Summary: A 21st Century Cartwright tale
Rated: K+ Word Count: 1700
21st Century Cartwrights Series:
Within the Circle
With a Two-edged Sword
With The Best Intentions
The Art of Weaseling
With All Deliberate Purpose
Death Walked This Way Today
Is This Normal?
Withholding the Dream
Tying One On
An AU short short tale
By Irish, Tahoe Lady
Afternoon. Give me a whiskey sour. Yeah, I know it’s been a while but you know how it is in the construction business. When the weather is good, your crews are out in the field and us engineers have to work our butts off to stay one step ahead of them. In the winter, like now, we’re working on bids for new work. Never a slow minute, not in my line of work. Today? Oh, that’s a different matter all together. You know my brother Joe? No, that’s my brother Hoss. He’s the middle one. He’s the one that runs the ranch. Joe is the one that works with me in the construction business, usually out in the field. Yeah, the little one, but don’t let him hear you call him that. Well, any way, started off this week just fine but he had trouble -no- with his Jeep. As far as I know he’s still chasing her, or she’s chasing him, I’m not sure which it is at this point. Anyway, like I was saying, he had trouble with his Jeep and had to put it into the shop. That was on Monday morning. Since he’s in the main office for the winter, he and I rode home together Monday night then back in on Tuesday morning.
Give me another whiskey sour, would you? That first one was good but wasn’t big enough. Ah yeah, that’s more like it.
Tuesday, oh yeah! Well, the car place didn’t have Joe’s Jeep- say that fast three times!- they didn’t have it done Tuesday morning but they said they’d have it done by noon. Well, we had a bid to do on Tuesday. Yeah, that big new hotel. Selected list of bidders, really big bucks to had there. Figured it was going to be like taking candy from a baby since my architectural firm designed it. Oh, sorry, I digress. Joe’s Jeep wasn’t finished by the time he had to leave to go to where the bidding was going to be, so, against my better judgment, I let him take my car. Yeah, the Jag. No, it’s a ’65, XKE convertible. That’s the one. Yeah, everybody but me calls it that. No respect for fine workmanship. I mean the car is a classic and deserves to be called something better than “the Grape”. Purrs like a big old cat, stretching out on the highway.
Oh, sorry. Yeah, I guess I did get a little over the top there didn’t I? Here, give me another drink. What? No, better not do another whiskey sour. Give me, um, let’s see, just make it a draft beer.
Like I was saying, I had to loan him my car. The bid was important and had to be handled by one of us. I would have gone but, well, I decided that Joe needed to it. Make him feel important. Part of the company other than just the field man. Know what I mean? ‘Sides, we’d be linked by cell phone so I figured what could go wrong? No, he got there on time but he forgot some of the papers and had to come back. Didn’t know it then but that’s when he got that speeding ticket. Wouldn’t have been so bad but my father saw the car pulled over to the side of the road with the cop leaning in the door. Yeah, Pa’s still in the State Legislature. More than twenty years now. And still real hard nosed about his public image so I guess that’s why he didn’t stop.
What? Oh, the beer. Yeah, it’s okay.
Like I was saying, Joe didn’t say anything to me about it, just got the papers and hustled back to the bid. Yeah, we got the bid all right! Cartwright and Sons Construction is gonna build that hotel. Only problem was, see Joe’s handwriting is deplorable, to say the least, and they made out of the figures what they could, seein’s how we had gone right to the wire before puttin’ in our dollar bid. Anyway, I guess we’ll make some money on it but not as much as I’d planned on. No, Joe, in his infinite wisdom, flip flopped two numbers when he told them what he’d written.
Gimme another beer, would ya?
Nobody realized the mistake until Wednesday morning. By that time, I’ve gotten my ass reamed out – oh, pardon my language but you know, well, maybe you don’t. My father had a few really choice things to say to me about my driving habits and that’s when I found out about Joe getting the ticket in my car. So, let’s just say that our brotherly ties were strained already come Wednesday morning when I brought him into work ’cause his Jeep still wasn’t ready. Ticked me off some when he come and asked for the Grape’s- no, the JAG’s- keys cause he’d left something in it. Boy would lose his head if it wasn’t attached some times. Then, when I found out about the bid, let’s just say the shit -er, mud- hit the fan. I hauled him into my office, and, well, tempers got out of hand. Mostly his, though! That boy better get a longer fuse! Anyway, he left, in a huff. Problem was, he still had my car keys in his pocket. Tried calling his cell phone a hundred times but he wasn’t answering it, little buzzard.
No, the beers just ain’t cuttin’ it this afternoon. What else you got? No, can’t say I’ve ever tried straight tequila. Good stuff, you say? Lemmee try some. WOW! You’re right, got a kick but it kind of wakes up the old taste buds, ya’ know?
Where was I? Oh yeah, Wednesday. Wound up having to drive one of the company pick-ups home. One of the old ones. Heater didn’t work half the time, couldn’t get it above forty-five and, when I find out who had that truck last, I’m gonna fire him. Left trash and soda cans in it. Ye gods, what a mess! Messed up my good boots in it. I get home and who rolls in right behind me? Yeap, that sawed off half brother of mine. In my car!
Sorry, didn’t mean to holler like that but it just twisted my guts to see him, smiling great big like he does and getting’ outta my car. Like he owned the damn thing!
No, I love my brother, don’t get me wrong. We’ve had some pretty good times together and our pa, well, he’s done a damn good job of bringin’ us up. All three of us, good solid relationship. My brothers? Ain’t none better. Stand beside ya through think and thank. No, I meant thick and thin. Guess this tequila is loosenin’ the old tongue.
What, on Thursday? The garage called Joe and said his Jeep was ready so we rode in together. No, the truck wouldn’t start. We got to the office- I had some important stuff to take care of right away- so I let him have the Jag. I don’t know why. Guess I thought ten blocks to walk in cold weather was too much. Well, he was gone a long, long, long time. When he showed up, I thought he was acting funny but I didn’t want to think about it, ya know?
Gimmee a nutter shot of that bug juice…no, I meant to say “another”, not- oh never mind.
Didn’t dawn on me till I went to get in the car and go home that Joe hadn’t been around all day. I guess he was tryin’ to be nice to me but he shouldn’t have bothered. See, he’d run the car through a carwash somewhere then brought it back to the lot and parked it. You ‘member how cold it was yesterday? Them doors were froze solid. Couldn’t get the top down to get in without being in the damn car! I tried calling him so he’d come back and get me but he wasn’t answerin’ his Jeep…no, his phone, I meant to say he wasn’t answerin’ his phone. Finally got a hold of my father and he gave me a ride home.
No, I don’t think I wanna ‘nother. Just listen, though! Today it warms up, right? I figure I can finally get my own car and take myself home. Alone! Drive home alone. Got down to the parking lot and I figger’d out why Joe’d washed my car. Reeked of skunk. No, the car, not my brother. The little bas -jerk – I know I shouldn’t call him that but – he’d hit a skunk! Now, my car, my beautiful classic sports car reeks of skunk. Any idea how long it takes for that odor to leave leather seats? Months, probably.
Sorry, didn’t mean to lose control an’ cry like that. A grown man, cryin’ over his car. What? What do ya mean, you ain’t gonna let me drive mysel’ home? Okay, maybe you’re right and I shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Would really give Pa somethin’ to holler ’bout wouldn’t it? And lo! The voice of Moses himself makes half of Nevada tremble!
Yeah, here, call the Ranch. While you’re making the call, gimmee another shot of tequila.
Huh? Hoss ain’t there? Damn! No! Don’t say a word to Joe! Just ask for Hop Sing. On second thought, go ahead and tell Joe. Tell him to come get me. And wear his good coat. His good suede leather coat.
Evening, Mister Cartwright. What’ll you have? Sure, here you go. No, haven’t seen Adam or Joe since earlier when Joe picked Adam up and they left in Adam’s car. No sir, you know I wouldn’t let a man under the influence drive. That’s why I had Joe come pick him up. Yes, sir, would have thought three hours and they would have been home already. Well, I think Adam had something in mind when they left. He kept mutterin’ something about the gas gauge bein’ wrong but then when they left, I saw Joe head out towards the flats. I wouldn’t worry, sir. They both had on their heavy coats and Adam had his cell phone.
Tahoe Lady Irish
Next in the 21st Century Cartwrights Series: