Big Billy – The keys to happiness

I’m one of these fellas that can dish it, but I can’t take it. If somebody does somethin’ stupid right in front of me, one of my talents is I can immediately think of about 20 different things to say to make fun of them. But if I do somethin’ stupid (hard to believe, I know), there better not be so much as a little snicker, or my temper goes through the roof.

Of course, my darlin’ wife Minnie knows how this works. The time she locked her Big BIllykeys in the truck, I basically did ten minutes of stand-up comedy at the top of my lungs out in the driveway, pointin’ and laughin’ at her the whole time. I was doin’ voices and wavin’ my arms around and everything. Neighbours out walkin’ their dog stopped at the end of the driveway just to see the spectacle. Of course, there was no harm done, because I just used my own keys to unlock the door. By the end of it, even Minnie was laughin’ a bit at some of my shenanigans.

A couple of weeks later I did the same thing. But the difference is, I was in a big hurry to get to Home Hardware before it closed. Minnie wasn’t in a big hurry when she locked her set of keys in the truck, so to me it was a whole different thing. Anyway, what I did was, I had my keys in my hand and was carryin’ Cyril’s circular saw I borrowed, figurin’ I’d drop it off to him after I went to the store. And, long story short, I must’ve accidentally put the keys down next to the saw and locked them in the truck.

Now, even though it’s an easy fix to just run in and get Minnie’s keys, it’s still a pain in the arse to get slowed down like that when you’re in a hurry. So I stomp all the way to the back door and into the kitchen, cursin’ under my breath the whole time.

Gives your keys! I yell to Minnie, and she comes out from the livin’ room.

My keys? she said, reachin’ for her purse. What do you need my keys…

And then it hits her, and she gets this little smile on her face.

You didn’t lock your keys in the truck by any chance, did ya? she says. Then she did that thing where she shifts her weight to one leg and puts her hand on her hip, while at the same time tiltin’ her head back and raisin’ her eyebrows. I seen that look many times over the years – it’s her Well-look-how-the-tables-have-turned face.

Just gimme the damn keys! I yelled. Only I never said “damn” exactly. Well, I might have said “damn” but if I did, it was mixed in with the two or three dozen curses I was also yellin’.

Later on, when I was drivin’ back home from the store, I had a sneakin’ suspicion that Minnie was gonna be upset with me for goin’ right ballistic like that.

But rather than be all upset with me, she did somethin’ much worse. She barely looked up at me from her crossword puzzle. If there’s one thing I hate even more than gettin’ yelled at, it’s the silent treatment.

So I finally said – Sorry about the keys, before.

She still never looked up from the paper. The only sound she made the rest of the night was one time she cleared her throat after she took a sip of tea. I’m tellin’ ya, it drove me nuts.

I figured I had to make it up to her. Cuz that’s one thing about me, buddy – I don’t mind admittin’ when I’m in the wrong. So I figured what I’d do was, I’d make us a nice little key rack and hang it up by the door. The best thing is, somethin’ like that is right easy to make. Ya just get a little piece of wood, screw in a few hooks, and that’s it – yer done.

I remembered from way back in the spring, when me and Cyril were drivin’ around huntin’ for heavy garbage, I found this length of really fancy wood. So I cut it down to about a foot long, sanded the rough edges off, found four hooks all the same in one of my old tobacco cans, and I screwed them in. It looked some good when I nailed ‘er into the wall, I’ll tell ya.

Minnie was down the basement at the washer, and I knew when she came up she’d want to see what I was nailin’. I wanted to show it off, so I dug my keys out right fast and put them on the hook, and then I dug hers out of the front of her purse. But then there was two hooks with keys and two hooks with none. So I took one of Minnie’s keychains (it said “Mom’s Taxi”) with a couple of keys off the main key ring, and put that on one of the hooks. I was just gettin’ my own little mini-screwdriver keychain and whatever keys were attached to it off my key ring, and by the time she got to the top of the stairs, I had keys on all four hooks and said, TA-DAAA!! So we don’t lose our keys anymore!

She was some surprised, and to top off my little apology, I told her to hop in the truck and I’d take her to Horton’s for a tea. I grabbed my keys and off we went. We were both in a great mood – until we returned to the locked back door and realized both our house keys were still on the hooks.

The worst thing is, Minnie wouldn’t let me break any of the windows, so we sat on the step for two hours ‘til one of the kids got home to let us in.

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