Collins had discharged his only hospitalized patient early this Saturday morning. He looked around his condo. It was a three-story townhouse with three bedrooms and a garage. He had furnished only the living room and the kitchen. He knew he had no sense of interior decorating and had a professional pick out the furnishings for the living room. The only thing he selected was the 52-inch LCD television. When he walked into the bedrooms his footsteps would echo. The room he slept in had a queen-size mattress and box spring combination on the floor. A phone was next to the mattress. That was it. He looked at his watch. The refrigerator freezer for his kitchen was due for delivery at 1:00 and it was 30-minutes late. He called the delivery number from Lowe’s appliance store and they told him it was on the way.
He looked out from his balcony at the bright June sunny day. The outdoor thermometer read 94 degrees. The Lowe’s truck pulled up and he went to the door.
“Your name Collins?”
“Yes. Mathew Collins.
“Stainless steel refrigerator-freezer right?”
“Okay. Usually there’s two of us but my other man got sick. I think he got dehydrated from this heat. I can get it on the dolly and maybe you can keep the doors open and guide me up the stairs and around corners.”
“All right. I really need this unit. I’ve been living with a college dorm fridge.”
The Lowe’s man tied the refrigerator to the dolly and rode down the truck ramp with it. It looked too large for one man to manage and Collins guided him to center the dolly at the first of six steps leading up to his front door. The man was perspiring profusely and his breathing was labored. He got the unit onto the first step but was stuck there. He was huffing and gasping for breath.
“Look…Mr. Collins…I don’t…think I…can do…it. Let’s put it back on the truck.”
“No. I can’t live without this. Go down the step and put it on the truck ramp.”
Collins helped the man get the unit back onto the ramp.
“Now what?” The Lowe’s man wiped his sweating brow with a packing cloth.
“Raise the ramp until I tell you to stop.”
The man complied. Collins turned the unit with the narrow side facing him and wiggled the refrigerator with a leading edge just hanging over the ramp.
“Okay. Just guide me up the stairs between the doors.”
“Mr. Collins you aren’t going to…” He gawked as Collins lifted the refrigerator and walked toward him.
“Tell me when I’ve finished each step.” Collins had no difficulty with the heavy bulky refrigerator. However, he couldn’t see around it. “Okay, you see where the kitchen is. Just lead me to the carpet in front of the refrigerator space and we’ll let it down easy.”
They slid the refrigerator into the wall space after plugging it in. Collins noted lack of any damage and handed the Lowe’s man a bottle of water while he chugged his down.
“It says here you guys install it too. I want the ice-maker running.”
“Sure Mr. Collins. I have my accessories kit in the truck.” He finished his water and continued staring at Collins. “You’re stronger than you look.”
Collins took off his bulky sweatshirt and wiped his under arms with it.
“I take it back. You look stronger than Hercules. I’ll get my stuff.”
Ever since the explosion, Dr. Abram Gesecke advised not to call attention to himself. Collins wore shirts one size too large. In the OR he wore the largest scrubs. In the office he wore a large white lab coat. He put his hand on the Lowe’s man’s shoulder. The name embroidered on his shirt was “Arty”.
“Arty. I’m giving you two tips. Here’s twenty bucks for bringing the fridge. The other tip is that no one is to know about my lifting this unit into my home. You wouldn’t want to get in trouble with your boss about letting a customer do your work? I don’t think Lowe’s has insurance coverage in case something happens to the customer.”
Arty took the twenty. “My lips are sealed Mr. Collins. No one would believe me anyway.” They shook hands as the sound of the first ice cubes clinked in the freezer.
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