‘There’s Not A Minute To Lose’

Chapter 35, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

chuckwells2008@gmail.com

 

“OMIGOD!” I shouted and sprang off the sofa – and flat on my face.

Harry beamed brighter than the noontime sun.

“OMIGOD!” I struggled off the living room floor.

Ralphie stood dumber than a brass doorknob.

“OMIGOD!”

And Melinda?

“SSSLLLAAAPPP!!!”

I wore the hot imprint of my wife’s hand burning the left side of my face. HA! It barely fazed me.

“Snap out of it,” Melinda chastised. It was her stern, dispatcher voice. “You have a flight to catch.”

“A flight? Right. Already I see stars.”

Melinda shook her head and spun toward Ralphie.

“He’s drunk! How could you let this happen?” asked my wife. “This is all YOUR fault.”

“Forget it,” said Harry. “Pack his stuff. I’ll get mine. There’s not a minute to lose.”

Drunk or not, I felt an electric current crackle through my core like the time I touched the electric fence at Grandpa’s farm – this time without the funny, blue smoke wafting out of my nose. Friends stood in line to shake my hand, hug me or slap me on the back. Caught in a whirlpool of emotion, I giggled. I cried. I did both at the same time.

… water! Start drinking water …

“Water? I need another beer.”

… no, water…

“Water?”

Shannon slapped a full water bottle into my right hand.

… it’s your only hope, get the alcohol poisoning out …

Was I dreaming?

…all right, WHERE’S Melinda …

“OK, OK, enough said. Water, it is.”

Less than 20 minutes later, our guests carried my water bottle, my tattered gym bag, my overnight suitcase – and me – out the front door. I don’t think I touched the ground. The party spilled down the driveway and onto Hillside Drive. They dumped me on the front of Nicky’s Camaro. The jolt awoke me from my celebratory stupor.

“Watch it! Please! Those are million-dollar legs,” I kidded the excited well-wishers as they packed in around me. Somehow an actual thought found its way through.

“We have to take the Cherokee,” I said.

“What is it, Charles?” my exasperated wife asked.

“We took the Cherokee to Iowa,” I said. “We’ve gotta take it to Oregon, at least to O’Hare. It’s the right thing to do.”

“Like HELL it is,” said Melinda.

“Well, Mrs. Wells, I do not believe I have EVER heard you use so much profanity,” said a grinning Harry.

“Stick around, Mr. Nurmi. I believe there could be more to follow,” Melinda said. “Nicky, quick! Get the DAMN Cherokee!”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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