Urban Myths of 420 Origins
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“Look who’s finally awake! Hey, Hank!”
“Howdy, Hank! How’s she runnin’?”
“Hey, Hank! Saved you a seat, if you c’n still fit in it! Heh!”
“Look who’s talkin’, Timmy!” Hank’d say, always, and always, always smile. Then Becky-Lynn’d fix Hank up with a slice of peach pie and a steamin’ cup of coffee, without Hank even having to ask.
“Thanks, Becky-Lynn,” Hank’d say, every time. “How’s things with you and Pete?”
“Pretty good,” she’d reply. “How’s Amy-Lynn? How’s your suicide a-comin’?”
“Pretty good, pretty good,” Hank’d say. “Shouldn’t be much longer now.”
The good-natured teasing and joking would continue, and somebody — usually Timmy — would pull out a little flask of something to season the coffee with, and they’d make a day of it.
HANK TURNED 70 AND RETIRED. His project was almost over. The kids had been resold. He and Amy-Lynn spent their days happily in the greenhouse, tending to the artificial plants.
Tornado season arrived late on a Friday afternoon. There was that color to the sky, below the cloudline — a cold, sickly green-yellow that cast coarse-edged shadows.
Amy-Lynn looked up through the greenhouse roof and watched the first batch of funnel clouds struggling downward, directly toward them. She smiled, and motioned for Hank to take a look.
“Well, look at that,” said Hank, smiling back. “Looks like it’s just about that time.”
Dave Shulman will read from his essays at the Torrance Art Museum, Thursday, April 27, 7-9 p.m. Call (310) 618-2376 to RSVP for advance seating.
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