This week’s Tuesday Tale:
“Jed, did you take it down?”
Jed munched on a mouth full of potato chips. The bag rested against his belly and his bottle of beer sat to his right. When commercials interrupted the game, he tried to remember what his wife had shouted at him. They had only been married a few years and he still thought it polite to try to listen. His dad told him to give it up, but he liked her well enough, that is, he disliked her being angry enough not to intentionally spite her. He dug another handful of chips out of the bag. The greasy chips crumbled between his teeth. Nope, he could not recall what she said. Something about… but that was even more than he could make up.
“Uh, yeah, honey. In a moment.”
There, that should cover the bases. His buddy Tom laughed at him. But Tom quit laughing when she stomped into the room.
“I asked if you took it down.”
“Took what down?”
Jed thought it was a safe question. It was not.
“The tree, Jed. Did you take it down to the dump or is it still in the back of your truck?”
The Christmas tree was neither in the back of his truck nor deposited at the dump. Jed swigged his drink.
“It’s in the garage.”
“I can see that!”
Tom and Jed wondered why she had asked.
“When are you taking it out?”
“After the game I guess.”
“You guess? Jed…”
“Alright, alright. As soon as the game is over I’ll take the tree to the dump.”
She stood with her hands on her hips. Jed thought she looked unconvinced.
“Tom’ll help, won’t ya?”
But from the look on her face, she did not see.
“When does the dump close?”
The game came back on the television and he did not hear what she said next. What did it matter if the dump was closed, he could always toss the tree into the woods. No one would care. No one had cared last year.
“Jed! It’s not like last year!”
Could this woman hear his thoughts?
“Jed, you can’t just toss it in the woods like you did last year.”
“She’s right, Jed.”
Jed glared at Tom. He was supposed on his side.
“They made a law about it. Everyone has to have their tree turned in at the dump by close today.”
Jed laughed. Tom did not.
“You believe this stuff?”
“What are they going to do if I don’t?”
Jed’s wife exchanged a look with Tom. Tom pressed his lips together in a grim expression.
“That’s why I’m here, Jed. To arrest you if you don’t.”
Jed almost always forgot his friend was a deputy sheriff. Tom did not act like a cop. Tom was his neighbor, his hockey-watching buddy.
“I have orders.”
“Over a Christmas tree?”
“It’s new government regs.”
“Oh, Jed! It doesn’t matter what the law says, just obey it! Now, will you take the tree to the dump before Tom takes you?”
Jed turned to his friend.
“You’re not here to watch the game.”
Tom glanced at the television and then back at Jed.
“This is crazy! All over a Christmas tree! Soon they’ll be dictating whether we can have one at all.”
Tom stood up.
“Don’t tell me you agree with this?”
Tom did not say anything.
“Jed, please. The dump closes soon, you’ve got to get the tree down there.”
“Oh, alright, but I don’t agree with it.”
Jed stood up. The bag of chips spilled across the couch cushion and onto the floor. He grabbed the bottle of beer.
He turned to look at his friend. But Tom wasn’t his friend – he was hanging around to catch him. Tom hadn’t warned him about the Christmas tree law at all. They had sat that whole day watching the game and not once had Tom said anything.
“Jed?” His wife said again.
“You are going to take the tree? You don’t have much time left.”
Jed looked at the clock on the wall. Why hadn’t anyone mentioned this earlier?
Jed walked slowly to the garage door.
“I’ll go with you,” Tom offered.
“I think it’s best, Jed,” his wife said.
Jed closed the door behind him. He got into his truck and backed out the driveway.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this week’s addition of Tuesday Tales. Would you have taken the tree to the dump? Did Jed? Comment below.