The Federal Investigator had the mysterious coin collector step forward and open the safe. There was a subpoena that stated that he must do this for the Federal Investigator.
The Old Man
“I came from Alabama with my banjo on my knee. I’m going to Louisiana my true love for to see. It rained all day the night I left. Susanna don’t you cry for me.” The old man sat in his encampment under the interstate bridge and sang to his mule. The mule shivered in delight and her flanks shimmered in the evening fog. She loved to hear him sing to her.
The old man finished his song and said, “Well Becky, you and me be going back home soon as my work be done. I should never taken you north. You be gittin too old for these trips and Ize nearin eighty five meself. We needs to git on. We needs home cookin and home fed.”
Old Mort always dropped his Harvard accent and reverted to colloquialisms when he talked to Becky. He felt that she liked it better that way.
He noticed that every time that he sang or talked about home, Becky’s sides shimmied in delight and her ears twisted and turned. Yes sir, the old mule sure enjoyed this one-way conversation.
A Mighty Fine Blessin
“You bin a real blessin to me; yep, a mighty fine blessin, old girl. ever since I found you nearly dead along the road near Toulousa. I always said that you reminded me of my daddy and you are nearly as black as him. I like mules cause they be brighter than hosses, they live longer and they can always find some-thin to eat. Also you is a fine companion.”
We’ll be leavin New Jersey as soon as I git my work done. I’ll leave you here in this National park by yourself for a few days. You have food and water, and it’s safe here—no guns allowed. And he sang, “I came from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.” The mule shivered in delight and the soft rain made her coat gleam.
The Federal Investigator Waits At The Madison Building
On the eighty second floor of the Madison building in the Abdulla Abu Bin Baba suite, a federal investigator paced the floor and anxiously looked at his watch. A group of plain clothes policemen stood impatiently by, as they nervously sipped coffee and wondered what was going on.
Three limousines pulled to the curb and four turbaned Arabs stepped out of the front and back vehicles and hurried to the center limo. They protectively surrounded the old man who had flung open the door. They quickly ushered him into the building and they all crowded into a waiting elevator.
As they left the elevator at the Abdulla Abu Bin Baba suite, the plain clothes policemen stepped back as this little army of serious looking men exerted their presence.
Shielded by the turbaned body guards, the old man stepped up to the safe and spun the dial several times and flung the door open. He sang “I’m going to Louisiana my true love to see.” And he stepped back as the inspector quickly pushed forward.
The Federal Investigator was astonished. The safe was so empty that the old man’s voice echoed out at him. I’m going to Louisiana my true love to see. The elderly gentleman bowed politely to the federal investigator and said, “The subpoena only demanded that I must open the safe. Now I am free to go, Thank you sir.” With a quiet dignity the man and his entourage receded to the waiting elevator.
Becky’s Friend Returns
Becky’s ears perked up and swiveled like twin antenna. Across the boggy underbrush, she picked up the sound that she had waited for; “I came from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.”
Her gaunt face shivered in delight and her flanks quivered, as she turned to better hear the voice as the singer entered a low area.
Two shadowy figures appear and dropped a pair of heavy saddle bags near the little clearing. As they receded back into the darkness, the object of her affection materialized in the fog and she heard his song. “I’m going to Alabama with my banjo on my knee.”
“Well Becky, the sun be comin up soon, so you can jist quit nuzzling me out of bed. I realize that I told you we were gone south. I be anxious as you be. You must give me time to brew a cup of coffee. I know that you like the smell of it. I’ve seed you smellin the cup an the grounds, and I know that grin of you put on.” Mort never gave Becky treats. Never need to. He being near was all the treats she ever needed.
As the morning sun warmed the pair, they trudged ever southward along the Appalachian Trail. The old man sang “I came from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.” The mule shivered in her delight and her sides quivered.
Becky thought to herself, “Some folks have such strong emotions that they would make a mule proud. He sho is stubborn as a mule, and he sho remind me of my daddy. But I do wish that he would drop those colloquialisms.”