From the story When Murray Met Helen

When Helen arrived in Murray’s hospital room on the second day she was bemused not only to find Sid, whom she’d met, but also Vic, Chili, Fitz, and Renard. They were all octogenarians, all former marines, and, with the exception of Renard, all equipped with canes or walkers.

“Oh for christsakes,” she exclaimed, “looks like Sid brought the dream team.”

Fitz looked confused at this.

“What?” asked Chili, cupping his ear.

“Right, yeah, ha-ha,” Sid replied. “Field of Dreams. If you break it they will come…”

“Jesus, Murray,” Renard instantly complained, “you never told us you had a smart ass granddaughter.”

“Well, if you’d shut the hell up and let me get a word in,” Murray shot back. “This is my young lady friend Helen, you mole heads. Be nice to her, or else.”

“Ooooooh,” they all cooed in unison.

Part of the comedy was that none of them was strong enough to take him home. That fell to Helen and she happily obliged, asking Sid to keep Murray company in the wheelchair while she brought her mini-van around to collect him. The wheelchair upon check-out was mandatory and Murray scoffed that he’d fallen on his head, not his butt.

“Helen you’re an angel,” he said, as soon as she got him loaded in the van. “I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”

Back home he quickly professed to be okay, refused an arm to the door, and asked only if she’d pick some fresh tomatoes for him.

“I feel like cooking,” he said.

“Murray, c’mon,” she said, “let me cook, just this once.”

He eventually relented. She brought her wok over and served him a medley of stir-fried vegetables atop orzo, sprinkled with goat cheese.

“I thought I smelled Spam,” he jabbed at her.

“Yeah, well, you should wash your shirt then,” she sniped back.

The following evening, a Thursday, she came over after work and cooked him a mushroom and swiss cheese omelet, with rye toast. He pronounced it to be spectacular but she noticed that he seemed a bit more withdrawn.

“What can I do for you Murray?” she asked.

“Can you do something about time?” he asked.

“Like what?”

“Like make it stop. Like make it give me a refund.”

She just looked at him and smiled.

“How about some fruit then,” he said. “Did you know pineapple is a bromeliad?”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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