Friday, January 6, 2012

Fire Hazard

     Helen tried to straighten one of the ornaments on the Christmas tree, but most of the pine needles on the branch fell when she touched it.
     “Greg!” she shouted to the bedroom. “I think it’s time for us to take down the tree!”
     “No!” Greg ran into the room with a towel around his waist. He had just stepped out of the shower and was still dripping. “It still has plenty of life left.”
     “I’m not so sure. Look.” Helen touched another branch, causing another shower of needles.
     “Don’t touch it!” Greg held up his free hand to stop her while clenching the towel with his other.
     Helen crossed her arms. “Are you serious? Do you think I’m going to break it?”
     “I’m sorry, honey.” Greg moved so that he was between her and the tree. “It’s just that I put so much work into it… I want to appreciate it as long as possible.”
     Helen sighed. “I know you did, dear. It would never stand up when we bought it and I remember it took you all day to fix that. Whatever you did worked wonders because it hasn’t even wobbled for the past month. You did a great job, but it’s time to let it go.”
     “You’re right,” he said, “But just give me a little more time. I’ll take care of all the cleanup and you won’t have to worry about a thing.”
    “Okay, a little more time.” She patted his cheek. “But if it’s not gone by the end of the week then I’m dragging it out myself. It’s a fire hazard, you know.”
     “I know,” he said. “And thank you.”
     When she left the room, Greg inspected the tree and let out a sigh of relief. Helen had not yet touched the blanket wrapped around its base, so he still had time to find a solution. He was starting to second-guess his decision to permanently bold the trunk to the floor.
     It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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