Peter realized he was in trouble when windows in 44 Cherry Street flew open and heads poked out asking him whatthehellisgoingondownthere???  Chip threatened to come down into the yard and “Kick your ass!” And Peter, who is all about survival, threw his shiny pick axe into the purple asters blooming at the edge of the garden, and took off running.

After the guys from Duke Energy were called in and replaced the thick cable that Peter had split, power came back to 44 Cherry Street. Tom was in the bathroom when the lights went back on and he caught a glimpse of his bloody, foamy face in the mirror. With no window in their bathroom, one could see nothing if the lights were out. He could feel the pain in his forehead from the nasty fall he had taken and felt stickiness on his face, but he had no idea how bad he looked. He picked up a towel and gingerly wiped his face.

Tom mused about the pros and cons of electricity. It was great being able to flick on lights, to have a refrigerator, to enable water to be pumped into the apartment, and to watch reruns of The American Pickers on tv. How different life would be if there were no electricity! He remembered a short story he had read not too long before. The story was an extended metaphor. The writer was trying to describe the person he loved, and he  compared her to the bringing of electricity to midwestern farmers. Their lives were enriched many-fold. No longer would they have to fumble around in the dark,cold barn, trying to locate Bossy’s udder. And so on. And, he concluded, “That’s what you look like to me.”

So sweet. What did Summer look like to him, he wondered.

He thought about his favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids. He loved the way the candy was so multi-dimensional. First it tasted sweet, but when you got into it, the lively sour flavor came through, making it more intense. Each time he popped one of the kids in his mouth, he was taken by surprise by the intense flavor. And he couldn’t stop himself from eating them. If he opened a bag, even a big bag of Sour Patch Kids, he would eat the whole thing. It was irresistible.

Usually when he ate Sour Patch Kids, he would throw them mindlessly into his mouth. One day, though, he looked at his hand and noticed how uniform the kids were. A machine obviously stamped them out in the bright rainbow of colors they came in. As he admired the attractive, albeit unnatural, colors of the candy, he noticed one particular Sour Patch Kid who was different from the rest. Somehow this one kid was red, green, and blue, and was an unusual shape. How did this one candy defy the odds, slip through the machinery, and come out totally different from all the rest?

That’s what Summer looked like to him.

Upstairs, Lorraine rushed to her computer and logged on when the power came back on. She clicked on and scrolled down to see if she had attracted attention. Sure enough, there was a fellow interested in her. He had sent her a message saying, “You look kinda cute to me. Write back to me and tell me more about yourself.”

Lorraine clicked on John Henry’s page and peered at his out-of-focus photo. Perhaps she should get an out-of-focus photo on her page. That way she could disguise the wrinkles and saggy jowls better. Not a bad idea. There was nothing about this guy that a blurry picture could make bearable. He was bald and had a tremendous beer gut. He looked much older than the 60 he claimed. Still, she scolded herself for judging him too harshly based on his appearance, and opened his statement:

“I enjoy long walks on the beach and snuggling by the fire on long winter nights. I am looking for a woman who knows how to treat a man right. A woman who knows how to cook and can mix a mean drink. A woman who loves watching football on Sundays and jumps up without being asked to refill a man’s glass. A woman who keeps herself up, who isn’t fat, grey, or wrinkled. I am looking for an old-fashioned girl who is modern in her sexual freedom and doesn’t get hung up about trying something new.”

Lorraine had read enough. Even though John had gone on about what he was looking for, Lorraine assured herself that she was not the right one for him, and that he certainly wasn’t right for her. At all.

She wrote back:

“Dear John,

Thanks for expressing an interest in getting to know me, but I can assure you that I am not the sort of person you would like. Our interests do not match at all. I hate football and  wouldn’t consider jumping up to refresh your glass. You say you like skeet shooting and hunting, and those do not interest me either. You probably would expect me to field dress a deer you had shot, and I am a vegetarian.

Don’t waste your time emailing me back.



Discouraged, Lorraine shut down her computer and called to Suki to come and get ready to go for a walk. She hoped a long walk around the block and an iced mocha at Dripolator would cheer her up.