“So, Shirley, anything exciting happen at work today?” Aunt Winnie dropped a boiled potato onto my plate. I thought back to the blast. My ears were still ringing. That and I had a rock in my gut at being benched for a couple weeks.
“No, not really.” No point in upsetting either of them. They already worried about me too much.
“Wait a second,” Haley said, “weren’t you demolishing that old financial building in Newark today?”
“Well, tell us about it,” Winnie jumped in.
“Not much to say, really. We all had a blast and then everything fell apart.”
Aunt Winnie laughed.
Haley rolled her eyes. “God, Shirley, you’re even worse than Pa was.”
I gave her a smug grin.
“Well, just as long as you came back with all your fingers and toes,” Winnie reached across the table to touch my hand. “Really, Shirley, I wish you could find another job.”
“Well, it’s not like my resume screams, ‘hire me!’. Who else is going to give me a job? I’m lucky to have this one.”
Truth was, I liked working at the yard. Construction gave me a chance to build stuff. I mean, you gotta love the feeling of looking up at a thirty-story building and saying, “I made that–at least part of it.” And the demo jobs. Well, that just gave me a chance to be a kid again. Every boy loves jamming a firecracker in a Lego house and running for cover. I just got paid to do it.
“How bout you, Haley?” I said with a mouthful of green bean casserole. “You got any ‘one’, I mean, ‘thing’ new you want to tell us about?” I pointed the back end of my spoon at her hoodie, “Like, maybe, where you bought that sweatshirt?”
Haley glared playfully.
“Yes, tell us, Haley.”
“I’m just asking ’cause I might want to get my hands on one of those. You know, take a trip up to Temple, see what else they got.” I don’t know what I was thinking.
Her glare dropped its playfulness. “Shirley, don’t.”
“What?” I tried to play it off.
“Know what? I just want a sweatshirt.”
“Can you just not?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just kinda chilly. Are you chilly Aunt Winnie?”
“I am feeling a draft,” Winnie said. She got up to shut the window.
“I’m chilly. I think I outta go out tonight and get me a couple Temple sweatshirts.”
I dropped my fork and knife into the plate and pushed back from the table.
“Okay, Shirley, that’s enough.”
“Alright, alright,” I sat back down and picked up my fork. There was silence as we sawed into our pork chops.
Then, when I couldn’t hold back any longer, I looked up at Haley. “I really like that cologne,” I said. “Do they sell that too?”
“Oh, come on!” Haley yelled, throwing a balled up napkin at me.
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – R