Belle E. Phatt Refuses to Move

“Lance Wright here, folks, on the scene at the courthouse, where Ms. Belle E. Phatt is making her case for remaining on the property that she claims is rightfully hers.  Here she comes now . . . Ms. Phatt, could I get a statement?”

“All I have to say is, I done been here for over thirty years.  I got rights.  An’ I ain’t goin’ nowhere!  That pushy ol’ broad, Sixtie Three, she has got some nerve tryin’ to get rid of me.  Who does she think she is, anyway?”

“And she’s out of here . . . she’s headed over to where her friends are waiting.  What an animated conversation!  She’s making a “Z” in the air and telling them, ‘Oh no she di-uhnt!’  That must be in reference to a recent confrontation with Sixtie Three.  Oh my, I’m at a loss for words.  Let me see if I can find someone who can give us some background on this volatile situation.  Oh, I see my colleague, Ree Porter, who has been following this case closely.  Ree, can you give us some insight into these proceedings?”

“Sure, Lance, Sixtie Three (the president-elect of the Baby Boomer Property Owners Association) has brought a civil suit in which she claims that Belle E. Phatt’s lot is unsightly and poses a health threat to the neighborhood.  From time to time, the association has succeeded in reducing the size of her site by re-drawing the boundary lines.  In fact, she once agreed to decrease her boundary lines from the north, east and west, but never from the south.  But now, they want her gone altogether.  They want to evict her.  They maintain that she doesn’t pull her weight, and she contributes nothing to enhance the subdivision.  The judge is looking into it.  It seems that Belle E. Phatt maintains something like ‘squatter’s rights’ to a percentage of the property where she has resided since 1978.”

“Ree, what are Sixtie Three’s chances of getting her evicted?”

“Well, Lance, I’m told they are not very good despite the best efforts of her attorney, Will Power.  He has uncovered several facts that have forced her to agree to re-drawing her boundary lines, such as a prior ruling that Belle E. Phatt’s boundary lines should not exceed half the length of the subdivision, which does seem generous.  Although she has complied with that, the POA remains dissatisfied.  Their complaint reads, ‘She pays no dues or fees; she just sits there, smug, as if she owned the place.’  And one neighbor testified, ‘She just sits there, suckin’ up the goodies, while growing fatter every day.’ ”

“But Ree, doesn’t she in fact have ownership rights?”

“Yes, apparently she has been ‘grandmothered-in,’ as it were, even though she pays nothing and is a drain on everyone’s resources.  She has dug in and refuses to budge, no matter what!”

“Thanks, Ree, for that valuable insight.  Oh, here come those friends of Ms. Phatt.  Let’s see if they are willing to comment on camera.  Excuse me, could I get your names?”

“Certainly.  I am Ms. Arms, and this is my girlfriend, Ms. Chin.  And our commentary on the case is this:  We done won our cases.  She, and by ‘she’ I mean that pushy ol’ Sixtie Three, knows there ain’t nothin’ she can do to get rid of US.  I put a lot of sweat equity into my place, and Ms. Chin here, she just took gradual ownership; it just comes naturally if you hang around long enough.  That’s why she’s pickin’ on poor ol’ Ms. Phatt.  She knows she has to make one last-ditch effort to preserve her precious boundary lines in that middle area of the subdivision!  We ain’t violated no rules or committed no crimes.  We just staked our claims and hung on.  We was just smart enough to stand our ground when Sixty arrived on the scene.”

“Well, thanks, er . . . ladies.  I think we have a ruling.  Yes, here’s the decision:  ‘Belle E. Phatt has been granted a temporary restraining order against all those who would attempt to remove her from her domain, including Will Power and his client, Sixtie Three.  Since she has been ‘grandmothered-in,’ she does have the right of ownership.  Therefore, it is suggested that Sixtie Three cease and desist fretting about it while continuing to enforce the current boundary lines and keep a watchful eye for any health hazards on the property.  Any suspicious visitors should be reported to authorities in order to curtail their activities; these include Chol Esterol and Dia Betes, as these can cause serious disturbances that must be dealt with.  The judge suggests that the only thing to do for the time being is to landscape carefully by perhaps constructing a tent-like structure in front so as to camouflage the unsightly area.  Perhaps this will improve the overall appearance of the neighborhood.’  Well, folks, there you have it.  Oh, here comes Sixtie Three now.  Excuse me, what do you think of the judge’s ruling?”

“Well, it is apparent that the judge is sympathetic with our plight, but his hands are tied by this Grandmother clause.  Not to be outdone, we will form a committee to study the situation and determine whether there are any obscure laws or guidelines governing the current situation.  Perhaps we will discover at least one precedent we can use to our advantage in dislodging this unwelcome nuisance.  And rest assured, we will be watching her and the culprits that constantly try to help her expand her territory, those buddies of hers that she has affectionately nicknamed her “Taste Buds.”

“Well, I wish you luck.  Oh, I see Professor Smart, the archaeologist, headed this way.  I don’t think he was ever called as a witness, although he was prepared.  I wonder what he knows about that plot of ground.  Dr. Smart, could you shed some light on that mound that Belle E. Phatt calls home?  How did she get there in the first place, and why did she feel so entitled to settle in this particular spot?”

“Oh, yes, I would be happy to share my research.  No one wanted to hear it, apparently, because I was not ever called on to reveal what I consider to be the piece of evidence on which the entire case hinges.  The mound on which Belle E. Phatt resides is an ancient site of worship.  Her ancestors built it, and she is preserving it.  I actually have in my possession a stone from the area on which there is an inscription of great import.  I was surprised when I ran across it, as I had never seen such a statement before, but there it was, ‘in black and white,’ as they say.  Amazing revelation!”

“Oh?  Please . . . don’t keep us in suspense . . . what does it say?”

“Their god is their belly.”

(Source of inscription on Dr. Smart’s artifact:  Philippians 3:19)

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About Jan Hamlett

Exploring faith outside the safety of Sunday
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