It all started when Minnie came home from a baby shower the other night with an armload of goodies. Not only did she have the usual stuff women come home with after a shower – a plate of sandwiches, a plate of sweets and a plate of cold cuts, she also had a whack of stuff she won at different games and that.
Look at this, Billy! she says. I won a muffin pan at bingo and a make-up set for a door prize, and this and that and – holy cripes, she was goin’ on like she won the lottery. And in fairness to her, she’d hold each thing up and show it to me while she was tellin’ me what it was and how she won it, and how jealous this one or that one got that she didn’t win it. But I had a major case of yes-dear and wasn’t payin’ any attention at all. Of course, by that point, I was well into the sandwiches and cold cuts and sweets, stuffin’ my face and tryin’ to keep one eye on the hockey game, which I could barely see in the livin’ room through the doorway.
The next morning was Sunday and we got woke up bright and early by some idiot knockin’ on the back door.
Go see who it is, Minnie groans from under her pillow.
Whuh? I say. It’s probably the dog scratchin’ to get out.
But then we both hear a woman’s voice sayin’ in like a sing-song voice – Are yis up yet? Minnie, I got your pan!
Sounds like it’s for you, I said, and threw the pillow over my head while she stormed off downstairs. Turned out it was Joan’s friend Evelyn, who’s in their club, though Minnie really can’t stand her. She was returnin’ one of Minnie’s pans at eight in the morning for some reason.
A few minutes later, Minnie comes back upstairs, cursin’ and grumblin’ and lookin’ for her drawers, sayin’ she’s gonna go help them clean up the hall from the shower the night before. A minute later she’s back downstairs and I can hear the door slam on her way out.
Of course, by then I can’t get back to sleep, so I go downstairs and put the tea on and go on a hunt for somethin’ to eat. I finished off all the sandwiches and everything but one date square the night before. So I ate that with my tea, but I was still some hungry.
For some reason, I got a hankerin’ for toast. So I put two slices of bread in the toaster and started diggin’ in the fridge, tryin’ to decide what to put on it. That’s when I noticed a little bottle of homemade jam sittin’ on the kitchen table.
Ah-ha! I said. Minnie musta won that at the shower last night.
So my toast pops and I take the cover off the bottle and start puttin’ the jam on it, but holy cripes, she’s thick jam. Ya basically had to scrape it off, but it seemed to melt into the hot toast right nice, and you wouldn’t believe how good it smelled.
Well I don’t mind tellin’ ya, I finished off them two pieces and then two more, and then two more again, and I was pretty well stuffed up on toast and jam by the time Minnie got back home.
She comes in the back door and she’s goin’ on and on about how she can’t stand Evelyn, and how she was useless cleanin’ up the hall.
Imagine! she said. The nerve of showin’ up at somebody’s house at eight in the morning on a Sunday!
My guts were startin’ to feel a bit funny, so I snuck upstairs to the bathroom. There was an awful noise comin’ from my stomach, but when I got up there, it was a false alarm.
By the time I came back downstairs, Minnie was yellin’ into the phone:
I just got back home and I’m tellin’ ya, Joan, the candle is gone! she said. And you seen last night how Evelyn was eyeballin’ that candle. She even said she wanted it before my name was drawn. I’m tellin’ ya, I left her alone in the kitchen this morning to go get dressed and she stole the candle! I’m gonna knock her block off! Minnie was yellin’.
I was about to ask what was goin’ on when – oh my cripes, the pain in my guts started up again. So I had to go back up to the bathroom. And it was terrible. It was this feelin’ like I had to go really bad, but absolutely nothin’ was movin’ down there.
I’m not usually that quick in the bathroom anyway, but I was in there a long time, even for me. I mean, I read the same Canadian Tire flyer front to back three times, and still nothin’ was happenin’. I could hear Minnie yellin’ on the phone the whole time, rantin’ and ravin’ about this candle Evelyn stole from her.
Then the yellin’ stopped all of a sudden. And I heard her hang up the phone. Then I heard the fridge door close and a few seconds later, I could hear her comin’ up the stairs. Then she banged on the bathroom door.
Billy! she said. Do you got a screw loose or what? I found what’s left of it my candle the fridge.
I never seen your candle, dear, I yelled back through the door. All I had was some of that homemade jam ya left on the table, and it’s doin’ an awful number on my guts.
It’s a candle, Billy, she said. Jam don’t got a wick in the middle of it. Now I gotta throw the candle away because there’s only about half of it left and it’s all cut up.
Well hang on, now, I said. Candle or not, it’s pretty good on toast.