by Rocky Macy
On those rare occasions when I need any of my tools, I head straight over to Heck Frye’s place to “re-borrow” them. It rained last night, and now that I knew where the new leaks in my roof were, I felt obligated to fix them. My ladder, of course, was at Heck’s.
Heck has been painting his barn for about three years, and it is nearly half-finished. I ain’t saying that he’s lazy, because saying that would demean the word “lazy.” Heck just works at his own pace, which most days is just a tad north of dead!
“It’s out behind the barn, Rusty.” He said as we headed out through the weeds toward is multi-colored barn. Somehow I knew that my expensive, twenty-four foot, solid aluminum, extension ladder would be outside in the weather.
I was watching the ground, looking for snakes of other earth-bound varmints in the weeds, as we stepped around to the backside of the barn. He must have been focused on his feet as well, because neither of us had the sense to look up.
As we reached the ladder, Heck grabbed it and tried to lower the extension. “It’s stuck. Give me a hand here, Rusty.” I grabbed onto the ladder to help, but just as I did a little
panicky voice in my head asked why a perfectly good ladder should be stuck to the barn.
Heck and I looked up at the same time. There, fifteen feet or so directly above our heads, was a two-gallon hornet’s nest cementing the top of the ladder to the barn. We could see dozens of mad hornets launching out of the nest and heading straight toward us!
“Run, fool!” We yelled in unison. I headed right, Heck fled left, and we collided in front of the barn. The hornets were still bombing us!
“The house!” Heck Screamed.
“My truck’s closer!” I screamed back.
We flung ourselves into the cab of my old pickup, the Rust Bucket, and took stock of our situation. I had taken on hit on the arm, and a know that a rattlesnake bite would have been less painful! Heck had been stung on the arm and the lip. His lip was already beginning to swell. He wouldn’t be doing much romancing for a while!
I started up the truck and headed off toward town. As we passed my place, Heck finally asked where we were headed.
“Hardware store!” I snapped angrily. “I’ve gotta get me a ladder!”
“Rusty, you’ve got a perfectly good ladder at my place. Don’t you think that buying a new one is kind of an extravagance?”
“I’m not buying it, buddy. You are!”
Heck had the good sense not to argue – probably because he could see that I was madder than a hornet!