Me and Mortimer

Sometimes life just ain’t fair! Take this mornin’ for example. My wife and kids got up early, even before the neighborhood sparrows had started their infernal, irritatin’ chatter, so that she and the kids could get a early start on their trip to Vancouver Island. The kids, especially, was up even before my wife got outa bed, yellin’ and screemin’ and runnin’ around all excited and makin’ enough noise to wake a grave digger’s catch of the day!

Of course, the family decided—without my input, as usual—to use the family car for their holiday, which meant I would have to catch the bus to work all this week.

Before she closed the door behind her on the way out, my wife made sure I was awake so I wouldn’t sleep in and be late for work. Sheesh! As if anyone could sleep through the racket those kids was makin’!

I glanced at the alarm clock. Seven o’clock? I ain’t gettin’ up this early, so I rolled over to catch a few extra zees before I’d hafta face the day for real. Besides, it only takes me fifteen minutes to drive to work, so, why get up this early?

Like I said, sometimes life puts you behind the eight ball, no matter what you do. Those extra zees I decided to take turned into an hour-long nap, and I still had to make some breakfast before heading out to work! And, I’d completely forgotten that I’d have to take the bus all this week, which means it takes longer to get to work than by car.

Of course, bein’ late, I missed the bus I shoulda took, so I had to wait for the next one, which made me half hour late to get to work! Sometimes, I swear, if I didn’t have any bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all!

Fortunately for me, when I finally did get to work, Mortimer was already out mowin’ the grass around the company parking lot, so he never noticed me sneak in late and wouldn’t be able to snitch the fact that I was late again to my wife—or, so at least, I thought.

Meanwhile, back to the present.

That Mortimer!  Sometimes I have to shake my head when I see how he forgets his priorities. He forgot to make coffee again, leaving that responsibility up to me. How many times must I tell him, first guy into the office in the morning, makes the coffee!

So, naturally, the first thing I had to do was make a fresh pot of coffee. While I was waitin’ for the water to boil, I opened the mornin’ paper and read the headline: “Senator Drymann refuses to support Parliament’s bill to buy ten new fighter jets for our armed forces.”

For you folks out there who don’t know, Drymann’s the guy our Prime Minister recently appointed to The Upper Chamber and he’s been makin’ a real name for hisself among the flower power radicals by refusin’ to support any kind of bill the government tries to introduce that will increase defense spending.

Sheesh! You’d think those young tree-huggen’, pot smokin’  radicals had better things to do than spend their time parading in front of the parliament buildings, acting like they knew better than us old folks do about what’s best for the country.

That news headline got me so mad at ol’ Drymann I was ready to sit down and write to him and tell him he was wrong for not supporting our troops … but I see the water in the coffee pot’s boilin’ so, instead, I had to close the paper and go make the coffee. At the same time I was makin’ the coffee, Mortimer comes into our office, grass stains all over his knees where he’s been kneeling, and oil all over his hands.

“You have to come and help me with the lawn mower,” he sez to me, completely ignorin’ the fact that I was already busy with my own priority—makin’ the coffee—and didn’t have time to help him with his stupid lawn mower. “The blade broke and I need someone to help me tilt the mower and hold it so I can unscrew the broken blade and install a new one.”

I was about to give Mortimer a piece of my mind for interrupting my important coffee-making chore and to go find someone that was doing nothin’ that could help him with his lawn mower … but then I thought, maybe this could be a good time to discuss Drymann’s stupid decision with him and see what he thinks, so I turned off the boiling water and went out to the parking lot with him instead.

“Here—I’ll lift up the mower on this end, and I want you to hold it in that position while I take off the blade.” Mortimer lifts up the side of the mower and waits for me to grab hold.

“Why don’tcha just get a piece of two-by-four and prop up the mower? Then you wouldn’t need my help.”

“Just hold it steady—like this!” He snaps at me.

Sheesh! I thought it was a good idea. Anyway, I dismiss ol’ Mort’s snarky comment, thinkin’ he’s probably having a bad morning, with his lawn mower being broken and all that, so I asks him, “What ya think of Drymann’s decision not to support our troops?”

Mortimer stops unscrewing the bolts on the lawn mower blade and looks up at me, sort of funny like, like as if I hadn’t made myself clear.

“You know,” I sez, making it more simple so even Mort could understand, “voting against the bill for our government to buy those ten new jets.”

“I think Senator Drymann made a very responsible decision in voting against that purchase,” Mort turns back to unscrewing the bolts and removes the broken blade. “I’d like to see our country become more interested in promoting peace, rather than fighting wars we don’t need to get involved in.”

Huh!” Mort’s remark shocked me to the core. I hadn’t expected that kinda unpatriotic talk from him! “You mean, we shouldn’t defend our country and not give our troops the best fightin’ machines we can?” I didn’t think Mort was that kind of guy, not supporting our government in fighting terrorism.

“Defending our country can often be better accomplished through peaceful talks, rather than preparing for war.”

“Well, I say, the best way to have peace is to prepare for war!” I snapped back at Mortimer in a finality that prevented any chance for him to disagree with my superior views. He now had finished attaching the new blade, so I was able to let go of my end of the lawn mower. Good thing, ‘cause my arms was getting’ pretty tired holding up that stupid, stinky thing.

Mortimer just shrugged off my superior argument, and, instead, began priming the engine on the lawn mower. “That’s why it’s such a privilege to live in a democratic country like ours where each of us can express our opinion, and not be silenced by dictatorial rule.” The mower started real easy so Mort wasted no time in leaving me stand there while he finished cutting the lawn.

“Yeah? Well, I think ol’ Drymann’s just a sleezy politician not caring about whether our country’s defended or not!” I shouted after Mortimer, but I don’t think he heard me over the racket that noise machine of his was making.

Having to walk all the way back to my office in the tool shed from the parking lot really left me tired. I looked at the stack of files on my desk that needed putting away, and that made me feel even more tired. At that point, I really wanted to quit—but I knew my wife would get really angry at me if I did, so I started filing …

… “Coffee!” I shouted aloud. With havin’ to help Mortimer, and him getting me angry about how Drymann was letting down our troops, made me completely forget that I hadn’t had my coffee this morning. I walked over to the table and turned on the coffee pot, then sat down and again open the morning paper, ignorin’ the headlines about Drymann.

I needed a rest!

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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