Friday, 26 October 2007

Running with chainsaws

‘We’re off this weekend to the cottage to chop down trees,’ my friend Donald wrote to me from Scotland this week. ‘This is always a satisfying challenge though it does rather expose my unsuitability for prolonged physical labour. There’s also the task of keeping toddlers sufficiently far away from chainsaws/falling trees/bonfires – all of which they’re absolutely fascinated by.’

Donald and his wife have two littlies under 3 and another due in February. Which just goes to show that there’s nothing you can do to stop people breeding. Donald spent large chunks of time with me when I was single mother to two kids under 3 and I rather thought it would have put him off for life. Perhaps the passage of time just dimmed the memory of the horrors. That, or he’s a sucker for punishment.

On the subject of chainsaws, my FB, whose primary purpose for me is sexual gratification, is occasionally permitted to turn his attentions to other things in my life, specifically the vast wild piece of ground below my house that more organised people would be able to call a garden. There are dozens of trees, all of which grow with unbridled enthusiasm. When the entire plot finally disappears under a canopy of tree overgrowth, my FB brings his chainsaw round.

Once, while he was outside wielding it, my father phoned. During the conversation, he asked, ‘What’s that noise?’

‘It’s A, with a chainsaw,’ I replied.

A, who is charming and delightful most of the time, does occasionally go on alarming mental benders. So there was a fearful pause before my father said in a low voice, ‘Get out of there. Don’t even stop to find your handbag. Just run.’

‘Don’t be silly, Daddy, he’s pruning the trees,’ I said.

At that moment there was a shriek from the garden, followed by a strange humming silence that meant the chainsaw had stopped. ‘I must go,’ I told my father. ‘I think A’s hurt himself.’

I put down the phone and ran outside, where I saw A sitting on the ground, cradling a hand. A series of stomach-curdling images ran through my mind: spurting arterial veins, lopped-off fingers, macerated thumbs.

‘What happened? Are you okay?’ I shouted, running towards him.

He said in a slightly wobbly but very brave voice, ‘I’m cut.’

Reaching him, I bent down to help him up. ‘Have you lost much blood?’ I asked (although, rather surprisingly, there wasn’t any in evidence).

‘Not too much,’ he said, weakly, while I helped him onto the verandah and into a chair.

‘Here, let me see,’ I said.

He held out his apparently injured hand. I took it gently and turned it over.

‘Where?’ I asked.

He gave me an annoyed look. ‘There!’ he said, pointing to a small laceration, the kind of cut you may give yourself if you’re shaving your legs in a hurry.

I tried to keep a straight face, really I did, but I just wasn’t up to the task. So while I lay on the verandah floor and cried with mirth, A took himself, with great dignity, into the bathroom, where he scrabbled in the medicine cabinet for a Band-Aid.

Stalking out past me, where I was still writhing and howling on the verandah floor, he said, furiously, ‘Next time you cut yourself with a chainsaw, don’t come crying to me.’

It’s probably just as well men don’t shave their legs.

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meggie said...

They are so theatrical, aren't they?

Juno said...

Oh Muriel: there I was, feeling guilty for giving my husband a chainsaw for his fortieth birthday. I thought it was the perfect present, and, at the time, so did he. In the past six years, he's used it twice: once to trim the trees, and once to cut off my leg.

angel said...

your fb certainly is energetic! thats hysterical!!!