ADAPTATION PART 1
PAGES 5 WORDS 1015
God, my limbs itch. You’d think just once those damned bugs would pick on something else. What’s that? Oh Christ, no . . . not those pea-brained howlers, again. I really hate those furry bastards. All they do is eat my fruit then shit all over me.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what the hell can I do besides stand here and take it? Had I only gotten religion, yeah, right, religion?
“Recession, sporadic layoffs, the town’s largest industry cutting its work force by thirty percent and I wonder why I can’t get a decent night’s sleep,” was Ben Willard’s rationalization of his restless nights since his wife’s passing nearly seven months ago.
Six months ago, to assuage his grief and get a fresh start, he placed his house on the market. Over the next few months he experienced several inquiries, and a few showings, but found, that as the recession worsened, so did the interest in his house. During the last month he pulled it from the listings with the hope of placing it back on the market come spring.
Ben tossed and turned violently, waking himself. He sat up, wiped the sweat from his wrinkled forehead. Must be the damned anchovy pizza and beer I had before I went to bed. He looked forlornly at the radio clock’s glowing numerals. Jesus H. Christ, it’s only four A. M. Figures a day I could sleep in, I can’t.
He lay back, tried to recapture some sleep, but finding this impossible, begrudgingly clicked on the lamp atop the night stand, reading until he heard the sound of the morning newspaper hitting the wooden front porch.
He rose slowly and after putting on his pajama top, left the bedroom and walked down the darkened hallway into the bathroom. Duty to God and country finished, he lumbered downstairs, went to the front porch, picked up the paper and made his way to the kitchen.
Coffee in hand, package of half-eaten Twinkies on a small plate, he sat back in his chair to read the newspaper. Three cups of black coffee and four Twinkies later, he put the paper down, looked at the kitchen clock. Hmmn, eight o’clock, now what do I want . . .
The phone rang. Ben walked over, picked up the receiver. “Hello. Yes, I’m him. Pardon? No. I’m sorry, but I pulled the house from the market three weeks ago. I’m positive.
“Jerk! Jesus that’s the sixth damn call about the house since Friday: where the hell were you people three weeks ago? Ben looked at his watch. “Well might as well shower, got several errands to run this morning before college football starts this afternoon.”
Wincing with every step due to bad knees, Ben walked up the stairs and upon reaching the top went into the bathroom. He looked at his reflection in the mirror, shook his head. Damn, your face looks like you’re putting on weight old man. Gotta cut back on the Twinkies. Stripped, he stepped into the shower’s warmth. It lifted his spirits.
Dressed, Ben went downstairs to feed his three cats when the phone rang. “Hello. Yes, speaking. Pardon? No, it’s not for sale. I pulled it off the market listing myself. Good day.” Moron!
“No calls for weeks and now two in one hour. Typical, the good ole’ Ben Willard luck in action.” He looked at the kitchen clock, turned his attention to his cats, calling each by name. He could hear their padded footsteps on the wooden steps. “There you guys are. What the hell were you going to do…sleep in all day?” The cats purred and meowed. “All right, all right, “Ben said, giving the cats their food. He looked at the kitchen clock a second time. Damn better get a move on if you want to be home before one P.M.
Ben spent the next few hours going from one store to another, fighting the typical Saturday morning traffic, complicated by the seemingly endless driving around for a good parking spot at the Super Walmart, Home Depot and Shoprite before one enters each establishment. Shopping mercifully over, Ben drove home.
Tired, thirsty and hungry – having finished putting everything away – he was contently rummaging through the refrigerator when the phone rang. Somewhat annoyed, Ben answered it. “Hello, yes it is. Oh? I’m sorry, it’s not. What? Where? On the corner of the fence? Well if it is, it’s a mistake. No, believe me my house is not for sale!”
Ben hung up the phone and quickly walked outside and down his sidewalk, stopping where the sidewalk met the garden fence. “Damn! No wonder I didn’t see it. The garage faces the opposite direction, besides its mid-November. I’d have no reason to be out in the garden.” He looked at the sign:
House for Sale
“What the hell? Christ, this isn’t the realty company I used before. Son-of-a-bitch! I’ll get to the bottom of this, but first I’m taking down this damned sign before I call the bastards.”
Sign propped up against his right leg, Ben took out his cell phone and called the number only to hear a taped message telling of the agency’s business hours:”Damn it, now I’ll have to wait until Monday to get to the bottom of this.”
Realizing there was nothing more he could do and with the sign now tucked under his arm, he walked into his house. At least there won’t be any more calls. I can enjoy my football in peace. But as he watched television, he began thinking of why the sign was there. Prank by some delinquents. No, no. That’s it, has to be. One of Jameson’s staff must have mistaken 420 Willow Drive for 420 Willow Run. Has to be. No sense worrying about it anymore. Come Monday I’ll know the reason.
Monday morning found Ben Willard, sign under his arm, entering Jameson Realty. He walked toward the receptionist — a petite woman somewhere in her early twenties – who said, in a polite voice: “Good morning, sir, how may I help you?”
© 2016, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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