“Hey Tommy, it’s Billy.”
“Hey man, what’s up?”
“You finished with my chainsaw? I need it back.”
“Yeah, man, I’ll bring it right over.” Tommy began to bite his lip.
“No sweat. Be over in a few.”
Billy hung up the phone and went back in to the living room where his wife Maria was angrily changing channels.
“Are you getting the chainsaw back from that low-life Tommy?” Maria asked. “It’s been two weeks since the storm and you still haven’t cleared the yard. We have a dinner party next weekend and I will NOT have the yard looking like that.”
“I know, I know. Relax.” Billy muttered with more than a hint of aggravation.
“Don’t tell me to relax Billy!” Maria yelled.
She was on fire today, Billy thought as he beat a tactical retreat to the garage. When she’s in her moods he liked to be as far away from her as possible.
As he made his retreat he called over his shoulder, “Tommy’s on his way over now with my chainsaw. I’ll take care of it this afternoon my love!!”
The “my love” bit was a blatant and sarcastic attempt to cool her down. He sensed she liked it but he knew she would never admit it. He caught her fighting back a smile as he closed the garage door and went to work on his car.
When Billy looked up at the clock, it was nearly noon and an hour since he spoke to Tommy, who still had not returned his chainsaw. He decided Maria was right. Enough’s enough. He put down his tools, wiped the grease from his hands with an old shop rag, and walked across his own yard and into Tommy’s adjoining yard.
Billy saw Tommy’s pickup in the driveway, so unless Tommy, the fast food junkie and beer-bellied frat boy suddenly got on a health kick and went jogging, Billy knew he was home. He knocked on Tommy’s front door.
There was no answer.
Billy knocked again, harder, nearly pounding, now, in frustration.
Still no answer.
“I’ve had enough of this shit! Ahhhh!!” He slammed his shoulder into the door. The house shook as the door exploded into splintered shards of pine.
Stepping over the carnage that was Tommy’s front door, Billy saw Tommy stumble out from behind the sofa and lumber across the back yard, chainsaw in hand.
“Where the heck does that jack-ass think he’s going?” Billy asked himself. “He looks like Sasquatch with power tools.”
While Tommy liked to brag about being a great athlete, Billy actually was one. He was state pole-vault champion and four-year letterman in three sports in high school, as well as a four year All-Conference Midfielder on his Lacrosse team in college, where he had a full athletic scholarship.
Billy took off after Tommy at a dead sprint and could hear Tommy’s labored breathing from half way across the yard as he swiftly closed the distance.
Breathing in fitful gasps and looking over his shoulder at Billy closing in on him, Tommy was about to run out into the street, when he tripped on the curb and went sprawling, face first into the street.
The chain saw flew from Tommy’s hands.
Tommy’s face met the hot summer asphalt.
Billy looked up in horror as he saw his beautiful MS 880 STIHL Magnum chainsaw sail through the air and come crashing to the ground, shattering to pieces.
As Billy looked down at Tommy’s ripped and bloody face with its now disjointed nose, his fists unclenched and his eyes relaxed. There was not much more he could do that the asphalt had not already done.
“What the heck were you thinking, Tommy? Where the heck did you think you were going to go?”
“I don’t know” Tommy said with his newly acquired speech impediment, the result of the large chunk he bit out of his tongue on the fall. “I broke your saw last week and was afraid to give it back until I got it fixed.”
“You going to fix it now you dumb-ass?” Billy yelled, pointing to the chainsaw fragments littering the quiet street. “That’s a $1600 chainsaw. At least it was.”
“I’m sorry” Tommy whimpered.
“I’ll give you sorry. You’re sorry alright.”
Billy looked down at Tommy, now wincing in pain as he sat by the curb and wiped the blood from his mangled face. He shook his head in disgust. Maria would have his head. She warned him not to lend anything to this lunkhead but he didn’t listen. He never listened.