Big Billy – Drop the puck, boys

Thank cripes the hockey’s back, eh? Just bow your heads and say a little prayer for all us poor fellas who had to spend Saturday nights doin’ somethin’ home with the wife and kids. Hockey season is supposed to give ya a break from havin’ to do that the other six nights of the week, so when she’s gone, ya miss ‘er somethin’ fierce.

Oh, don’t think we didn’t go down without a fight. After a few weeks without hockey, me Big BIllyand the fellas were sittin’ around Tim Hortons starin’ into our coffee cups like shell-shocked Vietnam vets. I remember one mornin’ Cyril came in all slumped over with bags under his eyes and everything.

Ya know what I did Saturday night instead of watchin’ hockey? he mumbled without lookin’ up. He was like one of them people ya see on TV describin’ how quiet the crime scene was before somethin’ terrible happened.

I helped the wife take down the curtains in the living room so she could wash them.

Everybody groaned.

Not only that, he said. But she says, while we got the curtains down, we might as well clean the windows.

That’s not right! a couple of us grumbled.

Then we spend another hour puttin’ the damn things back up, puttin’ the rods through each little hook and the whole shebang.

No! Murph said, and banged his fist on the table.

Ya know the thin, see-through, white curtain that goes between the big curtain and the window? Well them are called “sheers”, Cyril said. I’m not supposed to know somethin’ like that!

We decided then and there, we’d all get together the next Saturday night just like we do when hockey’s on. We’ll tell the wifes we’re goin’ out for a “guys’ night”, and that’s all there is to it.

Of course, when I came home and told Minnie that she went right snakey and asked what in the hell we were gonna do, sit around and look at each other? She said we’d get ourselves up to no good, head down the tavern and drink money we don’t have and all that stuff.

But Minnie’s a smart cookie, so Saturday night I hear her on the phone orderin’ pizza.

Now right away, I knew somethin’ was up, because normally it takes a solid two hours of negotiatin’ and pleadin’ your case before she’ll cave in and let me and the kids get pizza. And here she was orderin’ it herself?

Did you just order pizza? I said, my face lit up like a Christmas tree.

I had to, she said. There’s not a kick out of the stove. If we don’t get it fixed, there’s no way I’m gonna be able to bake all them brownies tomorrow morning I offered to make for Joan’s thing.

Anyways, we had our pizza (she didn’t even roll her eyes and yell at me about havin’ a heart attack when I went for my third slice), and then I figured I’d have the stove fixed in about ten minutes and be out the door and on my way over to Murph’s.

For the next two hours I take the stove apart piece by piece, testin’ each one and gettin’ nothin. The oven won’t come in, all the burners are dead. Even the clock was dead as a nit. I had the panel off and took all the screws out, took out each of the fuses, rubbed them on my shirt and put them back in, but nothin’. I went downstairs and dug around in an old tool box because I knew I had an old manual for that kinda stove, and as far as I could tell, everything shoulda been workin’.

The only thing I could think was it might be some kind of power problem, like the cord got all frayed where it comes into the stove or somethin’, which I hoped it wasn’t because that can be dangerous. So I inch the stove out from the wall bit by bit and then I see, after two hours of friggin’ around with it, the only problem is, somebody unplugged it.

G’way, Minnie said. Musta fell right out of the wall, huh?

I checked the clock on the microwave and seen I still had an hour before the liquor store closed, so I took my time gettin’ ready – read the Canadian Tire flyer in the bathroom, got showered, and came downstairs all ready to go a while later.

Headin’ over to Murph’s, I said.

Oh, Minnie says, and she can’t keep herself from smilin’. The liquor store closed ten minutes ago, so I figured ya weren’t goin’.

No it didn’t, I said, lookin’ at the clock on the microwave. It’s open for another 15 minutes.

But it’s – she looked at the watch on her wrist then looked up and the microwave. Oh, she said. The time on the microwave must be wrong. It’s ten-after, not quarter-to.

She got me. She won. I went into a rage about how she tricked me with the stove and the microwave and she went into a rage about me goin’ out drinkin’ and about ten other things and we went to bed mad.

I almost didn’t want to show my face at Tim Horton’s Monday mornin’. I walked in and they were all lookin’ down and not sayin’ nothin’.

I’m sorry I never made it over Saturday night, I said. Minnie broke the stove and I had to spend the whole night fixin’ it.

They all breathed a sigh of relief. Cyril got stuck babysittin’ his grandson, Tommy had to drive his daughter to a school dance – everybody mysteriously got tied up with somethin’ and never made it over.

Thank cripes yis didn’t show up, Murph said. Diane and her two sisters spent the whole night in the kitchen dyein’ their hair.

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