AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: Tiny Little Happiness DATE: 10/17/2004 10:49:00 PM ----- BODY:
Back at Tim's house, I'm standing uselessly next to the couch in the completely empty living room, of yesterday's stripping fame. Tim and his dad are crouched on the floor behind the couch, digging at the phone wire, which is attached to the wall via layers of crusty paint and staples, which Tim is digging at with a screwdriver. "See if you can..." Tim's dad says, and there's a loud "POP." With preternatural calm, Tim's dad finishes, "...Okay, you want to not do that." "Is it painted on there?" "No, it's like it's resting on paint..." " it's resting on paint..." "...yeah and stuck to it that way..." They sound like one person talking to himself. I'm standing there, useless. I don't know why I felt the need to come back over here. Beats watching the Sox, though, after what's happened to them in the ALCS. It's like I've come over here to escape something. I don't know what. Tim's dad has gone downstairs. He wants Tim to feed the paint-encrusted wire down to him on the first floor. His father, standing on a stepladder in the closet downstairs, begins tugging the wire down as Tim pays it out through his hands. Tim's black jeans and laceless boots are covered in brown dust. Suddenly there's a catch. Tim stands still. We hear his father's boots clomping across the downstairs floor. Then we hear a crash. Another crash. Another. I run downstairs. Tim's dad is standing in the front room, fiddling with a lamp. "What, um..." this is maybe the third time I've ever spoken to Tim's father. "What happened?" "It got hung up on somethin'," Tim's dad answers. I have no idea what the lamp has to do with it. "I just gotta get it unstuck. Tell Tim not to do anything." "Stop!" I yell to Tim. He yells something muffled. "What??!?" "'Kayyy!" he hollers. Repeat the process. Tim starts feeding the wire down, it gets stuck. Turns out there was a staple he missed. He pries the last staple off the wall and begins feeding the wire through again. "Wait. Stop!" his dad yells through the floor / ceiling. After a few moments of rustling, he tells Tim to start pulling back up on the wire. It scrapes along back through the tiny hole in the floor, spraying dried paint chips. I take this opportunity to wonder if that paint is lead-based. Something catches. Tim tugs harder. Seconds later, he stops. He looks at me. I look at him. For a long, surprised moment, we just stand there. "Oh, shit!" I finally say. We start to giggle, then laugh in earnest. "TIM????" comes his dad's voice through the floor. Tim's holding up about a foot and a half of the wire, the end where it snapped off dangling just a few inches from the floor. "TIM?!?!?"