Old Mack’s Tales

August 10, 2011

Yesterday: A Fine Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 2:40 am

Yesterday: A Fine Day

It wasn’t as hot or as humid as the day before. But when I stepped barefoot and in my skivvies into the wet grass out back to keep my eye on Walter while he emptied his bladder into Leo’s yard through the chain-link fence, I was attacked by a cloud of mosquitoes. I hollered at Walter and ran back into the kitchen. I nearly caught Walter’s  snout as I was closing the door. He came in, head down, tail tucked, looking up with those liquid dark eyes as if to ask what he’d done wrong. I patted Walter’s head, felt his velvety ears and scratched his chest. It’s not your fault, Walter. I’m allergic to mosquito bites. Walter wagged his tail, tentatively for a moment and then headed for the water bowl.

Half a dozen bites had already swollen to the size of robin’s eggs by the time I got into the bathroom and located the Benedryl Gel. I slathered them with the goop. The whole time I was cussing myself for going outdoors nearly naked on the eighth of August. Walter stopped lapping water and looked at me; his expression was one of bewilderment: What pissed the old man off now?

I sprayed myself with Deep-Woods Off before dressing, to ward off the few mosquitoes that got in before I could slam the door. I was remembering sequentially all the places I’d been where mosquitoes were so thick they could blacken the walls of buildings. Places like Anchorage, Beeville, Texas, and Old Orchard Beach in Maine. By comparison we have relatively few of the pests and, if the county still has the funds to spare, they’ll soon send out the mosquito suppression squads. I was dressed and sipping my first cup of coffee when the phone rang.

My wife was calling from The Retreat to tell me that the doctor told her she needed four or five more days. I tried to put the best face on it.

“It’s not such a bad place, is it?”

“Oh no. They just finished remodeling the building and this wing is like new. My room is almost as big as the library where you and Allison visited me . . . night before last?”

“Last night, Chris. The place looks new and cleaner than most hotels. And you have plenty of company, people to talk to. Here it’s just me and the dogs. . .”

“You’re right. I have friends here. Some of them are as smart as you are and we have some very interesting discussions. Yesterday . . . Did I mention Arnold? Arnold is a bi-polar stock broker. The recession threw him into a funk so he checked himself back in. Yesterday he gave our group a talk about the Standard & Poor’s downgrading the American credit rating from triple-A to double-A plus. He said it means that the credit card lenders will make more money. It won’t make it harder for the government to sell bonds. Is that right?”

“It’s simply part of the right-wing conspiracy to get Obama booted out of the White House by making him look incompetent. Read yesterday’s column by Paul Krugman. . . I’m sure glad I got out of that business.”

“The people I met in Portland who sold stocks were all a bunch of shysters or crooks. I’m glad you quit. We were pretty happy building boats and that big yacht for Don Hutson.  . .until that night I got attacked by the BART cop coming home from Richmond. That’s probably why the doctor said I should stay a while longer. I haven’t mentioned anything like that in the group sessions. . .”

“You’re in a good place right now. Enjoy it if you can. I’m okay here with the dogs. I haven’t killed any of them yet.”

“They are calling us to breakfast. I’ve got to run. I love you.”

She hung up before I could respond. I finished my cold coffee and went back to bed. Walter curled up on the floor, gave my bare feet a lick and we both slept until noon.

The End

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