A real haunting

At first I thought it was the approach of Hallowe’en. The gaunt, haunted look plastered on the faces of many around the debating table at the Bakery in Rainy River was upsetting.
What was causing it? The composite truth leaked out after some intense questioning.
I first noticed the Runt was more morose than usual. What was bothering him, I asked.
“A small fortune to replace the front disks and rotors on the truck. It’s not even two years old and less than 40,000 klicks,” he moaned as a couple of tears the size of horse buns leaked down his cheeks and he stared at his toast and peanut butter—his appetite not up to its usual gusto.
“What, no warranty?” quizzed Scounger as he bounced the latest family addition on his knee. A worried look ran across his face as he considered his own, even newer pickup of the same brand.
“None! Not a cent! Only 12,000 on wear items,” snorted the Runt as he finally tucked into his toast.
“That’s what you get for buying one of those ‘Fix or repair daily’ units,” snorted Moose, his confidence in his GM boosted, easing his own doubt about the phantom shake developed since his last run over the pothole route to the lake.
Pickle wandered in—a similar blank, gaunt, haunted look plastered on his puss. Shaved, shampooed, and showered, he was just up from a nap after returning from the moose camp.
“I’m not sure. I think we got one the first day. It’s all a little fuzzy,” he replied to queries about the hunt as his shaky hands cupping the mug cautiously raised it to his trembling lips.
“If I remember more, I’ll let you know.
“What are you looking so bleak about, Elliott? Finally hit a deadhead with that pontoon boat,” Pickle then chided, a semblance of his old wit finally peaking through his pasty pallor.
“Naw. Too cold, so I’m pulling it out of the water this afternoon. Time to tuck it away for the winter,” I sighed, knowing how much I would miss my fishing trips.
My wife, the Pearl of the Orient, on the other hand is delighted, explaining there now would be no reason to put off all those other chores around the homestead.
“Sigh. . . .”
“You’re gonna need some power on the hitch,” said Pickle. “Scounger or the Runt would probably volunteer.
“’Course, I don’t know how their brakes are,” he added as the caffeine started to course through his system.
“No need,” I said. “L’il Red’ll handle it just fine. Thinks it’s a Peterbilt since I hung that new paint job and fresh clutch in it.
“Maybe I should put on a set of chrome stacks?” I postulated as I finished up my fifth cup of high test.
“When you backing it in the garage? We’ll be over to watch,” chortled Pickle as he shook off the last remnants of hunting camp hangover.
“Next Monday,” I lied as I hurried out the door.
Time to get this chore finished before the sidewalk superintendents showed up. Now that would be haunting.

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