Sunday 29 September 2019

The Stone

by NT Franklin

cool beer

Mike woke up from his regularly scheduled 10 a.m. nap and sauntered out to the deck. He stretched, looked to the left, and did a double take.

Without taking his eyes off the offending stone, he yelled, “Lily, there’s a big rock on the edge of the water feature. Who put it there?”

“I’m cooking,” came the reply from the kitchen.

“I’m gonna move it.”

On her way out to the deck, Lily muttered “Oh, Lord.”

“Right there,” said Mike, pointing.

Lily arrived next to Mike on the deck. “Where?”

“Right there! Next to the other rock,” said Mike, pointing emphatically.

“It’s a water feature. It’s ringed with big rocks. Bobby built it for you last year. Don’t you remember?”

“The one that is twice as big as the others.”

Lily wiped her hands on the dish towel before she spoke. “Been there the whole time. Don’t you have a golf tee time or something?”

Mike paced back and forth as Lily headed back to the kitchen. “I’m gonna move it.”

“Bobby and the grandkids will be over for supper tonight,” she called over her shoulder. “Why not ask him to help?”

“I’m gonna move it.”

She shook her head. With forty-five years of marriage comes experience. “Don’t do it alone. Call a professional.”

Mike smiled. “Okay, I’ll call Chad, he’s up for anything.”

“He’s a retired dentist. You know what I mean by a professional,” came the voice from the kitchen.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“I heard that!”

The call to Chad was brief. “I’m on my way," was all Chad said.

The two stood in the yard and studied the water feature.

Chad rubbed his bald head. “Ya know, you said the rock was big, but this is really big. Think we can move it?”

“I dunno. I wouldn’t be able to alone. Let’s give it a try.”

They both pushed on one side. “Oof. Going nowhere,” Mike said.

Chad straightened up. “Ya know, Jimmy was a landscaper. Let’s get him.”

He was trimming the hedge when the two arrived. After listening to them, he put the shears down. “Let’s do this. I’ll bring a crowbar.”

“Good,” Mike said. “Shouldn’t you tell Jean you’re leaving?”

Jimmy glanced back at the house. “Probably not.”

“Yeah, just as well,” Mike said.

Chad nodded in agreement.

Jimmy surveyed the water feature. “Looks okay to me.”

Mike put his foot on the largest rock. “This one’s gotta be moved.”

Jimmy adjusted his hat. “Well then, moved it will be.”

Jimmy manned the crowbar while the other two pushed. Slowly the stone was moved out of the way. Jimmy sat on it. “There. Done.”

Mike shook his head. “Nope, not far enough.” He pointed four feet away.

“You got beer, right?” Jimmy asked.

“Yup. Once the stone is moved farther.”

The three of them pushed and pried grunted until the stone reached the appointed location.

“Now?” Asked Jimmy.

Mike nodded. “Yup. Done.”

“Good job all,” Chad chimed in.

“To the Fisherman’s Diner, lunch is on me,” Mike proclaimed.

At the outdoor seating area, Mike leaned back in his chair and took in the ocean breeze. “Lily said I needed to call a professional. I called two.”

The men nodded in agreement. The banter quieted down when the fish and chips plates arrived along with Jimmy’s beer.

After a coffee and solving the world’s problems, Mike looked at the other two.

“Been an eventful day, professionals, I’m gonna shove off and catch some golf on television and then rest. Bobby and the grandkids are coming over tonight. Keeping up with the young ones is tiring.”

Lily jostled Mike. “Go take a nap. Golf is over. You’ve been ‘watching’ an infomercial for the past ten minutes.”

“Probably right. Let me know when the kids are here.”

The grandkids mobbed Lily when they arrived. They were always content helping Granma in the kitchen.

“Where’s Dad?” Bobby asked.

“Napping. He had a busy day and was all tired out. Don’t wake him just yet.”

As usual, Bobby strolled out to the deck to take in the view, then returned to the kitchen.

“Mom, can you mind them for just a bit?”

“Yes, though I’m not sure who is minding who here.”

Bobby returned about ten minutes later, just in time to wash up for supper. “I see sleeping beauty has arisen.” He took a deep breath, seeing the spread on the table. “Ham, sweet potatoes, cabbage, my favorites.”

“Sit down everyone,” Lily said.

Dishes were passed around.  “Might as well leave the sweet potato dish right in front of me,” Bobby said.

He spooned a giant portion onto his plate. “Oh, Dad, I noticed one of the water feature stones was moved. I moved it back where it belongs. No need to thank me, I’ll take my payment in sweet potatoes.”

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