The Legend of Smokey Throat and The Lucky Rock

10 Jun

One day I had a message in my office voice mail from a lady that sounded like she had just been punched in the throat. I couldn’t tell if she was using her real voice or an electrolarynx.

“Sherri, I’m going to need to come by and sign those forms, and I need you to call me.  This is urgent. I’m on my way now,” said the robot voice.

I was in a meeting when she walked in.

“Hello? Hello! I need Terr..Perry.”

Of course she did. I left my meeting and caught my first glance (and whiff) of Smokey Throat. She smelled like she’d been laying in a hot garbage can full of cigarette ashes for two years.  She had a Publix bag full of other Publix bags and stood in the door. I’m sure Publix would feel ill represented.

I hesitated. “Hi. I’m Kari.”

“Do not come forth. I am highly contagious.”

Smokey Throat pulled out two rubber gloves and put them on.

“Where are the documents for signing?”

At this point I was not sure if I should open my window or spray her directly with Lysol or Raid. I contemplated opening my window, but only to jump out.

“They’re right here on my desk.”

“Don’t come over here, I’ll just sign it and give it back to you, but throw this pen away after I’m done signing.”

Great, I thought. Should I fashion these papers into a paper airplane and launch them across the room?

I tossed her the paperwork from the other side of my office.

“There is a garbage dumpster in the parking lot in the back. You can throw it away there. What exactly do you have?”

“I don’t know. But I haven’t been the same since the trip. I’m probably going to die.”

Aren’t we all?

“Come over here,” she grunted.

I was a little confused because she had just moments before told me to stay away.  I spent my walk over contemplating who I should leave my clothes to in my will.  I didn’t even have a will, so I was screwed either way.

She said, “See this bag?  Reach in there and pull out that wad of tissue paper.  I haven’t touched it since the trip.”

I slowly looked inside.  I was in constant, silent prayer asking God to please protect me from her typhoidplagulosis (aka Death Virus).  The smell of old, musty cigarette smoke was so strong I thought I was going to throw up in her bag.  Maybe that’s why she carried so many.

I reached in there, holding my breath. I grabbed the wad of tissue paper and set it on the table.  The contents were as follows: a part to a lawnmower, some keys, and a rock.

“So, what’s with the rock?”

“You see, Mary,” she scruffed, “this rock was in my yard. It is shaped like a perfect heart. See?”

She shoved it in my face and I jumped back a little, trying to play it off so I didn’t completely offend her.

“Yeah, that’s really beautiful,” I replied.

“I dug it up and it has brought me good luck. Then I buried it. Then I had more good luck. Yesterday I dug it up so I could give it to the people buying my house so they’ll have good luck too.”

Based on her current condition, this rock seemed about as lucky as a swastika.

She slowly gathered her bag of bags and went on her way.  I wanted to give her a hug or some oxygen but felt it was too late.

Later, Lon came in for the closing. I told him the Legend of Smoky Throat and the Lucky Rock.

“We’re supposed to give the new homeowners the rock. For luck.” I said as I handed it to him.

He stared at me for a minute. “Are you serious?”

“I am truthfully recounting the story to you.”

He threw the rock in the garbage.

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