The following is in response to Velvet Verbosity’s 100 Word Challenge. The prompt was “Misbehavin’.”
Austin & Tommy
“You boys better not be up to no good!”
With straight face he replied, “No mam, not misbehavin’, we’re working for Mrs. D. Honest work, Ma. She needs a path, so we’re hauling stones from the country and placing them.”
“Ah, good lads, you two.”
Hard labor didn’t suit them, but with other customers in que, they set to finding a better way!
At nightfall, Austin climbed the back fence; Tommy retrieved the stones tossed over. Just enough to install the Roger’s path tomorrow.
Rolling the cart home, they applauded their genius. Some called it thieving; they called it repurposing.
The above is a snippet of a true story told me by my father! He was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and spent his days with his best friend Tommy. Always looking for a quick buck, they let it be known around their neighborhood they were for hire.
Soon they were engaged to provide stones and lay a garden path for a neighbor, they were buoyed by the possibility of a big payoff, if they could get multiple clients. They let other neighbors know what they had to offer, and soon they had several signed up for garden paths and other stone installations.
They did a beautiful job for their first client, “Mrs. D” and were quite pleased with themselves. However, it was hard, time-consuming work, and that they were not fond of. They devised a plan to lessen their burden, while also ensuring re-work. A double win!
After the first installation, they strategically planned their next installation several doors down from the first. At nightfall, they revisited the original installation, popped up the stones, tossed them over the fence and hauled them home. The next day they installed the second job…with the stones from the first.
As the first client realized her stones were missing and called the boys back, they acted puzzled and surmised someone got wind of her beautiful stone path and wanted one for themselves, without the work of getting stones or paying out for the boys’ labor. They promised to come back and re-install her path, but, naturally, it would cost her the same. It wasn’t their fault someone stole all their hard work!
This went on for a few weeks–laying a path, retrieving the stones, then laying another–until they were finally caught. In the end, they had to make many, many trips to the fields for stones and spent many hours laying paths. Of course, all these hours together gave them time to concoct their next scheme!
I was blessed to meet my father’s best friend at a wedding. Even though they were up in years, they retained their boyish spirit and had us rolling in laughter with their tales. I believe my father was an imp and my grandmother a saint!
The Yellow Kite