Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rusty Pails #12
Shadetree Mike Moves In

by Rocky Macy

When Ermine’s mother, “The Duke,” comes to visit, it’s usually only a matter of minutes before the Dean of Dominoes shows up, bag and baggage, on my front stoop. It happened again just last Saturday.

“Why she always has to storm the beach on Saturdays is beyond me, Rusty.” Shadetree Mike, one of the world’s finer examples of success-without-sweat, dropped his luggage at my feet and made a beeline for the coffee pot.

“Come in,” I said, watching Mike root through the cabinet for a clean cup.

“The woman has no consideration!” Setting his full cup of steaming coffee aside to cool, Mike took the lid off of the skillet and began poking through what was left of breakfast. Somehow I knew that the old tomcat who panhandles my neighborhood every morning would miss out on his sausage today. Between mouthfuls, Mike continued, “No consideration at all! Saturday is my busiest day!”

My mind nearly stripped its gears trying to conjure up an image of Mike busy on any day. “Would you like a plate?” I offered, as he reached into the cabinet and pulled one from the bottom of the stack.

“The woman’s a menace, Rusty!” Mike yelled through the Melmac avalanche that was pouring from the cabinet. He emptied the contents of the skillet onto his plate, and wading through the dishes, made his way over to the couch. “Say, Rusty, what time does the big game start?”

Taking my cue, I turned on the television. After adjusting the rabbit ears and carrying Mike’s coffee in from the kitchen, I asked rather stupidly if he needed anything else.

“You got any popcorn, Rusty? A game just ain’t a game without popcorn.”

“No, I don’t, Mike, but I’ll rush right out and get some.” The starch in my collar was beginning to melt.

“And root beer. None of that canned stuff. Real root beer – in a bottle!”

“Be right back,” I promised, grabbing my hat and heading for the door. I bolted from the porch into the fresh morning air with every intention of coming back – say about Tuesday!

Somewhere out there Heck Frye was wanting me to drop by and take him to a sale. Or maybe Judge Rufus T. Redbone was looking for a co-conspirator for one of his addle-brained schemes. (A day with a politician would be better than being Shadetree Mike’s personal maid.) If all else failed, I might even take in a movie with Ermine and “The Duke” – then we could all enjoy our day off together!

Are you listening, Ermine?

Auction Tip: Never let yourself be intimidated into bidding more for an item that you think it is worth. Remember, you’re there to purchase merchandise at the best possible price, not to impress people with your spending ability.

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