The Old Man and the Tree – Part 2

fallen tree

*If you missed part 1, start here!

“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
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The Old Man and the Tree – Part 1

fallen tree

Harker glared out his window at the fallen tree. It hadn’t moved for the past twenty years, then last night it had just decided to keel over. Now he had to clean it up.

Harker tugged a boot on with one hand on the kitchen chair.

“Stupid goddamn tree,” he muttered. “Why you were planted is beyond me.”

It took him thirty minutes to get his boots on. Harker threw on his fleece, than stared out the window again. He checked the cell phone that cost him an arm and a leg, than sighed and tossed it at his recliner.

Harker took with him a shovel and a wheelbarrel. He smeared the humid moisture from his forehead and groaned. He nudged the dead tree with his shovel.

“How the hell am I supposed to get rid of you… stupid goddamn tree.”

Harker turned around and headed for his backyard.

“Mister!” called someone.

Harker turned around. It was a little boy with a sharp smile and a stick of chalk.

“What?” Harker said.

“Want some help moving your tree?”

“From who?” Harker stuck his hand above his eyes like it were a visor, then squinted as he searched the street from one side to the other.

“Well… Me.”

Harker shook his head and turned around. He carried on toward his backyard muttering to himself. The child had no business trying to look courteous here. This tree was a serious problem, and the last thing Harker needed was some dumb kid making the job even more difficult.

That was how Dotty used to be. She’d always try to help Harker with his do-it-yourself projects, but would only ruin them. If he was toying with his engine, she’d beg him for a peek. The second he let her have a look, she’d break something. He’d turn, find a wrench in her hand, then ask her what the hell she was doing. And for some dumb reason her response would always trick him into laughing and forget all about the trouble she always caused.

But that was Dotty, and Dotty was dead. Now Harker was blessed enough to take on his do-it-yourself projects with nobody to hold him up. That was the biggest difference he’d noticed with his age. Ever since the kids moved out of state and Dotty passed away, Harker finally had time to do the things he wanted to do, uninterrupted.

Harker realized he’d been standing in his backyard with his hands on his hips for an easy five minutes.

“What the hell am I looking for?” He said to himself.

Harker spotted a saw. “You,” he said as he pointed at it. Harker strode over, picked it up in practically no time at all, then started on his return trip to the front yard.

When he reached it, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“You’ve got to be goddamn kidding me,” he said.

…To be continued

  • Thomas M. Watt

 

 

Too Perfect Marriage – Part 6

club

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

“What?”

“The knife,” said Shea. She checked him up and down, then pushed her hand into his chest and walked away.

“Shea wait,” said Calvin. He jogged over to her, then grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. “What knife?”

Shea held her phone in one hand, and covered her eyes with the other. “Yes, hello? I could really use a cab, like right now… at Cherry Bumps, downtown. Ok, thank you so much.” She lowered the phone and gulped.

“Shea?”

“Men are liars,” she said. “All of you!” Her eyelids cracked open and tears leaked out.

“Tell me about the knife,” said Calvin.

“Who cares about the knife! How can you be okay with this? With them!”

“I’m not. But my wife and your husband are trying to kill me-”

“They already killed me.”

“What?”

“What’s wrong with me? Am I so ugly that every guy has to cheat-”

Calvin grabbed her hands. “Stop. You’re gorgeous… plus you know who The Verve is! And, maybe I’m out of line to say this, but I’ve enjoyed talking with you more tonight than… fuck it, any conversation that I’ve ever had with my wife.”

Shea blinked, and her pupils bounced from Calvin’s eyes to his lips.

“What?” he said.

“Nothing.” Shea brushed a blond hair behind her ear. “So… what are you gonna do?”

“Leave, maybe call the cops.”

“Right, because that’s what I meant.” Shea turned around, walked over to the sidewalk, then sat down on the curb.

Calvin hurried over and plopped down beside her.

Shea rubbed her elbows. “Please, don’t offer me your jacket.”

“You want to be alone?”

Shea rocked her head back and let out an exaggerated scoff. “I want a man who won’t cheat. That’s it.”

“I meant me.”

Her head swiveled to him and her eyelids snapped wide open.

“Do you want me, to leave?” said Calvin.

Shea faced the street between her feet and bit into her hand.

“Does that mean yes?” said Calvin.

“If you don’t want to stay, you should go.”

“It doesn’t feel right leaving you.”

Shea smirked.

“What?”

“I’ve enjoyed talking with you, too,” she said.

Calvin grinned.

Shea turned to him, and her words rattled between her teeth. “I called a cab… do you… what about you?” said Shea.

“I’m gonna call the cops. If those two are trying to kill me, they deserve to-”

“You’re an idiot.”

“What? Why?”

“Just don’t offer your jacket,” said Shea.

“You look cold. Take this.”

“I told you I don’t want your-” Shea cut short her protest when she noticed what Calvin held in his hand.

“Wow… you have a sense of humor… too.” Shea ripped the Ipod out from his hand. The song listed was “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve. “Why did you bring an Ipod to a night club?”

“Because I’m a one song kind of guy,” said Calvin.

Shea’s cheeks flushed red. She plugged one of the white earbuds into her ear, raised the second, bit her bottom lip, then handed that earbud to Calvin instead.

He smiled, stuck it in his ear, and they listed to the song together.

“How come you’re not freaking out?” said Shea. “I mean, doesn’t it bother you?”

“It does,” said Calvin. “Just not right now.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know,” He said, then scooted closer. “It should. My wife’s cheating on me, and your husband’s plotting to kill me.”

“So you are freaked out?”

“No,” said Calvin. “Because this moment, right now…”

“…yea?” Shea lost her eyes in his.

“It’s almost perfect.”

Shea bit her lips, then sniffed. “Yeah, I get that.” She laughed. “I mean, obviously it’s not going to be perfect with everything you’re going through. Because of you wife, right?”

“No.”

“Ah, my husband. Maybe if he wasn’t trying to kill you?”

“No. That’s not it..”

Shea folded her arms, shut her mouth and glared down at the pavement. “Oh. I get it. If another girl were here then it would be per-”

Calvin took hold of her jaw and turned her face to his. She shut her eyes and met with his lips, then boomeranged her arm around the back of his neck, tugging him closer and kissing him deeper. They finished kissing, but left their noses squished together.

“Now it’s perfect,” said Calvin.

“So,” Shea said, then gulped. “What now?”

“We leave. Together.”

“For the night?”

“Forever.”

Shea laughed. “That’s…” She quit laughing. “Perfect.”

A yellow cab pulled up and parked by the curb.

Calvin took Shea by the hand, and the two stood.

“What about them? The gun? The murder plot?” said Shea.

“Forget it. They can’t hurt me if I leave.”

Shea’s freckled cheeks lifted from her smile.

“You two ready?” said the cab driver, out the window.

“I’m ready,” said Calvin. “Are you ready?”

“Yea,” said Shea. “I’m ready.”

Calvin opened the door for Shea, whose hands stayed linked together at her waist as she continuously swerved her hips.

“Aren’t you coming?” said Calvin.

“Oh, yeah,” Shea said

“Well… what are you waiting for?”

My moment,” Shea said. “I’m cherishing it.”

“Yo, got a job here guys,” said the cab driver.

“One second,” said Calvin, before returning to Shea. “I’m glad, but we really should get away before your husband tries to kill me.”

Shea laughed, then nodded. She stepped closer, kissed Calvin on the cheek, then giggled as she lowered her head and entered the cab. Calvin came in, shut the door, then held her hand.

“Where to?” said the driver.

They looked to one another. “Anywhere but here,” said Calvin.

“And step on it!” said Shea.

The cab driver shook his head. “You got it folks… hope you ain’t maxed out already.” He started off, and they were on their way.

“Wait!” said Shea.

The driver slammed the brakes.

She turned to Calvin. “The knife!”

“What about it?”

“I have to go back.”

“What? Why?”

Shea reached over him for the handle, shoved the door open, then crawled over his lap, stumbled onto the sidewalk and rushed back toward the nightclub.

“Just wait for me, I’ll be thirty seconds!” She called over her shoulder.

“What’s your wife doin’?” said the driver.

“That’s not my…” Calvin shook his head. “I don’t know. She’ll be right back, though.”

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

CLICK HERE FOR PART 7!

Too Perfect Marriage – Part 5

club

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Brody stood behind Bridgette in the VIP section of the dance club. They watched Calvin get pummeled by a big man with a gold chain. Calvin and Shea escaped the club through the back door.

Bridgette spun around, and her lips were inches from Brody.

“So you had to do that?”

“Not a great time for cold feet, Bridgette!”

“Obviously,” she said, then crossed her arms. “But he’s the dad of my kids, it sucks to watch him get hurt… you better not be friends with that thug, animals like that disgusts me.”

Brody smiled and put his hand on Bridgette’s shoulder, then massaged her neck as he spoke. “H-hey, relax B-ridge. People will do anything for a fee, a love for the Benjamin’s is all I have in common with him.”

“Stop pretending, nobody can hear you but me… so why did you have him beat Calvin up?”

Brody released Bridgette, swatted the air with his hand then walked away. Bridgette scurried after him until they sat down on a sofa together.

“Don’t get snappy with me,” she said, then folded her arms.

Brody groaned. “We’ve been over this. They both needed to leave the club.”

“Duh, I know.”

“When Shea comes back in, you better be ready,” he said, then faced her with his brow deep over his eyes.

“They might leave together… I think they know-”

“She won’t.”

“Yeah but-”

“I took care of it,” said Brody. “She’ll be back inside.” He shoved Bridgette in the side with his forearm, forcing her to scoot. He shook his head as he reached for a concealed holster and took a revolver out.

“Hide that thing!” she said. “What if someone sees?”

“Your husband already did, thanks to your stupidity.”

Bridgette folded her arms, then shut her eyes and scratched her forehead. “So… did you bring the knife?”

Brody groaned, then got up from the couch and tapped one of his workers from the dealership on the shoulder. He smiled big. “Hey, having a blast?”

“Yeah, this place rocks!”

“Phenomenal! Hey, be a rock-solid guy and hand me Shea’s purse? Thanks guy.”

“Sure,” said the employee. He grabbed it from the tall table and handed it to Brody.

Brody returned to the sofa, opened the purse, then handed a steak knife to Bridgette. A napkin concealed the blade.

“You know what to do,” said Brody.

Bridgette bit her lips. “Is divorce really so bad?”

Brody curled his fingers into a fist. He glared straight ahead as he spoke through a dark whisper. “We’re a family first company. Divorce would crush my reputation. Marrying a widow, that’s a different story.”

Bridgette gulped.

“Grab Shea when she comes in.” He squeezed Bridgette’s hand. “Do this right, we can stop hiding.”

Bridgette nodded, then leaned in to him with her lips pushed out.

Brody caught her face with his palm, then sniffed. “You said you quit.”

“Calvin made me smoke.”

“You don’t listen to Calvin, you listen to me.” Brody pushed her away, then stood and stuck his finger in her face. “Get Shea.”

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

CLICK HERE FOR PART 6!

Too Perfect Marriage – Part 4

club

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

“I had breakfast with Bridgette’s dad this morning.”

Shea quit smiling. Calvin walked around her and pushed through the dancers.

“Calvin, wait!” said Shea.

He split a couple apart and continued on. His eyes darted around the place, but it was hard to identify his wife with the rapid flash of strobe lights. Music pounded through the speakers. Sweaty bodies were everywhere – but where was Bridgette?

Calvin spotted a few of his wife’s work friends. They climbed the stairs. At the front of the pack strode Bridgette and Brody. It looked like they could be holding hands, but other patrons blocked his view.

“Dammit,” he said, standing on his toes.

Someone grabbed Calvin by the wrist.

“Shea, what does that look-”

The moment he whirled around, a fist came flying at his face. Calvin ducked down and narrowly dodged the flying knuckles. It came from a big fella wearing an extra large black shirt, gold chain around his neck.

“What the hell!” said Shea.

Big fella swung again, and socked Calvin in the stomach. Calvin fell back a few steps.

“Stop!” Said Shea.

“Ain’t about you girl,” said big fella.

Calvin lifted his gaze – bouncers were storming over and parting the dancers.

“Look me in the eye you little bitch.” Big fella cracked his knuckles.

“Who are you?” said Calvin.

Big fella grabbed a fistful of Calvin’s shirt.

“Calvin!” said Shea.

Big fella cocked his arm back and delivered another blow into Calvin’s cheek. When he reloaded for another punch, Calvin shot out his arm, grabbed his gold chain, then twisted it until Big Fella began to choke. Big Fella dropped to his knees and dug his fingers between his chain and neck, struggling to breathe.

Big Fella ripped the chain himself, and the pieces landed on the floor.

“You done it,” he said, then stood and slugged Calvin across the face

Calvin landed in a dive on the dance floor, pushing the legs out from those around him. He hurried onto his back, and found Big Fella pouncing to clobber him. Calvin brought his knee into his chest, then kicked Big Fella right in the teeth. Backlash sent big fella bending and twisting over in the opposite direction.

Bouncers tore through the crowd, pointing at Calvin.

Calvin sprung to his feet and grabbed Shea by the hand. He rushed toward the backdoor, using his front wrist to strong-arm through the dancers.

“Why did he attack you?” said Shea.

“You think I know?”

Calvin checked over his shoulder for the bouncers, and got an unexpected glance of Bridgette and Brody. Calvin stopped in his tracks.

Shea ran into him. He turned her around, then held her with his forearm wrapped around her neck.

“What are you-”

Shea followed the point of his finger. Brody leaned over Bridgette from behind the top balcony, with his hands holding the bar in front of her abdomen.

“Oh my God,” said Shea.

The bouncers were making headway through the crowd.

“Let’s go,” said Calvin. He charged toward the back door and yanked Shea along with him. He kicked it open, and the two barged into a crowd of smokers.

“Waddup?” said a smoker.

Calvin noticed the four men encircling him had baggy shirts and chain necklaces.

“Your face looks like pizza got stomped on.” said one of them.”Who you runnin’ from?”

“Nobody. Let me bum one.”

They scoffed. One of them handed him a cigarette.

Calvin lit up, then sucked the black ash into his lungs.

“What just happened?” said Shea. She coughed and looked away.

“You don’t smoke?”

She eyeballed the cigarette. “Not anymore.”

Shea plucked the cigarette from his lips, then jammed it in her own. She treated it like it were a CPR victim, and killed it in no time. Shea coughed, bent over and pressed her hand to her chest.

Calvin pat her on the back and helped her straighten up. “Hey,” he said. “You okay?”

“Am I okay? Don’t you think they’re cheating on us?”

“I don’t know.”

“We’re getting cuckolded… my life’s over.” Shea spun around and reached for the door. Calvin grabbed her by the wrist then tugged her back.

“That guy attacked me for no reason.”

“I know, I’m sorry but-”

“Don’t go in there.”

“My husband’s in there.”

“Bridgette can be sinister. She goes out without me, but something changed her mind tonight. I don’t think it’s love.”

“Calvin-”

“Bridgette brought a gun. Maybe Brody’s got it now. Does your husband know how to use one?”

“Oh my God,” she lifted her head and stared back into his eyes.

“What?”

“The knife,” said Shea. She checked him up and down, then pushed her hand into his chest and walked away.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

CLICK HERE FOR PART 5!