Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rusty Pails #49: Welcome to the Game!

by Rocky Macy

After being pitched out of Gladys Clench's love nest on his birthday, Shadetree Mike spent a couple of weeks bouncing between friends until Ermine had his new digs ready.  It was a Friday afternoon when the word finally came that we could move Mike into his new home, and out of ours!  The following morning, a glorious Saturday, we were ready to get back to the very serious business of playing dominoes!

I was sitting out on my front porch waiting for Heck Frye when he came roaring down my lane, horn a' blowing, and slowed down just enough for me to jump in without dumping the platter of Rustwiches that I had whipped up for the special occasion.  I noticed that he had two large ice chests, presumably filled with cold root beer, bouncing around in the bed of his pick-up. 

Mike's place was a small, two-story affair.  He had chosen to put his bedroom downstairs, which meant that the domino parlor would be upstairs.  Ermine had been smart to make the second floor accessible from inside and outside, so guests did not have to wade through Mike's bedroom in order to get to the big game - never a pleasant prospect!

Heck made a quick lunge for the platter of Rustwiches as he stopped the truck, a maneuver that would have left me to lug the ice chests upstairs.  But knowing my friend as well as I do, I was too quick for him.  I snagged the plate of sandwiches and headed for the stairs, never looking back.

There were five chairs at the table, one each for Heck, Judge Rufus T. Redbone, Truman Treetopper, Shadetree Mike, and me.  That just about filled the room.   The others were already in place, and I sat at one of the two remaining seats making small talk while we waiting for Heck to come wheezing up the stairs and join us.  But I under-estimated my friend, because when he did make his entrance he was combing his Hollywood hairpiece and looking fresh as a daisy.

"Mr. Frye," said Shadetree Mike, "Welcome to the new Pump and Git.  The boys and I were just hankering for some cold root beer."

"It's on the way," Heck said, as he took his place at the table.  Now we were five - including four who couldn't wait to see how Heck was going to levitate two full ice chests up the stairs. 

The answer wasn't long in coming.   Before the plate of sandwiches had made its first lap around the table, a formidable presence appeared in the doorway.  Ermine's mother, The Duke, was pushing her way into the small room with an ice chest on each shoulder.  She managed to get both of the chests to the floor rather gracefully considering none of the flabbergasted males at the table jumped in to help.  Then she held out her hand to Heck, presumably for payment.

"Rusty will take care of you, darlin',"  Heck offered magnanimously.

The second most feared woman in Sprung Hinge turned toward me.  I jumped up, more out of fear than respect, and slapped a Rustwich in her outstretched hand.  The Duke looked at her tip. gave a nod that I hoped meant approval, and then strong-armed me out of the way and took my seat at the table.  She had usurped my throne - and nary a one of my friends made any move to intercede on my behalf.  That pack of lily-livered cowards commenced to play dominoes!

"Well of all the dag-goned nerve!"  I stammered as I turned on Heck and prepared to throw him out of the window.  But before I could reach the shiftless bum and get my hands around his throat, Shadetree Mike suggested that since I was up anyway, I should get everyone a root beer. 

I got everyone two root beers, hoping that sooner or later one of them would have to get up and go to the bathroom and then I could get back at the table.  Half-an-hour passed, really slowly for me, and still they sat.  I was beginning to think that some of my friends were wearing adult diapers!  It was like a bad game of musical chairs and I was the sour note.  I was sitting on the window ledge, watching a game that I should have been winning, and getting very, very perturbed!

But then I decided that if Mother Nature couldn't defeat them, maybe country smarts could.  I quit watching the game and turned to look out the window which offered a nice view of part of Sprung Hinge's Main Street.  A few minutes later I said, very quietly, "Well, I'll be."

"You'll be what?"  Judge Redbone asked.

"There's a new waitress walking into the Spit and Whittle Cafe."  Heck almost knocked me out of the window as he rushed forward to get a look, and as he stuck his head out the window for a clear view, I slapped his hairpiece causing it to fall to the ground two stories below.

"Rusty, that was just plain mean," he shouted as he whipped out his handkerchief to cover his bald spot (most of his head) before rushing out of the room to retrieve his personality.  "Mean, mean, mean!"  He roared as he tromped down the stairs.

I got a cold root beer for myself and sat down at the table.  Shadetree Mike looked at me and said, "Welcome to the game, Rusty." 

I was ready to play dominoes!

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