“Come on in, Jacob. I’m really glad you could make it.” I ushered in our guest and turned to call out, “Honey? Jacob’s here.” I heard some noise from the back of the house and figured my wife was responding with something negative. I’ll have to admit I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had just met Jacob in a bar the night before and, somehow, we just seemed to hit it off. I had invited him over, offering to barbecue some steaks and he had accepted.
“Come on out onto the back porch, Jacob, I’ve got the coals going and a cooler of beer out there.” As I led him through the house to the sliding glass door, I motioned down the hallway. “You’ve never met my wife, right? She’ll be out in a while. Our daughter’s only two months old and can’t handle this heat and humidity.”
We stepped out onto the back porch and I pulled two beers from the cooler. As he took one from me he said, “What’s wrong with your air conditioning?”
I popped the top on my beer and said, “Ah, it hasn’t worked since we moved here, two weeks ago. We have to keep all the windows open in our daughter’s room and run the fan all the time to keep it cool enough for her.”
Jacob had just opened his beer and he took a deep pull on it. “Where’s your phone?”
“Your phone, where is it? I own an AC service. Get me a phone and you’ll have cold air in no time.” I stood there a moment trying to absorb what he was saying and he said, “Come on, boy, where’s your phone?”
I led him inside, pointed, and listened as he spoke, “You and Frank pile everything into your truck you’ll need to fix an AC.” There was a pause and then he said, “I don’t know what kind it is, just get out here to 322 Laurel Drive and fix it. If you two ain’t here in fifteen minutes, you’re outta work.”
He hung up the phone and turned to smile at me. “No problem, Max.”
I stood there as he took another pull on his beer, crushed the can, and tossed it into the trash. “Well?” I stood there not quite certain what he was saying until he said, “Well, git me ‘nother beer.” As I walked out onto the porch he picked up the phone again. Walking back in I heard him say, “Come on over here, Mildred, this family needs help.” Another pause. “No, not that kind of help, leave your Bible and the kids and git over here. Theys got a two month-old daughter that’s been living in the heat for several weeks. She’s gonna need your care. Good.”
He hung up the phone, took the beer I held out for him, opened it, and sucked down at least half of it. “Everything’s good. Melvin and Frank’ll be here in no time and have that AC running. Mildred’ll be here... oh, you ever met Mildred, my old woman? No? That’s okay, everybody loves her. She’ll be here in no time to show your lady how to get the kid used to this place.”
We walked back out onto the porch and he crushed his beer can, tossed it into the trash, and reached into the cooler to grab another on. “You ready?” he asked me. I nodded and he tossed me a beer. He opened his, sucked down at least of half of it, and said, “You got any youngins other than the daughter?”
“Uh, yes, one son.”
“Good, we’ll all take him and the girl and our kids out to the xxxxx this weekend.”
I wasn’t sure I heard him right. “The xxxxx?”
He drained the last of his beer, crushed the can, tossed it into the trash, and reached into the cooler for another. “You ready?” I still had a full beer, so shook my head. (Was that a look of disdain on his face?) He opened the beer, drank for a long time, and said, “Sure, every Saturday we gather up the kids and go out to the xxxxx. It’s like a big picnic. All the kids play, we throw a slab of ribs on the grill, drink a bunch of beer, and have fun watching xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.”
* * *
I just can’t go any further. I’m trying to hide the “event” and, if I add anything else, it’s going to give away something. That’s all you get for this prompt, Greg.
Create a character that leaps off the page, someone we can love, hate, envy and laugh at.
- Post your article to Gather Writing Essentials.
- Tag your submission with MWE.
- Tag your submission with "Character".
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