Two-day Rule – February 18, 2021


Delivered by truck
Burning fossil fuel.
Packaged in cardboard
We cannot reuse.
Protected by pillows
Unfit for sleep.
Insulated by peanuts
We cannot eat.
Wrapped in plastic
We throw away.

There’s no deposit.
And no return.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s not my concern.

After we destroy her,
She will destroy us.
It’s clear.

Mother Earth –

Writer’s Woe

Six solid words lacking credible plot.

Two-day Rule

“Mr. Thompson.  Ms. Sarah said you’d be out here in the woodshop.”

“Where else would I be this time of day, Danny?”

“Out on the lake, I reckon.”

“Bit chilly for that. These old bones’ll probably leave the boat at the dock until spring.”

“Good I found you in the woodshop though.”

“Why’s that?”

“Know how you always need a four-foot piece of two by four and all you have in scrap is three-footers?”

“Yeah. Or twenty inches of two-inch angle iron and all you have is eighteen inches.”

“Well, I’m doing a project for Emily and need a thirty-four-inch piece of two-by-four.”

“Might have one.  Let’s look in the scrap rack.”

“Thought you might.  All I got is thirty, thirty-two inchers, or smaller. Hate to ruin a good eight-footer.”

“Principle of the thing.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“How’s your Ma, Danny?”

“Right as rain, Mr. Thompson.  I’ll tell her you asked.”

“Do that.  Lessee.  Here we got some candidates…”

“I get back to the shop, I’ll looksee I got some angle iron.  Twenty inches, right?””

“Nah.  That was conversation.  Seems always just short of what you need or what you figure you need.  Variation on the ‘Two-day’ rule.”

“The what?”

You remember when Emily broke off with you when she headed off to nursing school?”


“That was two days after Redheaded Bob and the Percil girl started-up serious?”

“Judy Percil.  So?”

“So, if Emily had been faster, might have been you and the Percil girl.  Kind of took you out with the Two-day rule.”

“Not that Emily needs to know but I did have an eye for Judy.  Back then.”

“Bobby said so. Said two days the short side, you might have been foot-loose and set your bonnet for that Judy.  Before she took a fancy to Redheaded Bob.”

“Bobby let on about that?”

“Bobby and I talked about most everything important.  You were important to Bobby.”

We was close, me and Bob.  Some of why I spent so much time over here.”

“Well, and the fishing.”

“That too.”

“Couple of months later, Bobby said Emily came back after her first semester at college to tell you she knew you were gonna be her man, that you should know that.”


“Two-day rule again.”

“How’s that?”

“Two days before Bobby enlisted.”


“Was.  Had Emily’s timing been different, came back two days later, you probably would have enlisted with Bobby.”


“Buddy system was big then.  You’d have trained together. Maybe shipped out the same time after training.  To the same place.”

“Oh.  Yeah, and then…”

“Yeah.  We might have lost you both.”

“Listen, Mr. Thompson, I’m sorry about Bobby.”

“We all are. Still miss him.”


“No need.  Time softens things up some.  Ah!  Look!  Here’s a piece.  I’m betting thirty- five inches. Let’s see what the measure says… Yup thirty-five and three-eighths, good on both ends. This oughta do you just fine.”

“Right.  Perfect!  Thanks!”

“Anything else, Danny?”

“Nah. Reckon I’ll be off.”

“Emily good?”

“Emily? Sure!”

“And your lovely daughter, Susan?”

“Sure. Heading off to college!”

“Great.  Time has a way of scooting by doesn’t it?”

“It does, Mr. Thompson…”

“Danny, something really on your mind.  Wanna chat?”

“Well, see…”

“Susan and college, huh?”

“Yeah.  She wants to study sociology.  Emily can’t see much in that. I mean nowadays.”

“Has Emily upside her nose?”

“Yeah.  Me too, kinda.  I mean what she gonna do with a degree in sociology?”

“Might surprise you.”

“Emily thinks nursing, or some biology-related field.  With potential.”

“What if Susan wanted to be a mechanic? Like her old man?”

“Times are different.”

“People still driving cars.  Good mechanic hard to come by. Why you’ve done so well.  Why Emily came back to nail your feet to the floor.”

“Huh!  She joked she liked the idea of knowing her car would always start with a mechanic sitting down to supper every night.”

“And she loved you, Danny.  That’s why she came back.  But Emily was doing what she wanted and rightly figured you should do what you were best at, too.”


“Susan needs the same. Sociology could become political science.  Either could be pre-law. Or she could become a psychologist. That’d be okay by Emily, I bet.”

“Never considered that.”

“Things change at college.  Just make sure you let the two-day rule play out naturally.  Don’t get into Susan’s face two days before all by herself she makes up her mind to become an auto mechanic.” 

“Two-day rule!”

“Two days, two inches, two pounds. Life’s measures.”

“Still have misgivings.”

“Susan’s a sharp cookie.  She’ll sort it all out.  Don’t ask too many questions.  Just be sure to honestly answer her questions.”


“She’s got you and Emily.  Doesn’t need much more than that.”

“Right. Thanks.  For the two-by.”

“Any time.  I need a hunk of angle iron or a steel plate I’ll give you a call.”

“Counting on it!”

“Oh. Danny?”


“Any time you want to kick things around, drop by. Don’t wait on a too-short two-by-four.  Be good to see you.  Like having Bobby home.  Come spring we might even talk some big bass into the boat.”

“You’re on!”

“Beats hell out of ruining a good eight-foot two-by-four.”

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

10 thoughts on “Two-day Rule – February 18, 2021

  1. You do tell fibs sometimes! Can’t write poetry. Psht! Stewardship poem was a clever reflection on an issue we all need to take more seriously.
    Six word story had me chuckling, luckily pot of tea was on the coffee table. Why isn’t it a tea table. I hardly ever drink coffee.
    Dialogue also funny, As a hoarder of bits of wood and metal, I appreciated the humour, You never know when that lump of timber is going to come in handy. Right?
    Good read. Keep on truckin’.

    1. Well, Sir PM, thank you for stopping by. And for the flattery. We know how many times that nut we saved fifteen years ago put the dooflanger back in service for another three years. Wood, is more difficult for me. Space is at a premium. Been a tree-hugger since before I knew trees were emotional. Folk started thinking I was a mite off then. The assessment stuck. Closing in on the weekend. Too much to do, but that keeps old dodgers like you and me busy, out of the Boss’s way, and happy. Do well, Sir Hobb.

      1. Have a good weekend Mr SP, and long may your dooflangers stay in working order. I find that if I dress up as a Koala bear, the tree hugging goes largely unnoticed. Hope that helps…

      2. Should I plant eucalyptus first, or can I use a big aloe? Maple? Magnolia? Eucalyptii? The suggestion does have merit… Zooks! Banished to the weekend already. My Timex sez Thursday.

      3. Eucalyptus by preference, but unless your neighbours are particularly beady eyed, they probably won’t notice. Just beware of passing dogs, that’s all!

  2. I think Mr. Thompson lives next door to me in the form of my wife’s grandpa. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve spent with him searching for a proper piece of scrap, all to avoid a ten minute trip to Lowes and back. Great read!

    1. Thank you for looking in and pausing to comment. I can look back to many Mr. Thompsons, Galwackis, Morgensterns, Duvaldis, Swartzes, and Joneses. I’ve been lucky. Find I am now Mr. Thompson. It’s an awesome challenge and a rewarding experience. Do well, youngster. Before you realize it, you are Mr. Thompson.

  3. Excellent poem! Brilliant and quite an actual and very important subject matter. Congratulations Mr. SP! I loved it! You are showing different aspects of your talent as a writer and I know we all appreciate it and rather welcome it gratefully! Take good care and all the best,

    1. Thank you Francisco. Do not let it get around you think I might show signs of talent. You do have a reputation to protect, you know. Ecology, pollution, conservation, good cigars, and oatmeal cookies have been hot buttons for me for more years than most WPers have been around. Now, do not let me keep you from the commissions – the weekend approaches!

      1. Those hot buttons are very important issues as well as problems the world faces. You do well using your talent, and talent you do possess my friend, to write about them and by doing so attempt to raise consciousness. Excellent work Mr, SP! Can’t say I’m impressed, I can say I expected it. All the best to you,

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