New Neighbors on Cherry Street:




Lorraine was in her apartment checking her email for winks from prospective suitors, when she heard some loud banging coming from downstairs. Suzi started barking like crazy, so she decided she’d better take a look at what was causing this ruckus. She checked her make-up in the bathroom mirror and started down the stairs with Suki at her heels yapping.

There in the front door was a tall, stocky, bald man struggling to pull a Migun Bed though the front door. The doorway was small and the bed was obviously heavy and cumbersome, but the man tugged and swore at the thing, trying to drag it through the narrow opening.

Lorraine blushed at the creative word combinations the man was directing at the bed, and called out to let him know he had an audience. “Excuse me! Do you need a hand with that?” She glanced down at her hand and remembered she had just had a manicure from Snow at Citi Nails. There was no way she would chip a nail on that silly bed. “I mean what are you doing here?” 

The man swiveled around and flashed a radiant smile. “Well hello!” he purred. “Aren’t you lovely!”

Lorraine regretted her rude question. This was a real gentleman! “Well, thank you, sir! I’m Lorraine and this is my dog, Suki. I live upstairs. Are you moving in?”

He bent over and called Suki to him. The dog wriggled in delight and squeezed with pleasure when the man pulled a dog treat from his pocket. “I’m kind of moving in,” he explained. “My name is Salty Sailor. I have a house way out in Madison County and I’ve decided to see what it’s like to live in Black Mountain. I’m thinking of moving here but want to be sure before I actually move everything. I’m just moving the essentials into this small apartment here on the first floor.”

“What is that big thing you are bringing in now? she asked.

“A Migun Bed. You lie on it and it massages you. I have a very bad back and this sometimes gives relief. I have had forty-five surgeries so far. They call me by my first name when I enter Mission Hospital! And when I over-exert myself, I usually do damage to my fragile back. Like now. My back is killing me. By the way, you have beautiful hair! I tend to notice things like that.” Salty was bent over at the waist with both hands gripping his lower back. His shiny head reflected light.

Lorraine silently fluffed her hair with both hands. “Oh no!” she cried. “You’ve hurt yourself. Would you care to come upstairs and rest on my sofa? I can fix you a cup of tea.”

“That’s very kind of you,” Salty said, his voice muffled in pain. “I still have a load of tools in my truck that I want to bring inside before it gets dark.”

“Tools?” Lorraine asked. “I can help carry in some hammers and things like that.”

“No. I’m talking power tools. I have several big drills, a planer, a router, a miter saw and a jig saw I have to have with me at all times. Oh, and a generator. I hope there is enough power in this old building to operate these puppies.” said Salty.

“Are you planning to operate a wood shop in this building?” Lorraine asked curtly.

“No,” Salty replied. “I gave that up long ago. I just like knowing that I can build cabinets if I want to. Reminds me of the good old days.” 

“I’m relieved you aren’t planning to run a shop here,” Lorraine sniffed. “This is a very quiet building and we don’t need any loud machines making noise here.”

“Oh, of course not,” Salty replied. “I’m very quiet.” With that he attempted to stand up straight and let out a loud bellowing sound that made Suki start barking wildly. It sounded as if a bull moose were issuing a mating call in the doorway of 44 Cherry Street.

Lorraine thought the man had torn something loose inside himself and was about to call for an ambulance. “Are you okay?”

“Fine, fine! It’s nothing” Salty uttered between clenched teeth. “I’d better get finished moving these tools. I can’t leave them in the truck.”

“Why don’t you get some movers to help you? Those tools must weigh a ton.”

Salty looked up in disbelief from his lopsided position in the hall. “Why would I do that? This is a piece of cake.”

“Well, good luck. If you want a real piece of cake, knock on my door when you are done moving,” Lorraine said, as she turned and climbed back up the stairs with Suki at her heels.