“What the hell are you doing, shit head?”
Joe was stunned by these words. Not by their content, but by the voice that had said them. Lying on his garage floor, Joe could see a pair of legs standing in the door way. He crawled out from his mechanic’s position to see the face of David Cook standing over him. He immediately smiled. “Well I’ll be damned,” he said as he stood up to shake the hand of his friend. “What are you doing here?”
“I came by to see you,” David replied.
“God, how long’s it been, two years?” Joe asked as he walked toward the refrigerator. “What have you been up to?”
“You know, school,” David told him. “I graduated last week.”
“No shit,” Joe laughed. “David Cook, college grad. Ol’ Miss Walker sure would be surprised.” Both men laughed at the thought of their senior year English teacher. “You wanna beer?” Joe was opening the refrigerator door.
“So you got any jobs lined up yet?” Joe asked as he handed him the beer.
“Actually I’m moving to Charlotte next week. I start my new job next Monday.” David told him. “What about you? What are you doing these days, mister family man?”
“I’m still at the plant.”
“Still?” David was only slightly surprised. “You must be a foreman by now.”
“Nope.” Joe took a large gulp from his beer. “I’m still on the line.”
“God I don’t see how you’ve put up with it,” David said. “That plant was one of the main reasons I went to college.”
“It’s a job,” Joe shrugged. “And like you said, I’m a family man now.”
“There’s no way I could stay here.” David explained. “This town will never change.” David realized that Joe was not looking very happy about the conversation topic. Wanting to change it he asked, “Where’s that old dog of yours?”
“Brutus died a couple weeks ago.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Well, he was old.” Joe told him. “Damn dog tore the hell out of my yard though.”
“They’ll do that.” David finished his beer. “Hey man, I’m gonna be staying with mom for the rest of this week. Give me a call and me, you and Sara can go out to eat.”
“Yeah, I’d like that,” Joe said. “We promised James we would take him to the fair sometime this week, but I’m sure we can get together one night. Your mom’s number still the same?”
“Yeah,” David told him. The two men shook hands once more and exchanged good-byes. David Cook walked down Joe’s driveway. Midway he stopped. Looking back at his friend he said, “Better get some fertilizer on this lawn. It’s startin’ to turn a little brown.”