Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Winter Harbinger

   "Hand me that allen wrench, will you?"
   Uncle Billy looked around the deck. "What allen wrench?"
   I rose to my knees and reached for the tool sitting on the rail. "Never mind ... I'll get it."
   "Oh, that allen wrench." Billy took a sip of his beer.
   I grabbed it and sat back down, crossing my legs. "How was your date with Clara?"
   "What date?"
   I spun an upended table around to gain access to screws that held the legs in place. "I thought you took her to the Tiger game the other day?"
   Billy set his beer can down next to his feet and leaned back in his chair. "We went to the game together ... that doesn't make it a date."
   I pulled the first screw out and turned the table again. "I wonder if that's how Clara looks at it."
   "She looks at it the same as I do ... two people went to a ballgame."
   "Do you suppose Alma would look at it that way?"
   Billy sat forward and picked up his beer. "How would she even know about it?"
   I pulled out another screw. "I'm not saying she does, I was just curious how she might feel about you going to a ballgame with Clara."
   "Oh, that's right ... you writers are just naturally curious, aren't you?"
   "I suppose we are."
   "Okay, Bernstein, here's a question for you ... why the hell are you taking that crappy old table apart?"
   I pulled out a leg. "So I can store it for the winter."
   "Isn't that outdoor furniture?"
   I pulled out another leg. "Yes."
   "And you store it because ..."
   I pulled out the final leg. "It lasts longer if I put it in the garage for the winter."
   "Judging by the shape of that thing, I don't think your theory is sound."
   I struggled to my feet. "Hey, we've had this table for eight years."
   "That's all?"
   "I don't think it looks that bad."
   "I suppose you're going to want me to help you drag that junk around to the garage, eh?"
   "I could use a little help."
   Billy stood up. "So could this deck ... when was the time you had it stained?"
   I stood the legless table top on end. "I don't know what I'd do without your helpful insights."
   "Me neither." Billy drained his beer.