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I just love walking my dogs, Tessie and Shep, it serves several purposes, exercise for all and tin can collecting. Throwing on any old shirt and some baggy sweat pants, (that have gotten baggier over the months due to recent weight loss), triggers my pets into action. They get excited about sniffing out new frontiers and this morning was no different as they tugged me along on their retractable leashes.
It wasn't till I spied several tin cans that I realized I forgot to bring my customary bag for collections. Tin can be recycled and it motivates me to clean up the streets, if only there were resources for all the other recyclable trash dumped by the wayside! I can only carry so much and my city doesn't have a recycling program., (shame on them) but if they did I’d have to walk towing a red wagon with one hand while gripping two leashes in the other. I suppose then I’d have to spring for some new pants since one hand right now is necessary to keep hitching my baggy bottoms up.
Picking up the tin cans I drained them of the residual liquid, beer, crushed them with my foot and stuffed them in my sweat jacket‘s pocket. Don't gasp, it's really my husband's work coat, soiled and splattered with years of paint and oil. A little beer aroma will add to the coat's character.
I turned the corner and saw my pastor getting his morning paper off the yard. Before he noticed me my dogs caught the scent of something exciting ,pulled me off my feet and I landed on my....I just landed.Brother Mike rushed over to help me and scrunched his nose up. He obviously detected the sweet essence of the empty beer cans soaking my (husband's) pocket, and with great self control resisted mentioning it. One of the tin cans pushed its head up above the pocket border revealing a Budweiser logo. I gave it a little encouraging push back down. I could read his thoughts however,” Drinking on Sunday morning!" I impishly refused to divulge the truth. If he wanted to believe I was a Sunday morning drunk let him!! It adds to my character which is difficult to tarnish. I just realized I think I still had last night’s smeared eye make up on, he might suspect I hadn’t even been home yet. I thanked him with my best imitation of slurred speech and promising to see him in church in a few hours, I staggered off, hitching up my pants.
At the neighborhood car wash I stooped over the trash bins looking for a plastic bag and more tin cans. This is the perfect spot for mining tin. I was in luck, a plastic bag was on top so I didn't have to dig through the tras, I do have some limits. A man washing his truck nearby walked over , petted my canine friends and handed me a five dollar bill for a descent meal, after I hitched my pants up. Now being a working girl I had a modest income, but dressed in my walking costume; baggy pants, dirty work jacket, shoes that Tessie has used for teething and smelling of beer I acted grateful for the man's charity. I could have been a poster child for Good Will stores. I didn't want to embarrass him with the truth, that I was just indulging in a recycling spree. Besides, it's more blessed to give than to receive so I was already on the loosing end of the stick!
I hit real gold on the next street, lots of coke cans emptied by a construction crew littered their work site, (I wish I knew where the workers lived, I sterotyped their homes as gold fields of beer cans to add to my collection). I filled my bag up with untold riches and proceeded to the corner Shopping Mart where I customarily reverse my steps homeward.
At the mart a man was loading his trunk with cartons of coke! Wow, more gold!
“What do you do with your empties?” I queried, my eyes glinting with lust.
“Throw them away,” he responded , surveying me with a unfriendly look, attempting to discourage more conversation.
“Hey, can I get your address so I can come collect them when you’re done?”
“What’s going on here?” a woman asked approaching the passenger door.
“This dame just asked me for my address,” the man explained nodding in my direction as I hitched my pants up while my dogs baptized his tires.
The woman sized me up, “Take a bath and get some decent clothes, then maybe you can get your own man, darling.” She suggested climbing into the car beside her companion as he backed up. “Those pants aren’t you, you really should dress your age!”
“Well, I never!” I muttered, not really caring but enjoying the imaginary conversation that was taking place in the disappearing vehicle.
Retracing my return trip with a slight detour down another street to by pass my minister’s house some more beer cans fell prey to me. These were still partially full. I drained two, deposited them in my sack and drained the third as I walked, swinging it from side to side to empty it quickly. Of course who else but my pastor drove by on his way to his church office? He slowed down and stared at me with the tell tale beer can in my hand that I saluted him with as he passed. His eyes were very vocal! I could see him shake his head in disappointment.
At home I cleaned up, and I do clean up good, I’m pretty darn attractive when I shower , wear proper fitting clothes , and freshen up my old makeup. Yep, I'm pretty darn attractive, (it off sets my inherent modesty). You’d never know I just came off a Saturday night drinking binge.
At church the minister explained that he had been suddenly inspired to change his planned morning sermon and gave a rousing sermon on the dangers and wiles of fermented beverages, directing several obvious glances at me, kindling some whispering nearby. My husband, ever appropriate, and usually totally oblivious, cast his eyes curiously at me without turning his head, not wanting to draw more attention to us. I merely raised my eyebrows and shrugged. I could feel my halo tilting dangerously to the side. I was being lectured but I loved it! I sat there fully regal, meeting the reverend’s unswerving stares head on. He wouldn’t see me cringe in repentance. I had nothing to repent of except devilish delight in encouraging his misunderstanding.
When we were dismissed I walked by the vicar as he stood shaking hands at the exit. I squirted breath freshener in my mouth and with exaggerated breaths pumped his hand and exclaimed, “Wonderful message, Brother Mike!” I could tell he was trying to catch a whiff of beer through the bouquet of spearmint. He shook my hand unenthusiastically. I sensed he was praying for me as he gripped my hand longer than necessary, that’s alright, I prayed back!
On the way home from my public counseling session my husband and I stopped at the receptacle placed on the corner by Habitat for Humanity and deposited all the tin cans I had collected on this weeks doggy strolls. They recycle the cans into nails and wood for building projects, which helps to recycle lives into more productive helpers for the project! I love this recycling business! I almost want to have a celebratory drink! Heck, if I'm judged guilty I might as well.......
P.S The five dollars I got at the car wash? I mailed it in to Habitat for Humanity. I cleared my conscious of guilt.
1 Cor 5:9-13
1 Cor. 11:27-32
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31 Dec 2006
Devilishly delightful; a good read. I could share a story or two, but this is about a critique, so....the imagery was good, but I think you can do better. Your "impish" ways seemed restrained. I mean that the piece would benefit if you were to stretch yourself out and find ways to express the depths of your "harmless wickedness" (I pictured the pastor running home and taking Excedrin by the handfuls). Also, the phrase: "triggered the dogs into action" just doesn't fit, it's too abrupt. This piece, in my opinion (the great catch-all to keep me from accountability on any level), needs to move quickly; some of your words and phrases help it along, yet others slow it down. Flow, yeah, that's the word. There's a word for people that do the things you did in your story: BRAT....gotta love ya'. Great story, I love it.
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