Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Chill

   I got up to get myself more coffee, then paused and asked Cheryl, "Would you like another cup of tea?"
   "Sounds good." Cheryl held out her tea cup. Then she added, "I thought you were taking Uncle Billy to Manny's this morning."
   I took her cup. "He called while you were in the shower to cancel," I said as I walked into the kitchen.
   "Oh? How come?"
   I leaned around the doorway, "He said it was too damn cold to go out."
   "Too cold? That doesn't sound like Uncle Billy."
   I poured hot water into her cup. "I thought it was a little strange, too ... I mean it is freakin' cold out there, but it's not like Billy to be slowed by it."
   "Well, they are talking about wind chills below zero ... maybe it is getting to him."
   I filled my cup with coffee while the tea bag steeped in Cheryl's. "I suppose ... I told him I had to go out to run some errands anyway, so it was no trouble to me."
   "And he still didn't want to go?" said Cheryl.
   "Nope."
   "You don't think that there is anything else going on, do you?"
   "Like what?"
   "Like he's not feeling good or something."
   I took the tea bag out of her cup. "I don't think so ... do you want cream in this?"
   "Yes, please ... well, maybe it is just the cold."
   I poured a splash of cream in her cup. "Maybe ..."
   "But you suspect it's something else?"
   I picked up the cups and walked back into the dining room. I set Cheryl's tea in front of her.
   "Thank you."
   "No problem." I sat down and took a sip of my coffee.
   "Well?" she asked.
   "Well what?"
   "What do you suspect made Uncle Billy cancel?"
   I looked out at the branches bending in the north wind. "I don't know ... I'm wondering if it has anything to do with this Mike Burczyk business."
   "Oh? How so?"
   "Nothing I can put my finger on ... he just seems to be a bit preoccupied since he got into this stuff with Burczyk."
   Cheryl took a sip of her tea. "Well, maybe that's a good thing ... I mean, he needs something to keep himself busy."
   I drummed my fingers on the side of the coffee cup. "Yeah ... I guess ... I just hope he doesn't find himself out in the cold."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cinema Verite

   Uncle Billy jumped in the passenger seat, shut the door and set a pair of DVD's in his lap. "Swing by the video store on the way to Manny's."
   "Hi, Uncle ... good to see you, too."
   Billy shot a glance at me. "What's got your underwear in a twist?"
   I pulled out of the parking lot. "Nothing ... I haven't seen you in few days ... just thought I'd say hello."
   Billy shrugged and held up one of the DVD's. "Anyway, I want to return this piece of crap in person ... it was the worst movie I ever saw ... and this one ..., " held up the other DVD, "... was so scratched that it wouldn't play."
   I made a right turn onto the highway. "When did you go to the video store?"
   "On Friday ... Clara took me."
   I looked over at him. "Oh? Really?"
   "Don't get any ideas, boy ...  I just tagged along with her on an errand ... which turned out to be in the strip mall where the video store is."
   "So, why didn't you have the clerk check the DVD for scratches?"
   "She did ... she said they both looked fine."
   "What was wrong with the other one?"
   "It was so bad that I could barely stand watching it."
   I stopped for a red light. "So why did you?"
   "Hey, I paid good money for that thing."
   "Isn't your time more valuable than the couple of bucks you spent on the DVD?"
   "I'm not going to argue this with you ... what was the name of that stinker you went to see with Cheryl a couple of weeks ago?"
   My face reddened. "Okay, point taken."
   "Besides, I didn't have anything to do all weekend."
   "I thought you were meeting with Mike Burczyk on Saturday? Cheryl invited you do dinner but you begged off ... remember."
   Billy starred out the window. "Mike had to cancel ... I guess something came up."
   I pulled away from the light. "Why didn't you call? I would have come to pick you up."
   "I didn't want to put out Cheryl."
   "What are you taking about, Uncle ... she would have loved to have you over ... we had homemade pizza and there was plenty."
   "I guess I just wasn't in a social mood."
   "So ... did Burczyk reschedule the meeting?"
   "I don't want to talk about this right now, okay?"
   "Okay, okay." I glanced over at him. He was still starring out the window. "Did you watch any football yesterday."
   He held up the DVD's. "I wish I had."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bowling and Business

   A crash of pins in the next alley caught Hank's attention. "Clancy's have started already ... ," he turned and looked at me, "... where the heck is Bill?"
   I shrugged. "Don't know ... he's usually the one griping about other people being late."
   "I think he's meeting with some people," said Eb, "trying to get them to invest in his new business."
   I looked at Eb. "What?"
   "Actually, I was surprised you weren't with him, Chris," said Eb.
   "I don't know anything about it," I answered.
   "You mean he didn't try to get you to invest?" asked Eb.
   "Well, he mentioned something about a business venture ... but he knows I don't have any money ... why? Did he ask you, Eb?"
   Eb shook his head yes. "He sure did ... I was going to, too ... but Becky wasn't keen on it, so I had to tell him 'no'."
   I looked at Hank. "What about you?"
   Hank nodded. "Yeah ... he approached me about some kind of real estate deal he's involved in ... but when he said that Mike Burczyk was involved, I begged off."
   I looked at D'Angelo's team, four alley's over. Three of them were sitting there, looking anxiously at the clock. "I see he's late, too."
   Hank looked over at D'Angelo's. "You mean Burczyk?"
   I nodded. "Yeah ... I'll bet he and Billy are together."
   "Here they come," said Eb.
   I looked at the back isle and saw Uncle Billy and Mike Burczyk making they're way toward us. They were talking and grinning. When they reached our alley, Billy patted Burczyk on the back and said, "Well, get ready for a shellacking tonight ... I feel hot."
   Burczyk smiled and said, "We'll see." Then he continued on toward D'Angelo's.
   "You're late, Uncle," I said as Billy sat down to change his shoes.
   "Had business to attend to, boy," he said.
   "You and Burczck?" asked Hank.
   "You mean my business partner?"
   "How come you're chummy with the competition?" asked Eb.
   Billy laced up his shoes. "We're only competitors on the hard wood." He paused to look over at D'Angelo's and waved at Burczyk. Then he continued with his shoes.
   "What do you know about that guy?" asked Hank.
   "I know he's got a good idea ... which is a whole lot more than any of you have."
   "Do you really trust him," I asked.
   Billy finished lacing up his shoes and put his hands on his thighs. "Do you think I'd get in business with someone who isn't on the up and up?"
   "We're just concerned, Bill," said Hank.
   "Well, just concern yourself with knocking down some pins, Hank. I'd like to see this team get out of the basement for a change."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mind Your Own Business

   The woman behind the counter smiled blankly. "That'll be six eighty-three."
   As I reached for my wallet, Uncle Billy stepped forward. "Don't worry boy ... I've got it." Then to the woman he said. "Just put that on my order."
   I blinked unbelievingly for a second. "What ...?"
   Billy ignored me. "I'll have the number two combo."
   "Medium or large fries?" She said.
   "Large."
   "What to drink?"
   "Coke."
   She punch some icons on the computer screen. "That'll be twelve twenty-eight."
   Billy handed her a twenty dollar bill.
   "Gee ... thanks, Uncle," I said.
   Billy nodded.
   The woman handed Billy his change. "Your order will be ready in minute."
   We stepped back from the counter to allow the next diner room to order.
   "Well that was an unexpected treat," I said.
   "No problem ... I like to help out my family when I'm flush."
   "Oh? Did you come into some money?"
   "Not yet ... but a big payday is coming soon," he said.
   "A big payday?"
   He smiled. "You bet."
   "Would you care to elaborate?" I asked.
   "Sorry ... I can't reveal anything just yet ... unless ..." His expression turned serious. "... you'd care to make an investment in our enterprise."
   "Our?"
   He looked around quickly, as if searching for prying ears. "Mike Burczyk and me."
   "You're doing business with Mike Burczyk?"
   "Ssssssshh ... I don't need the whole world to know my business."
   "Uncle, no one else cares that your in business with Mike Burczck ... but I do ... what exactly are you up to?"
   "If you're not going to invest, then it's none of your business."
   "Of course I'm not going to invest ... even if I was interested, I don't have any money."
   Billy shrugged. "Well, then I guess you'll miss out."
   "On what?"
   The woman behind the counter pushed a try toward us. "A number two and a number five combo meal."
   "That's us," said Billy.
   "All right ... we'll get our food and go to a booth ... then you're going to tell what this is all about."
   Billy reached for the tray. "The only thing I'm going to tell you is how delicious this hamburger is."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

   

The meat sack is taking the week off ... he said something about a New Year celebration ... if you call watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV a celebration. I, on the other hand, will be blasting around the 'Net, enjoying the New Year in 24 time zones ... should be a gas. Hope yours is just as exciting!