A fortnight ago Kenny’s hum-drum life evaporated instantly. Roger called, saying he had scored two tickets to the Stan Musial Suite high above the visitor’s dugout at the Ball Park. “I’ll pick you up on my way through town,” he said. “Meet me on the church parking lot at noon. If you’re not there, I can’t wait.”
Four hours from now they would be off to watch the Rangers clobber the mighty Red Sox. It would be the pinnacle baseball experience in his life. His best buddy, a big-shot corporate suite, complementary upscale food and drinks: life couldn’t get any better.
Humming the only seventh inning song he knew, he picked up the straight-edge razor inherited from his father to finish grooming his mustache.
Glass shattering in the direction of the kitchen intermingled with a wavering-siren cry from his wife, “K-E-N-N-Y.”
Racing toward her, Connie flagged him to a skidding stop. Frantically patting the air with raised palms she screamed, “You’re barefoot.” Yellow, over-easy egg-yolks were scrambled with shards of a white platter lying at her sandaled feet. The mess was topped with two pieces of wheat-toast and four pieces of maple-smoked bacon.
”There,” she said, pointing towards the counter. “You’ve got to take care of this, Kenny.”
“Get your shoes on. I’ll clean this up. Oh! …” Connie, wide-eyed, snatched her fingers to her mouth, “… your mustache?”
In the bathroom mirror, sad eyes and a furrowed brow replaced Kenny’s smile. Darn that woman, for yelling. He tested the straight-edge’s blade with a thumb nail, and then shaved off the rest of his soup strainer.
When he returned to the kitchen Connie gripped his hand, leading him forward. “See that?” She pointed toward the counter-top underneath a corner cabinet. A few tiny dark specks of something reposed there. “Cockroach dookey. I’m not staying in this house with those vermin. Get insecticide now and spray inside and out.”
“Connie, I’ll do it tomor…”
“Now, Kenny. I mean it. If you don’t, I’m calling an exterminator and you can sleep in the den.”
“Cut the theatrics, Connie. I just don’t have much time.”
When Kenny struggled back into the house with purchases of roach-bait, roach-strips, and insecticide spray for inside and out, he had thirty minutes to get to the church.
“What took you so long? What ….? Why do you have a cast on your foot?”
“Later Connie, I have ten minutes to spray this poison. I’ll put the other stuff out tomorrow. Otherwise, I won’t make connections with Roger.”
“You don’t have to hurry, Sweetie. Roger called five minutes ago and wanted to know why you weren’t answering your cell. He said something about having to be there earlier than expected. I told him I didn’t know where you were, but not to wait on you. You could do it again some other time.”
“You didn’t. Connie, please tell me you didn’t!”
“What’s the big deal? And why are you wearing a cast?”
“Connie, it was the Stan Musial Suite – the Stan Musial Suite. I’ll never again…”
“Sure you will, Sweetie. Oh, you missed breakfast, didn’t you? Would you like a cucumber sandwich? I’m going to have one.” Connie smiled brightly, fluttering mascara-thickened eyelashes and sending an air kiss his way.
Kenny’s scowl would have liquefied arctic ice. “This is never going to happen again, Connie. I’m spraying those bugs. You better stay out of the way if you know what’s good for you.”
“Grumpy, let me get you something to eat. And then you can take that stuff back and get a refund.”
Connie softly caressed Kenny’s naked upper lip with a crimson finger tip. “Baby Face, I made a silly mistake. But it’s your fault.”
Kenny drilled her with eyes narrowed to slits. “What are you talking about?” Kenny’s stare would have shattered mirrors.
“I wasn’t wearing my glasses. But you should have seen that it wasn’t really roach leavings.”
“Yesterday, Ruth gave me a sampler package of Brazilian coffee. I didn’t realize the package had a tiny hole in it until after you left and I made coffee. Connie winced, seeing anger crashing over Kenny like hurricane charged surf. “Well, I didn’t have my glasses on and it looked like roach dookey.”
Moaning, Kenny pounded the cherry dining table with a clenched fist; “Stan Musial, Stan Musial, Stan …”
It wasn’t a good time, Connie decided, to ask about Kenny’s cast.
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