Lucky Day

At 3 a.m. thoughts are bouncing around inside
my head like popcorn in a pan exploding over a hot campfire. Maxine
logs next to me, snoring Taps. My good-for-nothing Dachshund, Weasel,
lays stretched on top of her, rising and falling throughout their
mock internment. This is killing me.

I throw back the covers, fall into my deerskin slippers and decide
to brew a pot of coffee while I burn a few. Then it dawns on me.

The 18” Rikon Bandsaw Maxine and Weasel got me last year
for Father’s Day, with the intent I’d make them birdhouses,
was still new in the box; I bet I could get a quick $500 for it.
The Garmin 320C Fishfinder that I won playing Bingo last month I
could dump on my neighbor, Norm. He fondles it like it’s his
woman whenever he comes to watch me futz in the garage with that
runabout. Bet he’d give me $250 for it by 8 this morning.
And about that motor: a genuine ’74 6HP Evinrude, a real beaut.
Every time I start her up, Maxine blows a gasket. I’ll pawn
it for $250. She runs like a dream.

I pour a cuppa joe, tally my projected sales on an old receipt
from Home Depot, and I got myself exactly what I want: $1,000. I
stub out my second smoke, take my coffee and some 409 with a roll
of paper towels tucked under my arm and head to the garage. Today’s
my lucky day and I’m gonna take that thousand up to the Indians,
triple my money on the $10 tables and Maxine’ll have birdhouses
coming out her ass by tomorrow this time.

The light doesn’t work with the switch so I haul back to
the house to grab a flashlight. Goddamn Weasel needs to pee. I should
sell this dog while I’m at it, $50 cash. Still has four legs,
runs like a banshee.

Weasel darts for the garage, barking at full speed. I chase after
him, flashlight bouncing up and down as I avoid doggy piles in the
yard. The garage door to the alley grinds open and I see three big
guys run down to a van, arms loaded with what? My shit!

No Shit, they’ve cleaned me out. I yell, “Hey, what
the fuck do you think you’re doing?” as they scramble
in the van, scooping up Weasel as an afterthought before they peel
out.

I look across the alley. Norm’s kitchen light is on. I shine
my flashlight inside my garage. Oil cans are dripping from shelves,
broken glass crunches underfoot and the lawn mower’s topsy-turvy,
leaking gasoline. Missing are the Rikon, the Evinrude, and the Garmin.
Fuck. There’s Norm now, peering out the window. I shine the
flashlight on him and he opens his window.

“I just got robbed,” I yell to him.

“Don’t that beat all!” he says. “Got a
smoke?”

I look around the hopeless mess, tell Norm to go unlock his back
door and I’ll be right over. Before I cross the alley to Norm’s,
I ignite the roll of paper towels, toss it to the concrete floor
next to the mower, and watch from Norm’s window as the garage
goes up in flames.

We stare into the mutant campfire from across the alley. Maxine
is probably still snoring Taps, I think. For Weasel; God, what will
I tell her about Weasel? Burned in the fire, arson. The insurance
claim will cover enough that she’ll have Dachshund’s
coming out her ass if she wants.

“Want to go to the casino, Norm?” I say. I think it
might be my lucky day.

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