This was a bad morning. Actually, it could very well be the worse morning in Chris Gardino’s life. Chris decided that even though an unusual set of circumstances caused him to be standing completely naked in his front yard, he was grateful for the little things. For instance, it was summer. If it was winter, being locked outside your own house would be a very bad thing. The warm sun helped Chris’ plight. It was not the smartest decision to get his newspaper while totally nude, Chris thought. He was sure that no one was around, so he figured that there was not point in putting on his shorts, so he made quick dash to the front porch to get his newspaper. However, the momentum of his body must have created enough of a wake that caused the door to close behind him. Now, the Gardino’s kept a spare key inside one of those fake rocks that people use, but Chris could not find it. He vaguely recalled that his wife told him that she moved it.
He stood on his front lawn considering his situation. The first thing he did was to curse himself silently for removing all the bushes around his house. He did not like the way they were obstructing the view from the inside. In fact, there was nothing he could use to hide himself except maybe in the Hendersons’ rose bushes, and that was not good because of all the thorns. His cell phone was in the house, so he could not call his wife, so his only choice was to get one of the neighbors to help. Unfortunately, this was a work day, which meant that all the working families were at work or at school. The only person who would be available would someone who was no longer working and close by. That would be Mr. Ken Henderson, the owner of the thorny rose bushes. Chris was sure that he would be home, but he was hoping to find someone else. Chris found Henderson to be a little odd at times. Like the time Henderson was raking the leaves in his yard, and observed the tragic death of one of the neighborhood cats. It was darting across the street to when it was run over by a UPS van. Henderson saw the whole thing happen it front of him. Henderson stared at the cat for a moment, and then muttered that he better grab a shovel, and prompt shoved the deceased animal into a trash bag. He was about to put the carcass into the garbage can until someone told him to notify Animal Control. Chris was never quite sure how Henderson would react to a naked man at his doorway. Chris was still deliberating his next step when he noticed Henderson standing outside on his lawn staring at Chris.
The two men regarded each other silently for a moment. Henderson did not react to Chris’ nudity. He just stared straight ahead into Chris’ face. Chris felt quite uncomfortable and turned his head in embarrassment, like a man refusing to look at another man’s face standing in the adjacent men’s room urinal. Chris turned his body and covered his crotch with both hands. As the silence grew, Chris turned back to look at Henderson who was still standing and staring. Finally, Henderson broke the silence.
With his body still turned slightly away, Chris nodded back.
Henderson was a much shorter man than Chris by several inches. He took a few steps forward and stood next to Chris.
“So, Gardino … how’s it hanging?’
Chris rolled his eyes and groaned.
Henderson continued on. “Well, at least I know why Mrs. Gardino is so happy every morning!”
Chris turned and gave a sarcastic smile. “Funny. Can you help me out?”
Henderson shrugged. “Sure - whatever you need.”
After another moment of silence, Chris stared at his neighbor in surprise.
“So … can I have your robe?”
Henderson raised his eyebrows and considered. “Oh, this robe here?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind.”
“No, not at all. Glad to help a neighbor.”
Henderson took off his robe and handed it to Chris. He was barely able to tie the robe in front, but it was quite short. The length of the robe barely covered Chris’ crotch, which really did not help his situation.
“This robe is too short!”
Henderson pondered the situation. “You know, you could try, um, flipping it upward. Maybe the robe could pin it against your body.”
“Dude, don’t talk like that!” Chris took off the robe and used it to wrap around his waist.
“Could you call my wife and tell her that I need to know where she hid the spare key?”
“Sure thing, Skippy.”
Henderson dialed the number on his cell phone. As the number rang, he nodded back to Chris.
“It’s a beautiful day, don’t you think?”
Chris glanced around the neighborhood to see if anyone was watching them. “Yeah, beautiful day. Best morning of my life.”
Henderson smiled and shrugged. “Well, it could be worse, all things considered. It could be winter.”