The Co-Ax

Jorge hollered from the junk room, “Anna, you seen the co-ax cable?”

“No quiero co-ax, I’m sewing buttons on Freddy’s sweater. Mama knitted it and had no buttons…”

Jorge tuned much of that out; why’d he bother to ask her anything anyway? He lifted the corner of a flat box that covered a deep box, careful of hiding brown recluse spiders. He dropped it back as he did not care about stupid photo albums. The realtor had talked big and had given him a pest certificate for the house. Maybe these damn things were immune to poisons. Maybe they ate the co-ax.

He had to move two overstuffed trash bags out of the way; he could see Freddy’s Cleanup Mess Areaold baby clothes through the holes. Why drag all that here? Goodwill begs for stuff like that. Oh boy, a wicker basket full of mismatched dishes. He squeezed against giant stereo speakers from twenty years ago to get the heavy thing behind him. Okay, now he had access to the great stack of boxes stacked to the ceiling. He looked at the top box and frowned.

He could spit on the movers in part because Anna would throw out nothing so he had to pay for the bigger truck and they gouged him. Also in part because they jammed half the household into this back bedroom making it necessary to use a ladder to see anything with no place to set one down. The box of co-ax had come on the same order as the 4G antenna, supposedly powerful enough for them to use their phones and get Wi-Fi anywhere in the house. The antenna came here; they had no business touching it or the co-ax. Had they charged him for moving stuff already here? He would definitely complain.

He read the labels on the stacked boxes and almost screamed in frustration – all that work for nothing! He squeezed by the damned dish basket and leaned out the bedroom doorway. “Anna, did you brother come by here while I was at Lowe’s?” There she sat on her fat butt reading, not sewing at all. “He walked off with the box of co-ax.”

She dropped her book to her lap. “Rogelio is no thief. I wish you would stop accusing him of fantastico crimes. Are you sure your precious box really arrived? I only saw the one with the fancy antenna in it.”

“I ordered them together. You probably kept the collection of broken cat toys and gave my 50 foot of co-ax to your brother.”

“He has a name, Jorge. I heard you in there cursing the bags in there. Freddy needs a sister so I keep the clothes. You know Mama made many of them, they are for always keeping. As for the cat toys, I want little Cleo back; we should have brought her. And you know Rogelio is my brother’s name.”

“That cat is better off with Tio Benny, the pit bull breeder. Girls don’t wear blue and you better not get off your pills because I can’t afford another brat to feed. Rogelio took my jacket and when I got it back it had a big spot on the sleeve that had melted; that nice fleece jacket and I had to throw it out.”

“He had a jacket just like it. You blame him forever for an honest mistake.”

He sneered at her tears. “Sure, take his side.” He was winding up for more, with vitriol pumping through his heart, when she popped up and got in his face.

“You got devils in you, all you do is hate! I only agreed to move away from all my family and friends because you said you had this spectacular job. Okay, we’re here and I know nobody except Rogelio who you hate. You stay at work until night. I dread you being home on the weekends now.” She wiped her eyes roughly with the hem of her shirt. “Don’t do this to me so I will leave. If you are having an affair and want me to leave, tell me and stop with all the hate. I would go back to Idaho tonight.”

He stared at her anguished face and jumped when somebody rapped on the front door. He turned fast and yanked the door open. It was an old guy in a Post Office uniform. He carried a box.

“Sir, this just came back from Barbados.” He chuckled in a sad way. “I don’t know how we got something for the Carolinas sent to the Caribbean and I apologize on behalf of the U.S. Post Office for the error.” He held the scuffed box marked ‘Casey Co-axial Cables’ out at arm’s length.

Jorge stood dumfounded.

Anna elbowed him aside and took the box. “Thank you so much for personally delivering this. We’re new here and appreciate your kindness.”

The smiling Postman said, “De nada,” climbed into his little truck and drove away.

She stepped out onto the porch and about-faced with her arms wrapped around the box. “Jorge, you don’t get this until we get to the bottom of all this. You trying to get rid of Freddy and me or what?”

He went in to plop on the sofa, head in hands. After several unproductive minutes, he felt a cold metallic touch the nape of his neck and shivered hard. WWJD BearAnna peeled his right hand back and placed his rosary in it. He leaned back and fingered the rosary. He hadn’t seen it since the move. He rubbed his thumb on the beads, gently caressing them, remembering the words. He looked up at her. “Anna, corazón, I don’t want you to go, please. I don’t hate, I just am working too much, too hard, too long. Lo siento, mi corazón, verdad.”

She held out the box to him

He shook his head. “I don’t need that or the antenna. I already got the signal I need. I felt Dios touch my neck and you touch my heart.”

She sat very close and snuggled when he put his arm around her. “I am so happy. I prayed for you ten times a day.” She pulled away a bit and smiled impishly. “I would like that Wi-Fi, if it is no trouble now.”

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