Easy (fiction)

From the Internet

A frigid wind whipped through the football stadium, and Edie thought she would freeze where she stood. She wished she’d stayed home and watched the game on TV. Rather than dealing with such discomfort. She could be curled up on her sofa with a bowl of popcorn and a hot buttered rum. For sure, she wasn’t a dyed-in-wool football fan. Stadiums were man-made low pressure areas, a place that generated arctic winds all their own. If her baby brother wasn’t quarterbacking for Colorado State she would not here at all.

“You’re a dollar short, lady,” the concessionaire growled.

“But that’s all the cash I have,” Edie said, gazing at the hamburger that, if measured, would be somewhat smaller than her father’s snuff can. “I can buy a Big Mac with fries for less than you’re asking for this miniature thing you’re offering me.”

“Then you’d best trot over to McDonald’s, lady. But If you want this one you’re gonna have to find more money.”

“Take this dollar and shut the hell up, Pal.” said a voice in the line behind her.

Edie whirled around to find a large man putting his wallet away. His sandy hair was parted on the left side. His well-trimmed beard and mustache were both a shade darker and curly. He smiled at Edie. “I’d wear a mask if I had to work here,” he said, directing his words at the concessionaire

“Thank you, ah, I don’t know your name.”

“Folks call me Easy. It’s short for my first two initials, E and Z, Elmer Zumwalt Tailor as your service, Miss.”

She waited while he bought coffee, then she introduced herself. Together, they made their way back to her seat near the fifty yard line, but halfway up. After they were settled she explained that winter sports were not her cup of tea. Adding: “If my baby brother hadn’t bought my ticket I wouldn’t be here at all.” Then she abruptly stopped talking. “But I’m ranting, aren’t I? Sorry.”

Easy didn’t explain what brought him to the game. Instead, she learned he is the new broadcast engineer for KPMG TV in Denver, having arrived from Seattle the previous day.

“Does that mean you are an announcer, or a weatherman?”

“No, it means that if something goes haywire with the transmitter I get called out of my warm bed – rain, sleet, or snow – to make the problem go away, no matter the hour.”

“Oh. I see,” she said, though she didn’t understand at all She didn’t have the foggiest idea what could possibly go wrong with a television station.

“I’m a CPA,” she ventured, hoping to divert the conversation to something of which she more familiar.

“That sounds interesting. It’s inside work. That’s a huge plus in this country during the winter months.”

“One would think so, that is until an auditor darkens the door. Then the environment can turn frigid very quickly while all CPAs do an instant recall of their previous six months, hoping there are no loose ends,” she said as they caught the shuttle for the trip up town.

“Without a doubt. I’m new in town. You wouldn’t happen to know of a Starbucks nearby, would you?” Easy asked as they stepped off the shuttle near the transit authority building.

“As a matter of fact, there is one two blocks from here,” Edie replied.

“Great. Will you join me in a cup?”

“Absolutely. It’s a great place to relax and warm our bones after that frigid football stadium.” And with that said, she guided him in the direction of Starbucks.

“So you said you’re new to town. How did you come to choose Denver?” she asked after they had their coffee and found a quiet, corner table.

“It’s my job,” he said, repeating the fact that was the broadcast engineer for a Denver television station, channel 7. “I was transferred from Seattle,” he relied, his pale blue eyes nailed to her face while he tested his coffee.

“I see. So are you an announcer, or are you the weatherman?” she asked.

“Neither one. I’m the guy who keeps the transmitter working properly,” Easy explained.

Easy sensed she was trying gloss over her last question, so he went into greater detail.

“I earned my electrical engineering degree at Oregon State and my first job took me to Binghamton, New York to help build a new station. From there I went to Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Scranton company owns the Seattle station as well as this one in Denver.”

“So your folks live in Oregon?”

“No, I grew up in Los Angeles. How about you?”

Edie remained silent for a moment, regrouping. “Well, I’ve done nothing so dramatic. I’ve worked for the same company, occupied the same desk in the same office since the beginning of recorded time – well fifteen years, actually.”

“Didn’t you ever marry?” Easy asked.

Wow, this guy gets right to the point, she thought to herself.

“Yes. I married Ted nine years ago. I’d probably still be married if he hadn’t died in a car crash four years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Any kids?”

“No, we were never blessed with children,” she said. The thought of no young ones always stung. She quickly rose from her chair and went for more milk, a diversion until the moment passed. With her back turned, she added, “This stuff is bit too bold. It needs more diluting.”

“Mine too,” he said, following her to the milk pitcher.

“We’re you ever married?” she asked.

Following her back to their table, he seemed focused on something only he could see. She couldn’t determine if it was good or bad, so she held her tongue and waited.

“I married a girl I met at Oregon State. Sharon. She was a party girl. Hard to keep up with. Our relationship was physical. Exciting, but getting an engineering degree was no cakewalk. I had to work at it. She thought I spent too time hitting the books and she finally gave me a choice – be her husband or be an engineer. I was stunned, but most of the passion and smoke had cleared for me by that time, so we drove to Reno over a Thanksgiving weekend and unwound everything. That was about eleven years ago. I haven’t heard from her since,” Easy explained through a crooked smile, his eyes downcast.

Edie sensed he still wasn’t over her, so she waited for the moment to pass.

“Can we do this again?” Easy finally asked after throwing down his last swallow of coffee.

“I’d like that,” she said jotting her home number on a napkin.

“Great. I’ll give you a ring in a few days. Maybe you can show me around Denver.”

She smiled and nodded.

After they returned to the parking garage to retrieve their cars Edie headed for home. She was going start watching more channel 7.

A frigid wind whipping through the football stadium, and Edie thought she would freeze where she stood. She wished she’d stayed home and watched the game on TV. Rather than dealing with such discomfort. She could be curled up on her sofa with a bowl of popcorn and a hot buttered rum. For sure, she wasn’t a dyed-in-wool football fan. Stadiums were man-made low pressure areas, a place that generated arctic winds all their own. If her baby brother wasn’t quarterbacking for Colorado State she would not here at all.

“You’re a dollar short, lady,” the concessionaire growled.

“But that’s all the cash I have,” Edie said, gazing at the hamburger that, if measured, would be somewhat smaller than her father’s snuff can. “I can buy a Big Mac with fries for less than you’re asking for this miniature thing you’re offering me.”

“Then you’d best trot over to McDonald’s, lady. But If you want this one you’re gonna have to find more money.”

“Take this dollar and shut the hell up, Pal.” said a voice in the line behind her.

Edie whirled around to find a large man putting his wallet away. His sandy hair was parted on the left side. His well-trimmed beard and mustache were both a shade darker and curly. He smiled at Edie. “I’d wear a mask if I had to work here,” he said, directing his words at the concessionaire

“Thank you, ah, I don’t know your name.”

“Folks call me Easy. It’s short for my first two initials, E and Z, Elmer Zumwalt Tailor as your service, Miss.”

She waited while he bought coffee, then she introduced herself. Together, they made their way back to her seat near the fifty yard line, but halfway up. After they were settled she explained that winter sports were not her cup of tea. Adding: “If my baby brother hadn’t bought my ticket I wouldn’t be here at all.” Then she abruptly stopped talking. “But I’m ranting, aren’t I? Sorry.”

Easy didn’t explain what brought him to the game. Instead, she learned he is the new broadcast engineer for KPMG TV in Denver, having arrived from Seattle the previous day.

“Does that mean you are an announcer, or a weatherman?”

“No, it means that if something goes haywire with the transmitter I get called out of my warm bed – rain, sleet, or snow – to make the problem go away, no matter the hour.”

“Oh. I see,” she said, though she didn’t understand at all She didn’t have the foggiest idea what could possibly go wrong with a television station.

“I’m a CPA,” she ventured, hoping to divert the conversation to something of which she more familiar.

“That sounds interesting. It’s inside work. That’s a huge plus in this country during the winter months.”

“One would think so, that is until an auditor darkens the door. Then the environment can turn frigid very quickly while all CPAs do an instant recall of their previous six months, hoping there are no loose ends,” she said as they caught the shuttle for the trip up town.

“Without a doubt. I’m new in town. You wouldn’t happen to know of a Starbucks nearby, would you?” Easy asked as they stepped off the shuttle near the transit authority building.

“As a matter of fact, there is one two blocks from here,” Edie replied.

“Great. Will you join me in a cup?”

“Absolutely. It’s a great place to relax and warm our bones after that frigid football stadium.” And with that said, she guided him in the direction of Starbucks.

“So you said you’re new to town. How did you come to choose Denver?” she asked after they had their coffee and found a quiet, corner table.

“It’s my job,” he said, repeating the fact that was the broadcast engineer for a Denver television station, channel 7. “I was transferred from Seattle,” he relied, his pale blue eyes nailed to her face while he tested his coffee.

“I see. So are you an announcer, or are you the weatherman?” she asked.

“Neither one. I’m the guy who keeps the transmitter working properly,” Easy explained.

Easy sensed she was trying gloss over her last question, so he went into greater detail.

“I earned my electrical engineering degree at Oregon State and my first job took me to Binghamton, New York to help build a new station. From there I went to Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Scranton company owns the Seattle station as well as this one in Denver.”

“So your folks live in Oregon?”

“No, I grew up in Los Angeles. How about you?”

Edie remained silent for a moment, regrouping. “Well, I’ve done nothing so dramatic. I’ve worked for the same company, occupied the same desk in the same office since the beginning of recorded time – well fifteen years, actually.”

“Didn’t you ever marry?” Easy asked.

Wow, this guy gets right to the point, she thought to herself.

“Yes. I married Ted nine years ago. I’d probably still be married if he hadn’t died in a car crash four years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Any kids?”

“No, we were never blessed with children,” she said. The thought of no young ones always stung. She quickly rose from her chair and went for more milk, a diversion until the moment passed. With her back turned, she added, “This stuff is bit too bold. It needs more diluting.”

“Mine too,” he said, following her to the milk pitcher.

“We’re you ever married?” she asked.

Following her back to their table, he seemed focused on something only he could see. She couldn’t determine if it was good or bad, so she held her tongue and waited.

“I married a girl I met at Oregon State. Sharon. She was a party girl. Hard to keep up with. Our relationship was physical. Exciting, but getting an engineering degree was no cakewalk. I had to work at it. She thought I spent too time hitting the books and she finally gave me a choice – be her husband or be an engineer. I was stunned, but most of the passion and smoke had cleared for me by that time, so we drove to Reno over a Thanksgiving weekend and unwound everything. That was about eleven years ago. I haven’t heard from her since,” Easy explained through a crooked smile, his eyes downcast.

Edie sensed he still wasn’t over her, so she waited for the moment to pass.

“Can we do this again?” Easy finally asked after throwing down his last swallow of coffee.

“I’d like that,” she said jotting her home number on a napkin.

“Great. I’ll give you a ring in a few days. Maybe you can show me around Denver.”

She smiled and nodded.

After they returned to the parking garage to retrieve their cars Edie headed for home. She was going start watching more channel 7.

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