Mary’s getting downright crabby.
“Have I told you,” she says, “that I need a new mattress?”
She has. A number of times.
We can’t blame her for being slow to pick up on another expenditure. The economy has not been kind to her and Jon in the last few years – and the years before that weren’t so hot either. A mattress is simply not in the budget.
“Lay here. No, seriously, lay down. Tell me what you think.”
How to describe Mary’s mattress?
Let’s put it this way: If you were to take a large burlap sack, stuff it with irregularly shaped pets – cats, ferrets, your smaller dogs – and then threw a couple of sheets, a decorative bedspread and a couple of pillows on it, you’d have an idea of what Mary’s mattress could be like if only it were a wee bit more comfortable.
“So what are you going to do?”
“Well, I can imagine this going a couple different ways,” she says thoughtfully. “I will either carefully hide $10 a week until I can afford it –“
“Prudent,” I interrupt.
“Thank you. Or I go ahead and take a cleaning job’s offer of borrowing me the money outright and then working it off – “
“Fiscally responsible,” I offer.
“Thank you. Or I avoid the whole outlay thing entirely, the police show up after you call them when you don’t hear from me for a week or two and they find Jon and I in a mutual-murder scenario brought on by lack of sleep wherein they find us with our hands locked around each other’s necks and T-Bone has eaten away parts of our faces out of hunger.”
T-Bone is their Labrador.
Mary takes a deep breath and there is the briefest of moments as I mull over these scenarios.
“All vivid and possible,” I muse. “I can see that you’ve put a lot of thought into this. May I throw my weight behind Options 1 and 2?”
Mary frowns. Clearly Option 3 had had its appeal – perhaps the idea of being debt-free and newsworthy carried more weight than she had initially let on when she had casually presented it – but she finally nods.
Jon will never know how close he came to being front page news.
And Mary’s on her way to getting a new mattress.
34 minutes ago