hi everyone," he cheerfully greeted them.

Tillie gasped. "Eeek!"

Sawyer held up her hands. "Wait, everyone! There's been a big misunderstanding. Danny's not a gangster, he's in a play. Tillie, you left before the play ended."

Danny watched Tillies expression change from worry to puzzlement, so he reached into his jacket and pulled out the rolled up script again. He unrolled it and walked over to Tillie, handing her the script. "See, Tillie? It's the script. I'm doing a play for the Children's Hospital. My character is a gangster who goes around committing various robberies and ends up in a gunfight with the police. I'm doing this for charity and Sawyer's graciously decided to join me." He smiled at Tillie as she looked through the script. "The popguns we were using must've been too real looking for you."

Cranston rested both hands on his cane. "I told you."

Francis gently smacked Cranston. "Be quiet. I'm sure the poor dear is already feeling silly. You don't need to add to it." He grinned back at Francis.

Tillie looked at Danny with a great deal of embarrassment. She got up and handed the script back to him. "Oh, Danny. I'm so sorry. I...don't even know what to say. I'm just sooo sorry for being so wrong and about thinking such things about you."

He chuckled, good-naturedly. "Oh, that's okay Tillie. Actually, it's a little funny."

She looked away, ashamed. "I'm sorry."

He nodded. "I accept your apology, Tillie. Don't give it a second thought. No harms been done. But if you insist on making it up to me, you could assist me by joining in the play. That's the reason I've been looking for you all day." He looked at Cranston and Francis. "Of course if you two wanted to join in on the play, I'm sure it could only help. Besides, having five major stars in the play would almost insure it's success."

Cranston looked at Francis and both nodded. He looked back to Danny. "Sure, why not."

Danny turned to Tillie. "So...how about it, Tillie? It would mean a lot to the hospital and it would mean a lot to me having my friend there."

Tillie looked at him. "Do you mean it?"

He gave a short laugh. "Of course, I do. How could I go on performing without my best friends being there?"

She finally smiled. "Thank you, Danny...for your kindness and for being so understanding." She gave him a gentle hug.

Cranston leaned over to Francis and quietly muttered, "I hope she doesn't squeeze him too hard. Otherwise, he'll be in that hospital instead of performing for it." She elbowed him to quiet him.

Sawyer breathed a sigh of relief. "Now that everything's back to normal, why don't we start studying our lines?"

"Shouldn't the director be told we're joining the play?", asked Tillie.

"I knew you would all accept so I already talked to him. He was delighted to have you.", replied Danny. "After all, you know what they say...and since you already know, there's no point in telling you."

Francis waved a fin at him. "Very funny..."

The End

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