She said, “I swear I’ll get you that Piltdown Man lunchbox (with the detachable jawbone Thermos, nowadays sold separately) if only you’ll crack my back without the assistance of golf shoes.”
I, of course, made my clenched-teeth promises right back at her.
“Yes, I will do that for you. Right this way, miss!” I said.
My fingers were crossed. Golf shoes were stowed away in my knapsack with the lazily recorked bottle of five-dollar champagne and the cheap-wine-stained Dixie Cups from a former misadventure into a theme park built entirely for the benefit of hobos and ragtime-enthusiastic ex-Soviets.
No, I didn’t see the connection, either. Not until they checked my border pass. By then, it was too late (for both confused parties). Security couldn’t catch us, but it still seemed like we couldn’t run fast enough. How embarrassing for everyone to be awful at everything!
Slack Of All Trades, Bastard Of Less. Anyway. Were we talking about golf shoes and spinal readjustments? I apologize. Remind me never to mix coffee with NyQuil again.
My desire to see her suffer (again) for long-past transgressions that really amounted to nothing more than careless oversights induced by sleepless nights ensured that I was the villain in this motion picture. I guess, because you’re feeling sorry for her, she’s become a sort of anti-heroine. And that’s fine. I’ll give you that much.
When she wasn’t looking, the golf shoes went on. I’d rehearsed the method of their quickest donning for hours in front of a mirror, studying every nuance I could muster that would expedite the task before me. I was Travis Bickle on fast forward, but would I be fast enough? The lunchbox would be mine, I thought, and I would not fulfill the obligation of our contract! My heart beating like a poorly calibrated metronome didn’t help a thing, however.
With the first shoe on, the second should have been a cinch. It is to my disgrace that I dropped it on my sock-clad foot and howled in pain as one of the sharp metal cleats thrust through my big toe, effectively nailing me to the once-spotless linoleum floor.
Alerted to my betrayal, she scowled and hit me over the head with the coveted lunchbox, marching away in disgust. Back in those days, they made the damned things out of metal, so the damage to my noggin was admittedly more severe than you might imagine.
But she left the Thermos behind, so at least I got something out of the whole ordeal.