Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Outta Wood by Bill Chance

What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

—-Thomas Paine

The Fabrication Yard, Dallas, Texas

Outta Wood

In this modern world we seldom talk to strangers. Think about how rarely you have any meaningful random interactions outside of work.

Sam had plans to convert his garage into a big room for his kids to play in. His youngest was making giant constructions out of these odd plastic connecting pieces. He had a half-finished monstrous roller coaster – the tracks were flexible plastic tubes. It was too large to fit in his own bedroom… or even in a corner of the living room. The kid was upset that he couldn’t finish his contraption because he had run out of space.

Sam didn’t want to admit or even think about the fact that he was changing his house – removing his garage and building out a new, larger room simply to make space for his kid’s toys. He didn’t think about it, but it was true.

He needed somewhere to put all the crap that was in the garage. There was a spot in the corner of the yard up against the fence that he could spare. Down to the Home Depot to look at outbuildings. For years, every time he went to the store (which was at least twice a week) he would walk through the extensive display of demo garden sheds, of many different sizes, prices, and materials, all arranged in the parking lot. It was a small thrill to look through them one more time – but this time with a purpose, and intention to actually purchase one. He chose an overpriced plastic thick walled shed.

Wanting to figure out the best way to do the foundation – Sam went to the library and looked at a book: “A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building Garden Sheds.” He didn’t check it out – simply sat there taking notes. On the way home he stopped at Home Depot again and bought a new shovel, some concrete pillars and a bunch of treated wood – tying the lumber to the roof rack of his car. This stuff was mixed with sweat, a level, galvanized nails, and some string to make up the foundation and floor.

The prefabricated plastic walls and roof were ingeniously designed to slip together and, shockingly, the instructions were clear, accurate, and helpful. It took no time to get it assembled.

He painted the floor of his new tool shed and then needed to install locking door knobs. The kit that he bought was well-made and complete, but didn’t include door hardware. Sam went back down to Home Depot and was outside looking at the demo model at how they did the doors. He silently congratulated himself when he discovered that the “pros” had done exactly what he was planning on doing.

While he was standing there staring at the demonstration shed an old man walked up and shouted at him.

“You can make one CHEAPAH dan dat! From scratch! Outta WOOD!”

Then the old man turned and waddled off and was swallowed by the gaping maw of the giant store.

He didn’t introduce himself. He didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t speak in intelligent, helpful tones. It was spat out like an insult.

Sam kept shaking his head thinking about that guy. If you don’t have something pleasant to say, shut up. If you’re lonely, or want to be helpful, want to talk to strangers, have some respect.

On the drive home, Sam passed by the Lexus Dealership and the highway exit. He had a fantasy that he would stop, get out, walk around, and yell at prospective customers.

“Y’all can buy cars CHEAPAH than that! Cross da street! From FORD!”

2 responses to “Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Outta Wood by Bill Chance

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