By Super Bowl Sunday Elrod had moved in with Neetu. He enjoyed the diaphanous curtains in the window, the sweet cinnamon-scented treats she fed him, the neatness of her apartment, and the smell of incense that filled the rooms. She enjoyed his pungent manly smell and hot sex. She had never had a child, and she enjoyed children, so his whining, complaining, and hissy fits made her feel maternal.
Elrod was excited about the Super Bowl. He didn’t know which teams were playing or where the game was to be held, and he had no interest in watching the game. He did tune in the game, though, and would occasionally look up from his drink at the funny advertisements, but his main interest in the Super Bowl was the license to get really drunk and stupid for the entire weekend.
Elrod had cleared his calendar for the whole week and had already notified his boss that he wouldn’t be coming in on Super Bowl Monday. Instead of President’s Day, Elrod believed that Super Bowl Monday should be declared a national holiday. People around the world were too hung-over on that day to be good for anything. Everyone who was a sports fan deserved a day off.
He invited his buddy Rick to come over and “watch the game” with him. He looked down on Rick a bit, though, because Rick was an alcoholic. He knew that Rick was an alcoholic because he called in sick every single Monday. Elrod, too, called in sick every Monday, but he had good reason. He would forget to buy oil for his sister’s house in Madison County, and she would call him angry and remind him that he had promised to keep her oil tank filled. Every week he had to get some small oil cans and carry them over to her place. He didn’t fill a bigger can though, and go less often, because he believed it cost too much to fill it up. She would do it herself, but she was too large to get out much. In fact, she was pretty much confined to the sagging sofa in front of her tv set. He also brought her bags of chips and cans of beer. She had a small fridge beside the sofa and could reach down and grab a cold one. That limited the number of times she had to haul herself out of the deep sofa cushions.
When he wasn’t helping his sister with her oil and food, he was running over to his insurance company to pay his bill. While most people paid insurance bills by the month, he paid weekly to keep the cost down. They charged him extra for this service, but he insisted it saved him money because it cost less each week. Some people (like his boss) didn’t believe him when he said he had to take off from work to pay his insurance again, but they were stupid. He had to drive all the way from Black Mountain to West Asheville. That took the entire day! Of course he had to lose a day’s pay, but it couldn’t be helped.
Even though Elrod had moved in with Neetu, he kept most of his things over in his own apartment. He had brought it all over to her place at first, but he saw her touching one of his wrenches and he panicked. He believed she was disrespecting his tools! He had a small fit and carried every single thing back across the hall and locked the door. No one was going to disrespect his tools. He could leave them out in the rain and let them get rusty, but that was on him. Other people were not allowed to play with his stuff!
Secretly Neetu was relieved when Elrod removed his stuff from her tiny apartment. She didn’t mind the musty clothing so much, or the smaller tools. The two lawn mowers, though, were over the top. They occupied the whole living room and she kept tripping over them. “Can’t you leave the lawn mowers out back?” she had asked, meekly.
“No!” he thundered. “I love my tools. Why don’t you stay out back?”
Neetu thought that he sounded just like an adorable seven year old, so she let it go. “Whatever you say,” she said.
“I know you are, but what am I?” replied Elrod angrily. Neetu smiled indulgently.
Elrod went to the dollar store to buy supplies for the game. He had fewer steps to take inside that store than at Ingles. Also items were a few pennies cheaper. He bought two suitcases of Bud for him and Rick, several bags of chips, beanie weenies, and a big jar of salsa. He picked up some chew and a carton of cigarettes too. As he was leaving the shop, he grabbed a hot pink plastic chrysanthemum plant for Neetu. “So pretty!” he thought. “She’ll love this.”
As he was leaving the store and walking out to his truck, his phone pinged. There was a photo of a voluptuous blonde woman, naked, on the screen. Who was this?
He scrolled down and saw some crazy writing. He couldn’t make out what it said. Following that came the translation: “Hi! My name is Natasha. I want to come to your country and marry you. Just send a thousand dollars for my plane fare to this address and I will be on the next flight from Moscow.”
“WoooBoy!” he shouted. How am I gonna get my hands on a grand? he wondered.