“You’ve got to be goddamn kidding me,” He said.
Harker was in disbelief that the neighbor’s kid had brought along four others, all around his age. They were all worthless when it came to removing a tree the size of the one on Harker’s lawn.
“What do you kids want? I don’t have any Nintendos.”
The children looked at one another with confusion.
“We want to help you,” said Jhonny, who had returned with his friends. Jhonny wore black rubber boots that ran all the way past his knees. They were adult sized.
“Help me?” Said Harker, with a haughty laugh. “No thanks. I’d rather get rid of this tree on my own.”
“But you can’t,” said Jhonny. “It’s too big for one person.”
Harker’s eye caught hold of Gerri-anne as she walked by with her three dogs. She walked her three dogs every morning and always donned a white tennis jacket.
“Hello Harker, how are you?” she said with a wave.
“Good Gerri-anne, how are you?” said Harker.
She smirked and continued on her way.
He had met Gerri-anne a few years earlier, shortly after her husband had passed away. He was a son-of-a bitch and left her with nothing, spoiled their kids everything. Her kids never visited or called, he had heard. Still, Gerri-anne always kept in shape and managed to smile. Her lawn was a mess though, but that wasn’t really her fault.
Harker shook his head, then returned to Jhonny. “Well you’re too small to do any good,” said Harker. “This job requires men.”
“We’re men,” said Jhonny.
“Oh yeah?” said Harker. “Saw that trunk for me.”
Harker dropped the saw on the lawn and laughed.
“Let’s go Jhonny,” said the little boy with the blue cap, named Fred. “This guy’s a dick.”
The children turned around and started walking away as Harker laughed. Jhonny began walking with them, then stopped abrubtly. He returned and grabbed the saw, than began sawing.
“What the hell are you doing!” yelled Harker. He jumped and grabbed the saw away from Jhonny. “Don’t you see the edge on this thing? It’s too sharp and dangerous for you.”
“But you said-”
“Don’t put words in my mouth, son! Why don’t you go on with your friends and play paddleball or something?”
“Jhonny, c’mon!” said Fred. “He doesn’t want our help, he said it himself.”
“I’m staying,” responded Jhonny.
Jeremy, the biggest of the kids, wrapped his hands around his mouth and hollered: “Stop trying to replace your dad, Jhonny! He’s dead, and this guy’s more of a grandpa, anyway!”
The other children erupted with laughter as Jhonny gazed down at his rubber boots. He itched his eye and started walking away.
“Good luck,” he muttered to Harker, without bothering to face him.
Harker scratched the back of his head.
To be continued…
- Thomas M. Watt