Little Bill’s a teenager now, and he’s usually off with the girlfriend or bangin’ on his guitar tryin’ to be a rockstar, so there’s not too many chances for the two of us to hang around the way we used to when he was a kid.
There was a few years there we were partners in crime, me and Little Bill. The time I had to open the trap under the bathroom sink to fish Minnie’s wedding ring out of there, Little Bill was right there holdin’ the flashlight and turnin’ the water on so it poured out all over me. Or the time a pigeon somehow flew in the kitchen window and me and Little Bill chased it all around the house with a broom and a garbage bag – he was climbin’ all over the furniture and jumpin’ off the coffee table while Rosie and Minnie chased behind us, screamin’ to catch it almost as loud as they were screamin’ not to hurt it.
And it don’t seem like that long ago Little Bill’s favourite thing in the world was to get his big plastic bucket of dinkies, spill them out all over the living room floor and the two of us would drive them around for hours, makin’ imaginary cities where the cars drove around kleenex-box skyscrapers. In all yer life ya never seen a kid so mental about dinkies – he had hundreds of them.
Anyways, with all the snow we had last weekend here ya could barely get the back door open, so I booted Little Bill up out of bed and the two of us started shovelin’. If there’s anything more miserable in the world than shovelin’, holy cripes I don’t know what it is. I swear I’d rather get my parts caught in my zipper than freeze my arse off shovelin’ a driveway.
We prolly weren’t even out there ten minutes and I was huffin’ and puffin’ like crazy, all sweaty in my jacket even though it was about fifty below. But Little Bill was cuttin’ through the snow like a man on a mission. I don’t know what got into him, since he’s usually lazy like his old man, but he was really puttin’ on a show.
We were out there for an hour and half, shovelin’ our way from the back step, down the driveway, out around the truck, all the way to the street where the plow went by twice and left a pile so big ya could prolly see it from outer space. Astronauts coulda been turnin’ to each other and sayin’ – is that a new country down there? No, it’s just what the plow left in Billy’s driveway.
Anyway, by the time we got ‘er all dug out I was sore and cold and tired, and I figured there’s only one thing that could fix me up – a Tim’s coffee.
The men are goin’ on a coffee run! I said to Minnie, clappin’ Little Bill on the back when we got in the kitchen.
Yer whuh? Minnie said. Are ya mental, or what? Look at the roads out there. Everything’s closed and they just said there’s more snow’s comin’. Why would ya risk it to go out in this to have a coffee ya could just as easily make right here for free?
And with that, I kissed her on the forehead and we were on our way.
Now, it’s at least a few years since Little Bill went through a drive-thru with me and actually got somethin’, so when we slipped and slid our way to Tim’s and waited in line at the drive-thru for a while, I figured he’d want what he used to get when he was little.
Chocolate milk, bud? I said.
Large black coffee, he said.
Good man, I said. And ya might think it’s crazy, but Little Bill orderin’ his first coffee with his ol’ man ranks right up there for me. Yer supposed to get excited when your kids take their first steps, or say their first words and all that stuff. But when ya can sit down and have a Tim’s coffee with your son, then ya know he’s becomin’ a man.
A few minutes later, we’re back on the road and I’m sluggin’ on my extra large triple-triple while he’s sippin’ his large black.
Hey, I said. I got an idea. And we drove around until we found a big parkin’ lot that hadn’t been plowed out a second time, so it had just enough snow to slip around in.
Watch this! I said, and I tore the truck around in circles, doin’ donuts in the snow, and the two of us were holdin’ onto our coffee and yellin “Yeeeee-haw!”
I started singin’ the Dukes of Hazzard theme song, which I do whenever I’m doin’ fancy drivin’ stunts.
Just-a good ol’ boys! Never meanin’ no harm!
This is awesome! Little Bill yelled as we spun out and sent a giant wave of snow into the air.
Let me try, eh?! he said. And we were havin’ such a good day, I said to hell with it, threw ‘er in park, jumped out and we switched sides.
So it’s his first time drivin’ a vehicle and his father’s teachin’ him how to do donuts. We spun around once or twice and he was havin’ the time of his life.
Watch this! he said. He floored the gas and drove us right into a snow drift. I think he thought we’d drive up and over it like it was a ramp, but what happened was, there was one of them big concrete dividers hidden in the snow, and we smashed into it and got the truck hung up.
So we’re standin’ there, waitin’ for the tow truck to come.
Your mother’s gonna kill me, I said.
Yeah, but look, Little Bill said, takin’ a sip from his cup. I never even spilled my coffee.