Raymond was out in the garage, as usual. He was building something. Sawing, drilling, hammering. Just what my headache needed.

When I went out to the kitchen during the commercial, I cracked the door to the garage. “Shaddup, dagnabbit!” I yelled, into a sliver of silence among the infernal racket.

The reply was the high whine of Raymond’s power saw. It looked like he was finally making me a picnic table for the back yard, though. It even looked like the big octagonal-shaped one I had talked about. Dr. Phil was coming back on so I got myself another glass of box wine and some little chocolate-frosted donuts from the refrigerator and lay back down on the couch.

A lot of men around here hang around in their garages all the time, like they’re dogs who are too large and untrained to be allowed indoors. They’ll have chairs and ashtrays out there. Sometimes even a beer fridge, pool table or TV. Why would anyone practically live in the dumpy garage when it came attached to a perfectly nice home, with amenities such as carpet, air conditioning and a good woman waiting for them inside? The men wandered around visiting each other in their grubby semi-dwellings, too. As if putting up with my own garage man wasn’t enough for me.

Now and then the whiskey-skinny bearded dragon guy with the industrial-size chain hooking his wallet to his belt loop would come slinking up the driveway. Or the nine-months-pregnant looking bald guy in paint-splattered overalls would dare to trespass, until I chased them away with my broom.

The garage noise went on and on today, through Jeopardy and box wine and Gypsy Wedding and pizza delivery and Cops and a nap.

When I awoke, it was evening and it was quiet, for a minute. Then I heard male voices, so I grabbed my broom and ran outside.

My brand new octagonal picnic table was finished, with the bench seats attached in a corresponding octagon all around. But it was in the front yard and a bunch of stray garage men were holding it up, Raymond and seven others, one on each side. And was that Raymond’s boat motor attached to it?

I didn’t understand but of course I began to clear the strays off my property. “Scat!” I yelled. “Scram!” 

The garage men ran, taking the picnic table with them, round and round and across the front yard. 

I got in a good broom swat at a head here, a butt there.

Raymond yelled, “Hit it!” One of them pulled the cord to start the motor that was attached to my new picnic table. They rotated the table faster and faster, twirling down the street.

The motor roared and the men went faster. The rotating picnic table took off into the air and the men all hopped on and took a seat. I whacked one on the shin as the table full of cheering garage men twirled up above my head. Then they were aloft, out of reach.

The table rose and spun, high in the sky. Night fell and they sailed on, a spinning, smelly silhouette against the big white moon.


© Carly Berg
[This piece was selected by Sara Crowley. Read Carly’s interview]