Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rusty Pails #25
Heck's Hot Tub

by Rocky Macy

Heck Frye is our town’s eternal playboy. From the lacquered buttons on his polyester overalls to the permanent wave in his temporary hairpiece, my pal is a work of art!

I was returning from an auction one afternoon last week when I decided to pull into Heck’s place and see why he had missed the sale. Heck heard the “Rust Bucket” before I could get her shut down, and he yelled for me to join him around back.

As I rounded the corner of Heck’s sun washed mobile home, I ran headlong into a sight that would have slowed a runaway freight train. There, on the rickety old back porch that Heck calls a deck, sat Sprung Hinge’s second biggest fool bubbling in a vat of boiling water!

Somehow I managed to climb the steps and park my frame in an old lawn chair without taking my eyes off of the spectacle. Deciding that the obvious couldn’t be ignored, I asked, “What in tarnation are you doing?”

“I’m hot-tubbing. It’s the latest thing!”

“Ain’t you afraid that your necklace will rust?” I was referring to the three strands of chain that were looped around his neck.

“Why this is eight-karat gold, Rusty. Gold cain’t rust.” He adjusted his mirror sunglasses and reached for the thermos. “Say, would you like some herbal tea?”

The blare of Esther Pearl’s horn split the air before I could answer. “Quick, Rusty, throw me the towel!”

“What’s the fuss?” I laughed and took the towel down from the porch railing. “Esther’s seen you in your swim trunks before.”

“Don’t you know nuthin’, Rusty Pails?” Heck slid across the tub and made a grab for the towel, but missed. “Us experienced hot-tubbers don’t wear trunks!”

I flung the towel to the far side of the porch and hollered for Esther to come on back. Somehow I knew the fun was just getting underway!

Esther climbed the steps and plopped down in the chair next to Heck’s tub. He’d been sweating before, but now the old pores had really opened up. While Esther was busy discussing hot tubs with the captive Mr. Frye, I strolled off into the kitchen.

Heck knew he’d been had when I walked back out carting an armload of vegetables and two kitchen knives. “That’s not funny!” he shouted.

“Do you have plans for supper, Esther?”

“Why, no,” she chortled as she caught on to his predicament. “But I’m willing to help. I’ll slice carrots while you dice the potatoes.”

“No!” Heck screamed.

“No need to be impolite.” Esther kept a straight face as she whacking carrot slices into the brew faster than Heck could throw them out.

“That’s right, buddy.” I held a potato and knife over the tub. “What’s wrong with being stewed anyway? Many’s the time I’ve been Fryed!”

Leastways, that’s how I see it!

Auction Tip: If you are a collector, let the local auctioneers know what your interests are. Most will be glad to notify you when items that you collect are coming up for sale.

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