Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HOT (08/10/17)
- TITLE: The Catch Of The Day
By Phillip Cimei
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Tammy, Tony’s wife of four years, wearily tossed damp strands of hair out of her face. Futilely wiping her forehead with the back of her perspiring hand, she huffed out, “You have to go today and get an air conditioner for Bubba’s room.”
“I’ll have to get it tomorrow,” countered Tony. “Billy Dan and I are go’n fish’n. Anyway, we can’t afford an air conditioner. I’ve done been out of work for three months now.”
“Wow!” Tammy’s eyes bulged with consternation, “Fishing and out of work for three months in the same breath.”
Tony reservedly barked back, “A fan’l do for Bubba.”
“No! He is only two, and babies can’t take heat like an adult.”
“Well, you’re gonna have to work overtime at the café’ to pay for it. That’s all I gotta say.”
Tony’s petulant good-bye wave only fanned her annoyance, “Hold it, Buddy Boy!”
“What? I’ll pick up the dang thing on the way home from fish’n. Will that cool your heels?”
Tammy furiously squinted her eyes, pointed her as a matter of fact finger at Tony, and said, “First of all, you will pick it up before fishing. Secondly, you will take Bubba with you fishing.”
“I’m doomed.” Tony picked up a dripping Bubba—and it wasn’t sweat dripping. “Awe man!”
“Change him before you go, and make sure he is buckled in his car seat.”
Tony headed to town. Not a happy camper. No air conditioning in the car fueled his impatience—alone with a call from Billy Dan, “Where ya at? I already caught a 20lb. flathead.”
“Awe, the old lady’s got me run’n an errand. I gotta get an air conditioner for Bubba’s room.”
“Shoot, I told ya marriage weren’t no fun. Listen, Brown’s hardware had some special on them there conditioners and they’re go’n fast. Better hurry b’fore I catch all the fish. See ya later, Momma’s boy.”
Tony rushed to Brown’s hardware store, rolled up the window, locked the door, and grabbed Bubba. He ran into the store and located a clerk. “I need an air conditioner that is on sale. Now!”
“Sorry sir. They are all sold out.”
Tony’s shoulders drooped, “There goes fish’n.”
“Well, wait a minute,” interrupted the clerk, “across town, at the new Wally Mart, I hear they have some.”
Tony darted to the car, strapped Bubba in haphazardly, and squealed out leaving tire marks a block long. He pulled up to the only open spot—a handicap spot—shut the window, locked the door, and flew inside the store. He ran to the air conditioner aisle and there before him was an empty shelf.
“Can I help you sir?” came a voice behind him.
Tony, with a fretful look, face beet red, fists clenched, turned to see a young Wally Mart worker, “What’s the matter with this stink’n town. Can’t anybody order enough dang air conditioners?”
“They go fast. But we just got a shipment in. Give me a minute.”
“Yes! Thank ya Jesus!”
Tony will certainly need Jesus on this day. The clerk was gone fifteen minutes and then came back. “We have one coming out in just a minute. They have to get the fork lift. It is way up on the rack. Sorry for the wait.”
Another fifteen minutes passed. The phone interrupted Tony’s pacing. It was Tammy. “Well, did you find one yet?”
“Got it covered Babe. I’m at Wally Mart and waiting on the guys in the back to bring one out.”
“You forgot Bubba’s diaper bag!”
Tony screamed out, “Bubba?” Panic set in. He frantically raced to the exit, “Oh God, No!”
There was a commotion outside. Police. Fire. Medical. Angry onlookers, surrounded Tony’s car.
Tony rushed up only to be met by a paramedic administering CPR to a limp, ashen colored Bubba. His lifeless body covered in glass shards.
“Probably 150 to 170 degrees in there,” a fireman shouted out. He could only estimate the temperature of the car’s interior—a frantic citizen smashed the window five minutes earlier.
Tony, fell to his knees. Impatience would be the only catch for him on this hot Georgia day.
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