Me and Mortimer “Beaches and Sunburn,” Chapter Three

Last time I talked to you I told you about how I tried to help my daughter with her English assignment. Well, turns out, her mother had secretly helped her on studyin’ up on our Eskimos—Inuit, she insisted on callin’ them, so she didn’t need my western story, which is too bad, ‘cause it’s a proven fact that Western’s is about the best kinda reading money can buy.

My daughter got a A+ for her story from the teacher. Teacher thinks it was good enough were it deserves publishin’, so she helped my daughter mail her story off to our local newspaper. I know my daughter’s smart, but if you ask me, that teacher is about as bias as a mother’s praise for her spoilt son! My western story idea woulda been better!

But, that was last week. This week, I just gotta tell you about what Mortimer has done again, and if the company don’t fire him soon … well, I think I’m just gonna hafta quit and let the company squirm in tryin’ to find another employee as valuable as me!

Before that, though, I gotta tell you about my wife’s sister with her four screaming brats – banshees is a better way to describe them—came to visit us for the weekend. They insisted on me taking them to the beach on Sunday. That was a big mistake—not for them; they ate more ice-cream than I had money to pay for—but it was a mistake for me. I got a devil of a sunburn! With my sunburn and all, I wouldav called in sick and stayed home today, but the boss phoned late Sunday night, and told me to get my but in here real early this morning and do some work. He was kinda mad ‘cause I hadn’t done any of the filing for a few days, and someone musta told him that the filing wasn’t being done. Lucky for me, when I got to work this morning, ol’ Mort was in a good mood so he helped me get some ointment on my sunburn.

 

“Ooo! … Ouch! Ouch! Take it easy, Mort. That sunburn hurts!”

“I’m sure it does. But, that’s what you get for showing off your muscles at the beach yesterday.”

“Fun-eee! … Oh, that towel is cold!”

“Just hold still. The cold will help ease the pain. What were you doing at the beach, anyway? I thought the boss told you to come in to work over the weekend and catch up on your backlog of filing.”

“Wasn’t my idea to go to the beach. I hate beaches. I’d sooner crawl naked through a prickly gooseberry bush than spend a day at the beach with that bunch of screamin’ banshees!”

“Banshees?”

“Yeah. That’s what I call my wife’s sister’s kids. She’s got no control over them whatsoever. If they was my kids, I’d put some discipline into their minds.”

“But, you’d rather spend the day at the beach with screaming kids than come to the office to catch up on your work.”

“Don’t bug me, man! That sunburn ain’t puttin’ me in any kind of good mood today. I got ‘till tonight to finish puttin’ them files away– ouch! Easy on that shoulder. It’s the one that’s most sore. By the way, as soon as I got here this mornin’ the phone rang and it was the boss callin’ for you.”

“What did he want?”

“I don’t know.”

“Didn’t you take a message?”

“I didn’t ask, and since you wasn’t here yet, I just hung up.”

Mortimer stopped rubbing in the ointment and turned all pale. “That was almost two hours ago! Why didn’t you tell me as soon as I came in?” He started raisin’ his voice.

“Hey—stop your yellin’, eh? Sheesh! I gave you the message, didn’t I? The boss can wait. Fixin’ my sunburn is more important.”

“But—but that was two hours ago,” ol’ Mort repeated. “It might be something urgent–” Mort set the cream down, grabbed his cap and started for the door.

“Hey, are you forgetting about my sunburn? I shouted after him. “You gotta finish applyin’ that lotion to my back!”

Ol’ Mort stopped in his tracks and slowly turned around and just stared at me for about half a minute with a stare that reminded me of a kid starin’ at his uncle who had just told him there was no Santa Claus. I could tell Mort was tryin’ to say something—his jaw was twitchin’ sorta funny like, but words just wouldn’t form. Slowly he got control of hisself—and good thing, ‘cause I was startin’ to get mad for him thinkin’ he could just walk away and leave me in my pain!

Then he pointed towards the lotion on the desk beside me, and in a forced-controlled, voice said, “There’s your lotion. Put it on yourself!” And without even saying please, he turned and left, slammin’ the door behind him.

That’s the part I was gonna tell you about Mort. I mean, how selfish and rude can a fella get? All he’d have had to do was spend another fifteen minutes rubbin’ that ointment into my sunburn, and he’d have been finished. That would still have given him the rest of the day to go suck up to the boss.

Now what am I supposed to do? I tried rubbin’ the ointment onto my arms and legs, but how am I supposed to reach my back? And I’m not gonna injure myself by filing all those files wile I’m sufferin, from this sunburn!

Sheesh! Mortimer, I sez sorta to myself, if the boss scolds me ‘cause these files aren’t put away, I’m gonna blame you! It’s all your fault, ‘cause if you wouldn’t of been so selfish and finished applyin’ that ointment to my back, I’d have been able to do the files!

I pour myself another cup of coffee and open the mornin’ paper. I need to rest after that ordeal with Mortimer and my sunburn! I have a feelin’ the excitement for this day ain’t over yet!

 

About Albert Schindler

I was born on the 27th of February, 1931, on a farm near Hubbard, Saskatchewan. As far back as I can remember I had a spirit that would not stay earthbound. In junior high, I remember taking first place for a short story in which I described my terrifying encounter with a dinosaur. In outer space – that is, when the teacher wasn’t directly speaking to me, I went where Buck Rogers wouldn’t dare go. I was more of a Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes type of guy, with my own, personal, very powerful, transmogrifyer always at the ready. In my ‘teens and twenties, I pushed aside my Calvin alter ego in favour of making a living and didn’t take seriously again my ‘writer’s bug’ until my late 30s. I still saw that the world as full of exciting things to learn and investigate, which my writing reflected in the several articles and a couple of short fiction pieces that I wrote and sold, including over 30 children’s radio plays for Alberta’s ACCESS Radio. Unfortunately, I abandoned my budding writing career in favour of starting my own business as a sign painter. Now that I can officially call myself ‘retired,’ I plan to resume my writing career, only this time, writing mostly fiction. Why fiction? I have lead a great, adventurous life in which I made many mistakes (the ‘adventure’ in life), that have taught me some very important lessons and allowed my spirit to grow to unimaginable proportions, inconceivable to me while still in my thirties. In fiction, I believe, one can adventure into both the inner and outer consciousness of man and the universe to infinite levels where only the boldest dare peak. Convention holds that article writing has to be factual – oh, you can be creative in how you present your information, but ‘fact’ (whatever that means) still must have its parameters in article writing, whereas fiction is limited only by the size of a writer’s spirit, and so far, I haven’t been able to fathom my limit.
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