The Friday Night Cookout

(766 words, reading time 5 minutes)

“OK. I’m ready when you are”, I called out to my wife Winnie, who was dressing in the bedroom.  She replied, “It’s only two o’clock and we don’t have to be there until 4:00.”  “Oh, I thought dinner was 3:00. OK”, I said.  “I’ll look at TV until you’re ready.” With that, I sat in my lounge chair and began watching the ball game.  A short time later, I heard my wife calling.   “OK. I’m ready,” she said. “Let’s go.” My brother-in-law was visiting us, and would join my wife Winnie and me.  All three of us were invited for a cook out, on Ft. Myers Beach.

The three of us climbed into my brand new shiny Chevy Equinox SUV, which I just bought that week. As we were driving south on Fowler Avenue, Winnie asked me if I had the address of the new house where we were destined to go. “Damn”, I replied. “I left it at home”, I said. “We will have to turn around, go back and get it. But, it’s only a few blocks.” I turned back onto Evans Avenue, through an industrial section, which took us back to our apartment. On the way I thought, why don’t I just call them on the cell phone and get the address.  I pulled the car off the road, into a fenced-in industrial yard, where they sold cement, sand and gravel. Not paying close attention, I drove right into a sand pile until the car stopped, and bogged down into sand.  The car was a front wheel drive car. As I tried to back up, the wheels sunk deeper, up to the hubcaps, and spun just like with deep snow. Now I’m getting mad. But wait, I have a plan “B”.  With cell phone in hand, I tried to call our hosts, but the phone’s battery was dead.  No problem I though.  I would just connect the DC power cord to the cigar lighter in the car and use the phone.  “Where is that cord I said?”  “What cord”, my wife asked.  Then I remembered.  I left the cord in the old Buick which I traded-in for the new Chevy Equinox. I can’t call anyone.

The industrial property, where we were stuck, had a dump area where the rail cars tilted and dumped their load in a pit.  It was right at the edge of the sand where we were stuck. Time for plan “C”! OK, I will get out of the car and find an office for the cement sand and gravel company.  It was now after 4:00.

Just as I was about to leave the car, I heard the gate on the chain link fence behind us slide closed, locking us in the yard.  There was a sign on the fence, which read:  Apex, Cement, Sand and Gavel Company, Open to serve you Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM.  Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Oh my God! This is Friday.  We are fenced and locked in until Monday?  Even worse, Monday was Labor Day, and they won’t be back until Tuesday.  God help us I thought. Then Winnie announced, “I have to pee.”  My brother in-law in the back seat then said, “Pee?  I have to poop!”

OK, enough! Let’s find out if there is an office with a rest room and a phone.  As I started to open the door, two giant size Doberman Pincers came out of nowhere, barking and bounding towards our car with bared teeth like tigers.  They kept jumping up on the each side of the car, showing protracted nails like hunting knives, scratching my new car’s beautiful paint and windows. We are trapped and there was no way out, until Tuesday. My wife was screaming and crying.  My brother- in-law kept yelling at Winnie, “We told you never to marry this guy.  Now look where we are.”

The Dobermans were on both sides of the car, scratching and starting to rock the car to get in.  I closed my eyes as I faced the teeth and claws against the window next to me in the driver’s seat.  I just had to look, so I opened my eyes and there she was; Winnie was shaking me, saying, “Come on! Get out of that lounge chair.  Wake up! Come on. Wake up! The ball game is over. It’s time to leave. TURN OFF THAT T.V. AND LETS GET GOING, OR WE’LL BE LATE FOR THE COOK OUT PARTY.”