My friend Floyd was getting a divorce after seven years of “wedded bliss.” He was seventy and looking forward to living alone without snipping and without compromise. His soon-to-be-ex-wife had already taken most of the furniture, and all of the good stuff, but she had not moved out of the house yet.
Floyd asked me to use my truck to help him pick up an item at the local consignment shop. We arrived at the loading dock and a strapping young man wheeled out a seven-foot-tall, solid oak secretary.
My pal is a strong, burly man but he has bad knees. So he stood by as the twenty-year-old and I loaded my truck. although the football-player-type had the heavy end, it was a strugle. I wondered how two old men were going to handle the unloading.
We arrived at Floyd’s house.
“I suppose you could have parked in the next county,” was Floyd’s way of reminding me about his bad knees.
We stood looking at the secretary. “Floyd, this darn thing is heavy.”
“It ain’t no hill for a couple of climbers.”
There was a time when Floyd and I could have carried that secretary up a whole flight of stairs. But that was forty years ago.
I took the heavy end and we started to inch it off the truck. The farther it slid, the more I strained mightly.Floyd got a hand under the other end.
“Are you ready?” he said.
I managed to nod through a grimace.
I began to shuffle backwards and he attempted to follow. He yelled, “Oh, %$#@,%$#@,%$#@, this frigger is heavy!”
The veins in his neck looked as if they were going to burst.
“I told you it was heavy.”
“What’s matter, Floyd?”
“Oh, lord, even my butt is hurting.”
“Man, you got to loosen up.”
I continued to edge backwards. When I felt my foot against the porch, I said, “I’m going to shift some of the weight toward you while I back-step onto the porch.”
“Oh, yeah, hell yeah. Kill me, why don’t you? Just shoot my sorry arse.”
We got the secretary up on the porch and into the living room with a banshee scream from Floyd on the last step.
“Put your end down!” he roared in panic.
I put it down, but Floyd was spent. He could not hold his end another second. His arthritic knees buckled. I heard a crunch. His eyes popped wide; his head bobbed. Then he shook all over and began to sink–slowly at first. I pulled the secretary upright as Foyd collapsed onto the floor.
He whimpered, “Lord, I’m coming home.”
Floyd’s wife sashayed into the room. She looked around. “I think it would look better over there.”
Eerie silence. I held my breath
Floyd growled, “It ain’t going over there. It ain’t going nowhere. I’ll walk around that %$#@ every day of my life, but I ain’t gonna move it one more %$#@ inch.