Too harried to knock, Esther barged into her son's home unannounced. The screen door slapped shut causing her dozing son to stir. Thumping onto the sofa, she fumed. "Ohhhh that man... You're father's finally done it!"
Gordon grunted to a seated position, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "You mean he's installed a flat screen in the bathroom?" he asked, yawning.
"No," she seethed. "You'll never guess what revolting things your father has been collecting.”
Not used to seeing his mother so agitated, he could only shrug. "No, I probably can’t guess. What’s dad been doing?”
"Let me show you." She rummaged through a large handbag propped at her feet and yanked out its contents. "Here," she said, offering a Mason jar to her son.
"Oh no," he moaned, examining the jar's contents.
"Ohhhh yes. A jar of toenail clippings. And do you know where I found them?"
Gordon stashed the jar back into the bag. "No mom."
She snatched a magazine from the end table and began to fan herself vigorously. "Under the bed."
"But why on earth...?"
"Oh, don’t think I didn’t wonder the same thing. I marched into the living room and stood in front of the television holding that jar. That got your father's attention," she affirmed with a nod.
"I bet,” Gordon agreed.
"I waved that jar in his face and asked why he was saving toenails. And you know what he said?"
Gordon shook his head. "I can't imagine."
Too flustered to sit still, she stood and began to pace. "He said they were for a new invention that would revolutionize gardening. He's calling it Footelizer."
Gordon hid a smirk behind his hand. "You've got to be kidding me."
"Oh no I'm not. He's convinced that if you work them into the dirt, gardens will flourish." She paused to peek out a plate glass window overlooking a small flowerbed. "Can you imagine working toenails in with the Morning Glories? I think the idea is disgusting."
"Mom," Gordon grinned, "you've got that nailed."
Esther spun on her heels to face her son; the angry creases around her eyes eased into laugh lines. Gordon joined his mother at the window; she patted her son on the arm, smiling. "I think I'll store these in your garage."
"Oh no you don't, mom. If Patsy found this jar, I'd be hosing vomit off the side of the Suburban."
Esther scooped up her bag and walked to the door. "Well then, I'm off to the garbage bin."
"You're gonna dump the toenails in the trash? It must've taken dad years to collect that many."
She plucked the jar from her bag and tossed it to Gordon. "It didn't take as long as you might think. The men at the Lodge have been adding their claws as well."
Gordon stood very still as the color drained from his face. "How did he convince his Lodge brothers to contribute?"
"Your father hired a couple of cute pedicurists to come in once a month. They’ve even made it a theme night- Tootsy Tuesdays."
Gordon handed back the jar. "Good luck telling dad," he encouraged.
"Oh, he'll be fine," she assured. "I'll make him meat loaf with a side of fresh green beans and corn on the cob. You and Patsy want to come over?"
Gordon’s face brightened. "Hold on a second," he teased. "Where'd those vegetables come from?"
Esther laughed. "The Farmer's Market."
"Good," he exclaimed. "I just didn't want any extra crunchies in my green bean casserole."
"No worries, son. No worries."
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