Archive for November, 2014

Bill, Judy, Doug, and Annie by Steve Miller

Nov 13 2014 Published by under Stories

Excluding holidays, almost every Friday evening for the last year, Bill has had plans. He and his wife, Judy, play board games with another couple, their friends, Doug and Annie. The first Friday of the month, the game is Scrabble. The second Friday, it’s Monopoly. The third, Scrabble again. And the fourth is a wild card. Who chooses the wild card rotates, as does the couple in charge of snacks and refreshments. Bill’s wild card is usually Trivial Pursuit, which he usually wins, but not always. He’s seriously weak when it comes to the Arts and Entertainment category. Judy prefers Operation. Doug likes Connect Four, and Annie likes Clue. One time on wild card night, she insisted everyone dress up as a Clue character. She was Mrs. Peacock.

The couples had moved into the same neighborhood down the street from each other, one right after the other. One day, Bill was out mowing the lawn, cross cutting it a second time in order to make checks, like on a baseball field. Doug’s weed whacker was dead. He used this as an excuse to introduce himself to his new neighbor. Bill happily lent his new friend his weed whacker, and he went ahead and gave him a bag of commercial grade fertilizer and a broadcaster to apply it. When Doug promised to pay Bill back, Bill told him, “Don’t sweat it, man.”

Judy and Annie work together at the drywall plant, but they don’t work on the line. Each was fast to point this out to the other the day they officially introduced themselves in the cafeteria. “I’m an accountant,” Judy explained. “But I wasn’t always. My psych degree only got me so far, like assistant manager of curtains and drapes at Penney’s. So I went back to school.”

Annie is a database programmer. “How long have you done that?” Judy asked.

Annie said, “Since college. Almost ten years.”

Then they both admitted that they’d watched each other a bit since moving in. They laughed. Annie invited Judy and Bill over for dinner. She said, “That fertilizer sure perked up our lawn right away. Doug couldn’t believe how friendly Bill was.”

Last week it was an angle grinder, a pipe wrench, and an aerator. The week before it was a power washer, a jigsaw, and a leaf blower. What will Doug want to borrow this week? Maybe Bill will refuse.

Steven Ray Miller is from Colorado. A long time ago, he earned an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He currently enjoys living in Milwaukee where he teaches composition at the local technical college. He and his super smart wife have two dogs, pug mixes named Otis T. Pooch and Edgar Von HuffNPuff. Steve’s garden is small and sometimes successful.

One response so far