Things were sombre around the debating table at the bakery in Rainy River the other morning. It started out when Cookie stormed out of the kitchen waving a handful of bills.
“Look at this crap! They’ve raised the price of coffee another two bucks a can and reduced the size of the container by five per cent,” she stormed, raising her voice a notch or two.
Pickle held out his cup and inquired if he might have his fifth ‘free’ refill. His timing couldn’t have been worse.
Cookie took a swat at him and knocked his hat across the room.
“That’s it. The price is going up 50 cents a cup, effective RIGHT NOW!” snorted Cookie as she wheeled around and headed back to the kitchen.
“And don’t forget my toast. Red River, with peanut butter and jam. . . two of them. . . Please, ” I ventured at the retreating whirlwind, politely but bravely, as I was at the far end of the table.
There was a stunned silence as the news of the price increase penetrated the thick skulls assembled there.
Then it started. Sort of like a jet engine winding up or a turbo charger hitting about 30,000 rpm. . . the whining, that is.
“50 cents a cup! Why that’s unreasonable,” brayed Ziggy as he jumped up and poured another full round of ‘free’ refills, slopping at least half a cup on the table.
“But my pension cheque only went up a buck 50 a month,” complained the Runt. “How am I going to be able to afford gas for my new pickup?”
Pickle retrieved his hat from the corner and morosely clamped it down on his head, “Might have to sell some of my junker lawnmowers,” he muttered to himself.
Through it all Tom maintained a stoic silence. Sawdust John broke into an excited stammer more rapid than his air nailer, as he rapidly recalculated his roofing repair rates.
Rick, the Mountie Wannabee, with a glum look on his face finally broke silence.
“My wife doesn’t love me anymore,” he whimpered as a tear leaked out of either eye.
“How so?” queried a dozen nosy voices in unison.
“Well I was tossing around in bed earlier this morning and accidentally rolled out and landed right on top of the old dog,” he explained as he wiped up the coffee Ziggy had slopped on the table and was now dripping onto his pants.
“It was quite a ruckus and Sweetie rushed in to investigate. But instead of helping me up, she went and got her camera and then laughed at me. Love is fickle,” he concluded as he took two spoons, a salt shaker, and the ketchup bottle out of his coat pocket and heaved himself unsteadily to his feet.
“Gotta take the crushed dog to the vet,” he explained of his early departure.
“No wonder you never made the Mounties. You can’t even ride a bed, let alone a horse,” barked Ziggy as he slipped two more spoons into Rick’s pocket and headed for the coffee pot for another round of refills.
And just in time, ’cause here comes Cookie with my toast, peanut butter and TWO jams.