Big Billy – Pinch me

If yis got kids, then ya know what it’s like to be somebody’s personal banker. I think most kids got Little Bill’s philosophy, which is there’s no harm in askin’. Hey Da, can I have twenty bucks for the dance? Hey Da, I need fifteen bucks for guitar strings. Hey Da, if you give me a hundred bucks I’m pretty sure I could buy my buddy’s dirt bike.

The problem is, I’m kind of a big sucker whenever my kids ask for somethin’. The Big BIllyfact is, I know I haven’t been able to give them the best of everything by any stretch, so any time I can actually help them out and put a smile on their face, I’m probably gonna do it.

And I’ll admit this – that goes double for Rosie. Now, Rosie ain’t like Little Bill, because she hardly ever asks for anything. She’ll go entire months without ever askin’ for anything, and then when she does ask for somethin’, it’s usually because she got a good reason – like she needs to buy supplies for a science project or she needs new sneakers for gym class.

So you can imagine it was quite a surprise when I was sittin’ at the table the other mornin’ havin’ my tea with a piece of toast and some Cheez Whiz when she sits down and says – If it’s possible, do you think I could borrow twenty bucks?

Now, I don’t know about your house, but in our house twenty bucks is a lot of money. You put Minnie in a grocery store with our last twenty bucks and she’ll find a way to keep us all fed for a week. Twenty bucks is more than me and Minnie spent on each other for some Christmases, after makin’ sure the kids were taken care of.

So twenty bucks is no small amount. But the thing is, I knew Rosie wouldn’t ask for it if she didn’t really need it. And the other thing is, I had a twenty bucks in my shirt pocket from the night before. I was down at the club and the hockey game went to overtime and five of us went in on who was gonna score the winnin’ goal. I guessed right, so I came home with four five dollar bills in my pocket that Minnie didn’t even know I had yet.

Rosie was sittin’ there, lookin’ kind of nervous and feelin’ bad about askin’, but she’s such a good kid and she hardly ever asks for anything, I said to her – Go upstairs and find my blue shirt on my floor. There’s twenty bucks in the pocket. And then I winked at her and nodded toward her mother in the other room, which was my way of sayin’ – you keep quiet about this. She laughed and gave me a hug and off she went.

After that it just completely slipped my mind. I never thought to ask her what it was for or anything, and she never brought it up again.

So fast forward a week or so and Minnie’s just gettin’ ready to head out to the grocery store and she tells me she’s gonna surprise me for supper. Wait ‘til you see it, she says. What is it?! I said to her, because I can go right mental about food sometimes. It’s a surprise, she said. But it’s one of your favourites and you don’t get to have it that often.

So off she went, sayin’ she was gonna go to the store and the pick the kids up from school afterwards.

Holy cripes, there’s no controllin’ my stomach. The minute she was out the driveway I made myself two salami sandwiches just so I could think straight. I swear, when I know I got a deliious meal comin’ to me, I’m like a kid waitin’ for the Easter Bunny or somethin’.

But even after I ate my sandwiches, the suspense was killin’ me. So I went out in the fridge and looked around to see if I could find some kind of clue about what it might be. But there wasn’t too much in there. Half a thing of peanut butter, some cheese slices. Then I remembered me and Cyril drug home an old deep freezer from the heavy garbage. Only, we left if unplugged because Minnie didn’t want it runnin’ up the power bill, especially if it was broken.

I wonder if she plugged it in and started usin’ it or somethin’, I thought to myself. So I gumbooted it down over the stairs, but I could see the cord was still on the floor next to it, and it wasn’t plugged in. I opened it anyway, just to take a look at the shape of it again, and that’s when I found it.

Inside the freezer, in one of them tall white buckets like you get riblets in or somethin’, there was a live lobster, scuttlin’ around!

Holy frig, she got me a lobster! I yelled, and did a little jig, because I loves lobster. I couldn’t wait – I carried the bucket upstairs and turned on the stove and a few minutes later, I dropped the wriggly little fella right into the pot of boilin’ water.

I found it the lobster! I said to Minnie when she got home.

Lobster? she said, takin’ a steak out of the Sobeys bag. Whaddya mean?

And that’s when Rosie came in right behind her. She scrunched her face and sniffed for a second because the whole kitchen smelled like boilin’ lobster. That’s when she realized what happened, screamed, “Pinchy!” and ran upstairs, cryin’/

I guess she decided to rescue one of the lobsters from the tank at the grocery store by takin’ it home and keepin’ it like a pet. That’s what she wanted the $20 for.

Holy cripes, did I ever feel awful. Especially since he was so delicious.

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