Arbor Day

Annie Pitts cuffed her right hand to her husband Leroy’s left hand. Then she did the same, except with the opposite hands.

“Nobody else is here.” Leroy’s face was pressed on the bark.

“They’ll be here,” Annie replied. She could not see Leroy.

“It’s raining.”

“So?” Annie’s face was not pressed on bark.

“So they don’t cut down trees when it’s raining.”

The rain got harder.

“None of your friends are here either,” Leroy said.

“They’ll be here.”

“It’s raining.” Leroy was wet. “Where are the keys?”

“In my pocket.”

“Give me the keys.”

“Leroy.”

“Give me the keys.”

“Leroy.”

“May I please have the keys?”

Annie couldn’t reach her pocket. “You have to bring your arms down, Leroy.”

“I can’t get them down any further, Annie dear. There’s a big freaking branch right here.

There was a big freaking branch right there.

“Well I can’t reach my pockets, Leroy.”

“Is it murder to break off the branch?”

“Leroy! It’s Arbor Day!”

“Well that’s just great.” Leroy shook his arm like mad, and the chain banged against the tree branch. The cuff tightened and his wrist began to bleed. “Well that’s just great.”

“Maybe if I get on top of it I could reach my pocket.”

“Do it.”

Annie and Leroy sidled around the tree until Leroy’s shoulder bumped into the branch.

“Wrong way,” Leroy said.

They two-stepped the other way until Annie’s face was pressed against the branch.

“How am I gonna get up there?”

“Try to kick your leg up there,” Leroy said. “Then I’ll just keep going counter-clockwise and the cuffs will pull you up.”

“My arm will fall off!”

Leroy did not respond. Annie sighed and started kicking. She didn’t even come close. After five minutes she stopped.

“Well,” she said, “we’re just going to have to wait for the rest of them to get here.”

“It’s raining,” Leroy said.


“We really ripped that fucker out by the roots, didn’t we?” Leroy was dry.

Annie did not look amused.

Leroy continued laughing as he took a bite out of a block of smoked cheese shaped like a pig. “Right by the roots.”

“You’re disgusting,” Annie said. Her right arm was in a pale green cast that matched the wall perfectly.

Leroy laughed harder and chewed up cheese mush came out of his nose. He pulled a napkin from his lap and wiped his face, smearing the cheese across his lip like a mustache.

“We were saving the world and we ended up destroying precious life!” Annie wiped bits of smoked cheese pig from her blouse with her good hand.

“It was a damn tree, Annie!” Leroy accidentally bit the inside of his lip. “They were just going to cut it down anyway.” He washed the blood and cheese from his mouth with a swig of whole milk.

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