Marvin

“Is he under the weather?” I asked tentatively as Marvin drove across the centerline. My hands clutched the dash.”Naw.” Marvin said as he jerked his pickup back into the proper lane. “But he’s still recuperating from the last time he helped me out.” I noticed a logging chain was somehow twisting its way around my ankles.”Oh,” I said cringing. The pickup narrowly missed a dead raccoon as it dropped off the edge of the road. I snugged my seatbelt as hard as I could as Marvin signaled a right turn. At the last minute he turned left off the highway, causing the truck behind us to apply its air brakes.”I guess this way is a little quicker.” Marvin said as I gasped for air.As we skidded to a stop in front of Harold’s house I waited for the throbbing in my head to subside before I opened the door. I gingerly jumped to the ground, but the logging chain held fast and I ended up sprawled in the dirt.”You coming in?” Marvin yelled back as he went up to the porch.”Yeah. Eventually.” I muttered as I slipped the chain off my ankle and stood up. Then I banged my head on an old corncob that was suspended from a tree branch.Marvin knocked on the door with one hand, twisted the rusty knob with another and hollered, “Harold!” all at the same time.I stumbled across parts of a riding mower, an old wringer washer, a hot water heater, a rusty snow mobile and a basket of what I wanted to believe was rotting apples as I carefully made my way to the porch.”Watch where you step,” Marvin cautioned. “There’s some loose boards.”I carefully followed Marvin into the old house and was immediately greeted with a strong, musty odor that reminded me of a chicken coop.”Marvin!” A feeble sounding voice called. “I was jest about to grab my shotgun. Who’s that skinny feller followin’ you?”Harold gave me an icy stare as I nodded hello. He was sitting in an old rocking chair, stuffing was falling out of the cushion onto the floor where a few cats were sitting, watching me, twitching their tails.”Oh, Harold!” Marvin slapped his forehead. “I forgot I brought him along. You know my brother-in-law, Paul, don’t you?””Oh, yeah.” Harold said. He looked me up and down. “Feelin’ okay, skinny feller?” He asked me.”Sure.” I nodded again.Harold shrugged. He picked up a dirty milk bottle with a bandaged hand and spit tobacco juice into it. “Sit down, fellers.”I looked around as Marvin grabbed the one other chair in the room. I dug through a few newspapers, magazines and empty pizza boxes until I found part of a couch. I started to sit when Harold cautioned me. “Dog might be under there. She’s a might snippy lately.”I heard a low growl as my weight sank down into the dusty cushion. Then a sharp toothed dachshund appeared from beneath some newsprint barking as loud as it could.”Ginger honey!” Harold yelled. “Leave him be! Just sit there now. She’ll get over it.” Harold motioned.sat motionless while Ginger gradually stopped barking and growling. She walked over to my foot, sniffed my shoe and then sat at my feet, staring at me.”So you healing up?” Marvin asked Harold.”I guess.” Harold said, looking agitated. “I ain’t never helping you again, Marvin.””Well, you’re looking good.” Marvin said. “Say, you get some new clothes?””Yep.” Harold perked up. “Came mail order. Got it from that catalog place.””Really!” Marvin gushed. “Well, them are nice looking bib overalls!”Harold beamed as he sat in his stiff blue denim bib overalls with shiny brass buttons. “I got that shirt, too.” He pointed to a sleeve hanging out from under some papers on the card table next to him. “Haven’t had ‘em near a month yet. Course mom wanted to throw them in the warsh, but I said it was too soon. You know its washing clothes what makes ‘em wear out.””Really!” Marvin looked astonished.”Yup.””Well, I bet that shirt will look good on you.” Marvin said.”Oh, sure.” Harold nodded. Then he snorted long and loud. “I’m waiting ‘til it cools off a might for I start wearing shirts.” For the first time I noticed he had nothing on under his overalls. And several buttons weren’t buttoned either. I carefully turned my gaze towards the spider webs in the window.”You want to borry the catalog?” Harold said. “You could order up yourselves some new duds if you want.””Yeah. Maybe so.” Marvin said nodding his head. “We just thought we’d stop in and see how you’re doing. But you’re looking good Harold. We should get going. I need to get some parts for my pickup. One of these days those brakes won’t work at all.””Okay, Marvin. Thanks for checking on me. I oughta be healed up ‘nuff in a few days to get out again.””You don’t need anything?””Naw.” Harold grabbed his milk bottle and spit again. “Ginger keeps me company and mom drops me off a pizza now and again. I might be jest a smidg’n low on my chaw but mom’ll bring me some.””Well, you got it made!” Marvin said smiling. “See you around Harold.””Take the catalog.” Harold hollered. He handed Marvin a small post card.”Sure. Thanks again.”We got back in the pickup and Marvin handed me the card. As he started driving I tried to look at the card in order not to see what Marvin was barely missing as he drove.On the back it had a list of clothes:Britches, Overalls, Shirts, Woolen Socks, Drawers.Assorted colors and styles, our preference.Sizes: Regular, Hefty and Extra-Hefty.On the front it had Harold’s address. The name of the place seemed oddly familiar.”Victor Has No Secrets” Real life clothes for real life men.”

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