Photo by Rae Cook

“You remember that big fight we had on Saturday night?” Bernie asks at the table.

“Which one?”

“You said something about how you were feeling, he didn’t say anything back, you got mad and said that talking to the Man is like throwing a pebble into a deep well, listening for a splash, and all you get is silence. That one,” says Stanley under the table.

“Yes, that one,” says Bernie. “Well, I just told this to Mike Brady.”

“The President of Greyston?” I ask. “Why did you do that, Bernie?”

“Because I got confused. I heard that Mike was calling me and I thought it was a different Mike.”

“Mike the dog walker?” wonders Stan.

“So let me get this straight, Bernie. You shared this intimate detail of our life together with the wrong person because you were confused about who he was.”

“Exactly,” says the Man. “I said hello and then I went into the whole story and didn’t stop till he told me that he wasn’t the Mike I thought he was.”

“About how long into the conversation was that?”

“Not long, 40 minutes.”

“Bernie, I’m not sure the whole world has to know all the intimate details of our life together.”

“You’re the blogger,” says Stanley. “You tell the world everything! Nothing is safe with you.”

“Speaking of safety, Stanley, remember Caro?”

“Caro the gardener? The one who told me to stop shitting by the flowers and under the laundry lines?”

“Especially when I had our white sheets hanging there, Stan.”

“I love shitting under the laundry lines!”

“It seems that Caro was gone for a few days and a fox went in and killed all her laying hens. Every single one of them, Stanley, can you imagine?”

“It couldn’t leave one for me?”

“You know what she did, Stanley? She killed the rooster.”

“She killed the rooster! Why?”

“Because it didn’t protect the hens, Stan. She also wrote that he was lonely and confused without the hens around, maybe traumatized by all that violence and death he wasn’t able to prevent. It would have been cruel to keep him all alone by himself till they regrouped with a whole new batch of hens.”

“Isn’t that a little radical for curing trauma? She killed him!”

“Butchered and ate him, Stan. End of story.”

“You know what? I’m not hiding behind a chair next time there’s lightning and thunder.”

“Why’s that, Stan?”

“Because you might eat me to cure me of my trauma! And you know how you plan to travel next week to be with your mother? Please, please lock the doors!”

“Stanley, you know we rely on you to guard Bernie.”

“Don’t rely on me! I’m old, I’m deaf, I’m blind, and I’m now retired. What happens if I sleep through a break-in?”

“Nobody will harm the Man, Stan.”

“It’s not the Man I’m worried. Just don’t plan on making any dog broth, okay?”