Randy Ouellette is the type of guy who gets things done. Do you care for me? I care for you. Why bother with a third date? Let’s get married now, Lucy. He operates that quickly. You need a shed built? I can have that up for before the dew disappears from the grass! He’s that efficient. I heard your house caught fire. Don’t worry, I rescued all of your possessions and doused the flames before the fire department even put on their boots. He…well, you get the point. The man does not like to waste time; which is why everyone he know finds the way he chooses to tell a story so strange.
As Reader’s Digest Condensed Notes as he is about affairs of the heart and household projects, Randy’s downright War and Peace-like when it comes to spinning a yarn. Everyone tries to avoid getting snared in one. Unfortunately for his friend, Steve that’s exactly what happened to him earlier today at the hardware store.
“Hey Steve, isn’t that Randy over in the lumber section?” Steve’s wife, Betty asked.
“Crap, it is. Don’t make eye contact or he’ll come over and talk our ears off,” Steve answered.
“Steve! Betty! How are you two?” Randy said by way of a greeting after Betty had clearly failed to heed Steve’s warning.
“Good, Randy. We’re just picking up some paint. Got a long day of painting ahead of us,” Steve said, hinting that he didn’t have time to chat.
“I hear you. I’m here for some wood. Got a big job of my own to tackle. You know Andrew, my son-in-law?” Randy asked.
Of course Steve and Betty knew Andrew. There were both at his wedding to Randy’s daughter, Bridget.
“He and Bridget were over for dinner last night and afterwards we went into the family room to watch the hockey game. Toronto took on New York. Did you see the game?”
Steve shook his head to indicate no.
“Oh, you missed a good one. Lots of fights. Toronto’s Captain – what’s his name?”
Steve hadn’t watched a hockey game in years, so he just shrugged his shoulders.
“Anlov, I think,” Randy continued. “Anyway, he was so mad at New York’s right winger I thought he was going to rip the laces off his own skates and use them to choke the guy. I can’t say that I blame him, what with the way he checked him into the boards and did that ridiculous victory lap around the rink once his team went up 1-0. Who does that?! I mean, try a bit of humility there, buddy. But players aren’t humble these days, are they? What with their big contracts, and endorsement deals, and the private jets they ride around on, and their supermodel wives. You never saw Rocket Richard act like any of those clowns, now did you?”
Steve didn’t know who Rocket Richard was, but he did know he and Betty had a two hundred square foot room waiting for them at home and it wasn’t going to paint itself, so he tried to move the conversation along.
“Huh? Oh yeah, Andrew!” Randy then said once Steve had steered him back on course. “He sits down and plops his feet down on the coffee table. You know the one I’m talking about – the one I made in high school, when we were in shop class together. How long has it been since we went to high school? Thirty years, I think. Wow, it just seems like yesterday. I know I shouldn’t brag – it’s not like I’m Rocket Richard, but Mr. Tidbull said it was one of the finest coffee tables he had ever seen a student make. He’s dead now, of course, Mr. Tidbull. Cancer, someone told me. Did you know that? Cancer’s a terrible way to go. My parents both went that way and suffered right the end. My dog got it too, but you can put a dog out of its misery once it gets cancer. ‘It’s the humane thing to do’ people will tell you; so how come people have to stick around and suffer? It’s cruel I tell you, cruel.” Randy rambled.
“Feet on the coffee table…Andrew…?” Steve interjected.
“Right, so he’s a big guy, that Andrew. Two hundred and fifty pounds easily, and I swear half of his weight is in his feet alone because he no sooner had his feet on my table when wham! It collapsed faster than a teenage girl’s resolve on prom night. Everything went flying – the remote controls, the candy dish, the wife’s scented candle…not that I was sorry to see that thing get ruined. It drives my sinuses nuts. I was thinking about putting up one of those This is a Fragrance Free Facility signs you see posted at businesses around town, but she’d likely get in a snit if I did that. She gets in a snit over everything these days. Probably going through menopause. Have you gone through the change yet, Betty?”
Betty was too stunned by the question to do anything other than blink, so Randy rambled on some more.
“Of course, my coffee cup had to go flying too. It landed clear on my lap. Fortunately, Lucy’s coffee is colder than her feet when she gets into bed, so I wasn’t burned. I was bummed out about the coffee table, though. I loved that thing.”
“So, you’re here for some wood so you can build a new coffee table then?” Steve asked once Randy had stopped to breathe.
“What? Oh no, Lucy insists we buy a new one from a store,” Randy said.
“Then what do you need the wood for?”
“I got a new dog and Lucy wants me to build a dog house for it. We had to put our last dog done two months ago. It had cancer. Cancer’s such a terrible way to go. M parents both went that way. Suffered…”
“Yes, cancer is terrible,” Steve said interrupting his friend before he had a chance to repeat the same story. “I seem to have lost Betty. She must have wandered off somewhere. I better go and find her. Nice talking to you Randy!” he then said before making his escape.
“You too!” Randy replied before heading back to the lumber section.
“Hello sir, how may I help you?” the associate in Lumber asked.
“I need to buy some wood,” Randy said. “Do I ever have a story for you!”