“Coffee delivery,” the Soupster announced, as he approached the four men sitting and standing outside Giant Gene’s auto shop. Indeed, he carried a cardboard holder with four paper cups.
“You’re a good man,” Giant Gene told the Soupster, taking the holder and distributing the cups. Charlie, also called Red, raised his in salute. Billy, called Kid, gave an elaborate bow of thanks, almost spilling his. Miguel drank greedily. He was, understandably, sometimes called Santana, since that was his last name.
“Pretty slick,” the Soupster told Gene. “I call you to see if my alternator is ready and you rope me into catering your morning staff meeting. What are you guys doing standing out here, anyway? Don’t you have cars and trucks to shorten the lives of?”
“Shhhh,” said Gene and turned to the other guys. “I think today is definitely the day. It’s my day.”
“Today is what day?” asked the Soupster.
“The day Gene thinks Leonard will finally take his snow shovels inside,” said Red. He pointed across the street to a neatly kept home surrounded by a white picket fence, against which was balanced a silver snow shovel, a black plastic scoop and an ice breaker.
“We think Leonard is the last person in Our Town to put them away,” added Billy.
“We bet on it,” said Giant Gene. “Miguel thought it up.”
“Whoever picks the day Leonard puts the shovels away has to buy lunch for the rest of us for a week,” explained Miguel.
“That’s the first prize?” said the Soupster. “The winner buys lunch for everyone for a week?”
“No,” said Miguel. “The prize is the honor of winning.”
“We call it the Santana Ice Classic,” said Giant Gene.
“Look,” said Billy, “Leonard’s coming out!”
Leonard stepped out onto his cute front porch and took a breath of the morning air. He came down the stairs. The tension at Giant Gene’s was palpable.
When Leonard got to the shovels he paused slightly, looked up in the general direction of Giant Gene’s, walked out the gate and got into his car.
“Darn!” said Gene. “I thought I won!”
“It’s been getting pretty warm,” the Soupster said. “Do you ever worry that Leonard knows what you’re all up to and he’s leaving his shovels out there on purpose?”
“Soupster,” said Billy. “That would be crazy!”
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