Clean Hands

I must have looked like a murderer, walking out of the local forest, toward my parked car, pulling a blue plastic glove off my right hand. But, I was only an accomplice in this affair. The murderer was home, probably smiling, so content with herself, wagging her tail.

It was a nice summer morning. My wife and I are both teachers, the school year was over and we were just beginning the routine of nine mostly unstructured weeks of spending time together as a family. We were also getting used to living in a new home.
We loved our old house, and our old neighborhood, but we had outgrown it and had found a house in a quieter and more spacious part of town and fortunately were able to sell our house and buy this one. Although I’d miss my daily walking route through the neighborhood with our dog, Kobi, I anticipated the possibilities of starting most summer mornings walking through the town woods, just a few blocks away from our new home.
Living in a more rural area brings of course more rural things. Like wildlife. And Kobi is a mix but has a lot of German shorthaired pointer in her and she loves the woods and is not so good with small animals. I’d seen her pounce upon and kill chipmunks while biking through the woods in a nearby town.
So, on this nice summer morning, while looking through the raspberries bushes, I saw two small bunnies lying, dead, on the ground. I could not allow my daughter to see this. I had two options, I thought: bury them or pick them up and drop them off in the nearby woods.
I didn’t feel like digging. So I grabbed some plastic gloves and a plastic bag and started the car. . . .
Returning home, I saw an unfamiliar white van in the driveway. It was from the oil company. What could it be now? I thought. I parked in the garage, walked through the house, hung the plastic glove on the clothesline, and went downstairs to see why someone from the oil company was here.
My wife was standing by the furnace; an older, round man was sitting on an upturned bucket to her right.
“Hi, I’m Harry,” he said, getting up and extending his hand. “Don’t worry, my hands are clean.”
I met his hand. “Mine are, too, now,” I said.
Sort of.

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About rcjockers

I am a middle-school language arts teacher in Connecticut. I like eating hot peppers from my garden, writing, and watching German soccer matches in the dark.

2 thoughts on “Clean Hands

  1. I like your usage of the colon and semicolon. I find them very handy for when I don’t know if I want to use a period or comma; you don’t see them very often in books though.

  2. Thanks for reading and the feedback, Sasha. Yes, the colon and semi-colon are powerful pieces of punctuation; good tools to have in a writer’s arsenal. And I agree: You don’t see them much in contemporary literature. But if you read older pieces of writing you’re more likely to see them used.

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