Daily Prompt: Witness Protection
When you do something scary or stressful — bungee jumping, public speaking, etc. — do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?
“Where’s Leigh?” Jimmy asked.
Ann and Lucy leaned their heads together and conferred quietly. Lucy looked up at Jimmy and said timidly, “She’s not here yet Jimmy but, she told me she was comin’.”
“Damnit, she’s late! We need her here. She’ll swing that hammer. Not like you two cowards. Leigh won’t hesitate to hit that dude on the head and, somethin’s gotta be done. He’s not holdin’ up his end. We need Leigh to smash him.”
Lucy looked down and tried to make herself small. Jimmy was mad and she didn’t want to be on the receiving end of his wrath if he decided to strike out. Fortunately the room was dark. The glow from the fireplace was the only light. She shuffled over by Mibs to help him hold the shelf. It was sagging and about to drop. She positioned herself behind Mibs and out of Jimmy’s line of sight.
The dog started barking then quickly went quiet. Collectively, they all held their breath and waited. When the door burst open Leigh stepped in. They could all feel the tension lift from the room. Leigh surveyed the eyes that were all turned on her and stopped when she looked at Jimmy. He scowled.
“I’m glad you’re all here,” she said, “especially you Jimmy. I like to have my friends here when I do this kind of work. I like the backup in case something goes wrong and I like to know that you know I can, and will, do it.” She reached down to the loop on the leather tool belt she wore and drew out her claw hammer. She tapped the face of the hammer into the palm of her left hand a couple of times. “Where is he?” she asked.
Jimmy pointed roughly in the direction of Lucy and Mibs. Leigh swaggered over there and gently moved Lucy aside. She looked a Mibs, holding up the shelf. “Right there,” Mibs said.
Leigh looked at the shelf support and sure enough the nail which had been holding it to the wall had worked its way out. That support wasn’t holding this end of the shelf up anymore at all. Leigh lined up her hammer and with a mighty blow struck the nail square on the head, driving it back into position. Mibs flinched and Lucy turned her head so she didn’t have to watch. The sound of the strike seemed to linger but as it died down Leigh looked at Mibs, “You can let it go now Mibs. It’ll stay put.”
Slowly, he lowered his arms and shook his hands to restore circulation. He exhaled slowly as he swung his arms back and forth. “Thanks Leigh.”
Jimmy smiled when Leigh looked back at him, “All fixed Jimmy,” she said. “I was a little worried about this one though and I’m glad you were here. That angle was a bit tricky, I could have hit my thumb. Nice to know you had my back.”
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