Happy Sunday! (Or Monday, depending on where you live.) Just wanted to share something I wrote for JD Mader’s flash fiction line dancing and Karaoke party on Friday. And also in celebration of “MacGuyver” being added to the Oxford online dictionary. Which I always thought should have been a word.
All you wanted was coffee. You’d run out and didn’t trust yourself to make the forty-minute drive to the nearest diner uncaffeinated, so you’d knocked on the door of the nice neighbor ladies, who’d been so accommodating in the past with their home-baked goods and offers to take in mail.
Two hours later, you’re diagnosing the wiring of a light switch, and all you remember from high school shop classes is that you need to turn off the power first. But you’re supposed to know things, know how to fix things, being a single man living a single life in a single-family house, and staring into the naked wires with the fretful, dough-soft face of one of those nice ladies hovering over your shoulder, you cringe at your inadequacy.
“Am I bothering you?” she says, hands twisting a dishcloth.
Yes. Yes, she is. She’s reminding you that your XY chromosome is a pathetic little sucker, a setup for failure, a condemnation of the Madison Avenue images your cohort was raised to emulate: the Marlboro Man, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and MacGuyver. Damn you, MacGuyver, with your chewing gum and rubber bands, making us all look bad.
“No, Daphne, you’re not bothering me at all.” The flat blade skips free of the stripped screw head and digs into the meat of your opposite thumb.
“I’ll get you a bandage,” she sighs, trying for a reassuring smile. “And some banana bread? Would you like that, Frank?”
Like you’re her nephew. But the words are soft and powdered and soothe your nerves.
“Yeah. Thanks.” And the moment she’s gone, you take a deep breath, search the web for repair tips, then reposition the screwdriver, asking yourself what MacGuyver might do when he’s at home. Probably call an electrician.