February 24, 2020

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks

Harold was going fishing. He had looked forward to it for a long time. He finally took a day off and he was going. He didn’t bother to get up early. He had all day to take it slow, easy, and relax. His equipment was already in the boat, left there since his last trip. All that remained was to add ice and beer to the cooler, pack some sandwiches, and hook the boat trailer to the pick-up. Ready to go, he went inside to say good-bye to his wife.

“Did you open the garage door?” she asked.

That was a snide reference to one of his previous trips when he was in much more of a hurry. He had wanted to get an early start that morning so he had hooked the trailer the night before, backed the trailer into the garage and closed the door on the tongue of the trailer. The next morning he overslept and, in his haste, attempted to drive off without opening the garage door.

She never missed a chance to remind him.

“Yes I did, thank you very much. See ya later.”

“You better take some sun block, those cut-offs are pretty short. You’ll get fried. Got your hat?”

“Yep,” Harold answered, “got everything.” It was already hot by the time he got on the road to the lake, so he rolled the windows down to allow a breeze in the cab. He didn’t mind the heat, and his dog, Kelly, loved to stick her head out the window. They were almost to the lake when Harold felt a little tickle as if a bug had crawled in the leg-hole of his cut-offs. He casually brushed it away. This was not the thing to do. Whatever it was stung him instantly in a very sensitive spot. Harold slammed down on the brake pedal with this right foot and lifted his left leg as high as he could. He clawed with his left hand in the leg-hole of his cut-offs while steering the truck with his right hand.

Kelly dug in her toe nails enough so that she swung around before sliding off the seat backwards, landing unhurt under the dash. Harold managed to stop the truck in the middle of the road, jammed the gearshift into park, and jumped to the ground. He danced around on the side of the road, shaking each leg alternately, trying to dislodge the intruder. Satisfied that whatever had stung him was gone, he looked down his shorts to assess the damage.

Meanwhile, Kelly had returned to the seat and stood in the open door with her tail wagging and a curious look on her face. Harold had never had a reaction to a sting before, but he noticed there already was some swelling. He leapt back into the truck, hung a u-turn right in the middle of the road and tore for home. Even though it seemed longer, the return trip took much less time. As the swelling increased, so did the speed of the truck. On the last few turns for home, the boat trailer was swinging from side to side, skipping like a flat rock on a pond.

Harold ran, with a bow-legged gait into the house and yelled, “I got stung!” His wife answered as she came into the room,

“So?” Then she noticed that the swelling was no longer confined within the cut-offs, and remarked, “Keep that thing away from me!”

While helping him remove his cut-offs, she could not suppress an occasional snicker. Harold didn’t think it was all that funny, even when she had to cut off his cut-offs. The only pants he had that were loose enough to allow any comfort were his coveralls, so he put them on for the trip to the emergency room. The nurse rushed him into an examining room while his wife stayed behind to fill out the paperwork. He started to get a good feeling about these loving, caring professionals when it became obvious that everyone in the emergency room was taking a genuine interest in his recovery. Then just as the door was closing behind a nurse, he overheard, “You gotta see this!” After some ‘amputation’ remarks, the diagnosis was a wasp sting, and the doctor said he was lucky there was only one.

The last thing Harold felt was lucky. Although he eventually recovered completely, Harold walked funny for a while and his participation in certain activities was sharply curtailed. For one thing, he didn’t go fishing again for a year.

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