Wordzzle 87 - Impractical nurse
This is my entry number 31, for Wordzzle week 87.
Ten Word Challenge:
a chill wind’s a blowing,
"A chill wind’s a blowing," the parrot said, as we gathered around the watering hole. It tested the surface tension with one foot, sending triplets of ripples out from its claws. "You know, you really should have called a plumber."
"Plumbers cost money."
"Just give them your autograph, like you usually do. That always seems to make them happy."
"That's my signature on a check. They got paid, of course they're happy."
"It was nice having running water, though. Still, it looks like I'm going to have some nice sleek bugs to eat."
"In the water?"
"Of course in the water. You'll want to strain yours. And boil it. I hate it when I have to tend to the sick."
"Yeah, you're definitely no Florence Nightingale," I said, remembering in spite of myself, and shuddering. "I think I'll just wait until the stores open in the morning, and get some water while I'm out getting more plumbing parts and tools."
The parrot hooked a bug with a claw and flipped it backwards into its beak. "You never give up, do you?"
"Can't afford to," I said. "There's not enough money to pay for others to do it."
A gust of wind blew across the grass, sending waves through it, and more ripples across the watering hole. "It's too cold to spend the night out here," the parrot said. "If you're not going to drink anything, let's go back to the house."
"Can't. Everything's wet, and I can't sleep with all the dampness and wet-carpet smell."
"I don't see how you're going to sleep out here. I'm going to have a difficult time of it myself."
"I don't think we have much choice."
"You'll catch pneumonia out here, and as I said, I don't like to tend to the sick."
A wave of fear went through me. "Uh, I guess we could go to a motel, just for tonight."
"And you'll call a plumber tomorrow?"
"Sure. I've still got some room on a credit card."
The parrot hopped on my shoulder, its claws gripping tightly. "Let's go then. It's not getting any warmer."
"Sure, I'll stop briefly at the house to get a few things, and then we'll go find a place to stay. Just don't let them see you, not everyone likes pets."
"Yes, I know," the parrot said, "but I tolerate you anyway."
The silver-tongued bandit ate my French fries and left strange, Braille-like ketchup stains on my carpet. He offered to repair a leak in my roof to make up for it, but he ended up taking off layers of shingles and tar paper, and finally falling through a weak spot and then through the ceiling of my living room. He said he knew a guy who gave free estimates, but the repairs were anything but free. He offered to fix the leaky faucet then, and it seemed to actually be fixed at first, but that night it basically exploded and flooded the house before we realized what was happening. I had to replace all the carpet, but at least the ketchup stains were gone.
"See, it all worked out for the best," he said. You got a new roof, a new ceiling, a new faucet, and a new carpet, the place looks great. There's really only one thing left." He walked over to the wall switch for the hall light and fiddled with it. "This switch has gotten awful stiff and doesn't always work. I'm sure I can put a new one in there pretty quick and then everything will be perfect."
"Sure," I said. "Go ahead." Why not? The house needed all the wiring replaced anyway....
a chill wind’s a blowing,
The parrot peered at the thermometer. "I have no idea what this means, but I'm sure it's not good."
"I'm sure it's just a cold," I mumbled.
"I'm sure it's the swine flu. I don't know what I'm going to do if you turn into a pig." It suddenly yanked down one of my eyelids with its claw. "Aha! Bloodshot! What does that mean?"
"That I'm tired? You know, that claw is kind of sharp..."
"Stop complaining. You brought this all on yourself. 'A chill wind’s a blowing,'" I said, "but you sat out in it soaked, and then you got soaked again the next day."
"Well, I thought I could fix some of it before the plumber got here, and maybe save some money."
"You just never learn, and here I am playing Florence Nightingale again."
I winced. "Please, not that."
"It's too late. It's too late for anything else. Now I'm stuck with it." It poked at my arm with a claw. "Is that a red spot?"
"I'm sure it is now," I groaned.
"I can't fix you chicken soup. I'm no good at opening cans. I suppose I could kill you a pigeon."
"Please, don't put yourself out."
"Maybe I'll just order some more pizza."
"I'll tell them no anchovies this time. Maybe no onions, too."
"It's too expensive to keep ordering pizza."
"Just give them your autograph and stop worrying about it."
"Every time I sign something, it means more money going out."
"We wouldn't be in this position if you weren't so cheap in the first place. And after getting soaked you left all the windows open..."
"I had to air out the carpet. I couldn't get all the water out of it otherwise."
"We'd have been better off pitching a tent by that watering hole."
"Tents cost money."
"Money, money, money. See where worry about money gets you." It started combing my hair with a claw. "It looks sleek. Is that a bad sign?"
"Right now, everything's a bad sign."
"They say everything comes in threes. I suppose there could be more than three. Even triplets of triplets."
"I don't think the universe needs your encouragement."
"The carpet still smells bad. I'm sure it's not good for you. I saw a man on TV offering free estimates for new carpet."
"Free estimates doesn't mean they'll replace it for free. I can't even afford to have someone clean it. They're all silver-tongued bandits anyway."
"Penny wise and pound foolish, whatever that means. Though I'm not sure you're even penny wise."
"Everybody's trying to save money these days, I'm not the only one."
"You're the only one here, if not for me. We've got to do something. If you're not going to do something for the carpet, we still need to find something for you to eat."
"I think I'll just get out the frozen French fries and throw some in the oven."
"No, you stay here, I'll just pop them in the microwave, they'll be done in no time."
"No, wait, I'll do it," I said sitting up, remembering with horror the popcorn incident. Then, in spite of myself, falling backwards onto the bed.
"You're in no condition to do anything! You're too weak to even get up!"
"No, I can do it," I mumbled. "Though I may look limp on the surface, tension is everywhere underneath."
"Delusional too, though I'm not sure that's a change from normal."
"Maybe I'll just fix one of those soup cups. All I have to do is add hot water. I can heat the water in the tea kettle, and the steam would probably do me good."
"Are they chicken?"
"Maybe a little, but they're mostly hot noodles."
"I guess that's better than nothing. I can't do the tea kettle, though."
"No, I'll do it. I'll manage somehow."
"You're too weak. Let me try some acupuncture first. I'm not an expert, but if I poke you enough places I should get the right ones just by chance."
"Ack! Ow! No! No! I'm feeling better already!" I weakly lifted the parrot off me. I was going to look like someone had written all over me in Braille with an ice pick before this was over.
"Well, if you're sure..."
I swung my feet onto the damp rug, took a deep breath, then slowly got to my feet. The parrot hopped onto my shoulder. "Don't worry, I'll be here every step of the way."
"Yes, I know it. I can't tell you have much I appreciate it."
"Finally some thanks. You're quite welcome."
"Yeah, I know I complain a lot. I don't know how you put up with me."
"It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it."
I nodded and sighed, and headed toward the kitchen.