The Perils of Possum Point is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between persons, organisations or events described here and actual persons, organisations or events is purely unintentional.

Under Construction

An old window sailed out the door of Ned's cottage, making a great clatter as it hit ground. It was followed shortly by an old beam and part of a door. There was a great groaning sound, then a heavy clunk. Another beam sailed out the door, and the roof seemed to sag slightly. Then there was the unmistakable scream of a radial saw, followed by a stream of curses.

The sun began to rise. The birds began to wake up. The doggie song echoed forth from Ned's cottage, for he had hired John to "fix the place up." As if on cue, glubglub, who was now tied up in Ned's driveway, began to howl. After a moment, John started howling too, this serenade being cut short only by the whine of the radial saw.

Meanwhile, many miles away, Ned was attending a business conference. He had left John with a key. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake, but that which is done remains done and there is no taking it back.

Jason next door, awakening somewhat earlier than normal, wandered over to see what was going on, and also, perhaps, to complain about noise in the wee hours of the morning. John let him in, and displayed his work. In the main, it was a mythical journey, since the place now looked like the scene of a terrorist attack.

"The sink will go over here, and there, where that hole is, we'll put a counter. Those beams come down, and there'll be some cabinets there, and over there, where the floor has fallen through, I think the stove might go, though I'm not really certain yet."

"Looks like you have it all in hand," said Jason, thinking the contrary. "You realise to put in the stove, you're going to have to rewire the place."

"Well, yeah," said John. "I'll just get some wire and put it on Ned's account, and just plug it all in, and it'll be all done when he gets home."

"You haven't done this before, have you," stated Jason.

"No, no, not quite this. I mean, I've laid some concrete and fixed a door, but I can suss it all out, and, you know, she'll be right."

"Ah," said Jason. "And does Ned know this?"

"Well, I think maybe he does, but I never said so directly. Though it really doesn't matter, does it, if it all goes together?"

"Better have someone take a look at the wiring, then," said Jason.

"Well, maybe you could do that?"

"For a beer."

"Done. Ned has a bunch of cold ones in the fridge there, and since the power is all off, they'll just be going bad if we don't drink them, and so we'll have to have them pretty fast, too."

Jason drew forth a tray of stubbies, and decapped two on the side of the counter.

"There's some meat in here, and all," said Jason. "That'll go bad, too, don't you think."

"I'm sure it will," said John. "We should cook it up, at any rate. Maybe a little later."

Soon enough, it was a little later, and most of the beer was gone. John decided that it was time to knock off, so he looked for the barbecue in the back shed. Jason gathered some wood. In hardly any time at all, the meat was sizzling on the grill. Jason stopped home, returning with Sara, who brought along some crisps and vegetables.

The smoke arose from the barbie, and gently wafted across the neighborhood. Nigel Lofton caught the scent and stopped by. "A barbie," he exclaimed, "can anybody join?"

"Oh, yes," said John. "We're using up some meat that was going bad on account of all the electricity..." he made a very wide gesture with one arm, "..being turned off."

"Choice," said Nigel, and he returned with a slab of beer, a handful of sausages, and his partner, Leila. She brought a salad. Her friend Nora from across the Common also had to come along, wisely bringing another barbecue since Ned's was already full.

Of course now there was considerable commotion, and other local folk stopped in, brought the odd plate, and Jason even got Ned's stereo system going, using a long extension across the fence. The records were provided by Trevor McGill, since Ned didn't have a CD player and only Trevor had records that you could listen to. They were mostly blues. The volume rose, and there was dancing in the general area of where the garden once had been.

Everyone had lots of beer. The sun went down, and it started to get dark. It was getting late, and people began to leave. At last, no-one was left, and the only sign that anyone had been was a cartload of empty beer cans, lots of paper plates, and residues of this and that.

Ned turned into his driveway. It had been a long day. On the whole, the conference had been successful. It was dark. He stumbled into his cottage, and promptly fell into the floor.

John was sitting in the next room. "Watch yourself," he said, "the place is in a bit of a mess, because, well, I got started on fixing things up, but it wasn't getting along too quickly, and I'll finish it up tomorrow."

Outside, glubglub yowled. Puzzled, Ned walked into the next room. "You mean you started already?" he said. "I wasn't really certain that..."

"Oh, it's all right, I just went ahead, and things are getting done. Yup, things are sure getting done."

"I can't really see. The lights won't go on."

"Minor adjustment," replied John.

"What did you get done, then?"

"Things. But don't worry. It'll all get fixed tomorrow."

"Fixed?"

"Yeah, fixed. Looks not so good now, I think. Not really so well. But it will look better in the morning."

"Ah," sighed Ned. Glubglub yowled. Suddenly there was a great crashing sound as the roof in the other room collapsed.

"Oops," said John.

"Oh, Lord," said Ned.

"Too bad you missed the party. You would have felt a lot better about it if you'd been to the party."

"What party?"

"Right here. Well, it turned into a party. But maybe you don't want to hear about that now."

"I guess not," said Ned. "But at least the birds won't nest under the eaves anymore."

"Too right," said John. "Want a beer?"

Once more, night descended upon Possum Point, and Ned began to think about possibly rebuilding, possibly turning the kitchen into a porch, or maybe just putting up a tent..

 Copyright (c) 1996, 1997 Brian J. Dooley