Hey, Bob! by Jean MacIntyre

“Yes, Willa.” With a deep sigh, Bob prepared to listen to her latest silly version of a joke.

“Why did the hen walk out into the traffic?”

“To get across the road?”

“No, Silly. She wanted to commit henicide.”
Hey, Bob!
Hey, Bob! by Jean MacIntyre
“Get back to work right now, or I’ll fire you.” Trying not to laugh, Bob continued working. These conversations were a daily occurrence as they installed the electrical wiring, circuit breakers, switch and plug boxes, and everything else electrical that was required in the new home under construction. He was constantly amused and amazed at her ability to come up with these inane little quips, but he had to admit it relieved what could be the tedium of a sometimes-monotonous job. She certainly didn’t fit the standard image of an electrician, with her small but compact frame encased in a blue coverall, and her brown hair tied back in a ponytail. She looked much younger than her twenty-four years. When he asked her once why she decided to be an electrician, she said, “Beats me! I didn’t want to be a teacher or a nurse, and I thought it would be something I could do without interacting too much with people.” “You don’t like people?” “Not in large quantities, no. I like my own company best, but you aren’t too bad.” Willa was half-way in love with Bob, but she was very careful to keep her feelings to herself, because in no way did she want to mess up the great working relationship they had developed over the past year. She sneaked a peek at him when she knew he wasn’t looking, so she could admire his muscled arms, black hair, and long legs. She was very aware that he viewed her as a pesky little sister, and she was content to keep the status quo – for now. Picking up the drill, she bored a hole in the two-by-four, pulled the wire through the hole, and moved over to the next two-by-four. She repeated the steps until she reached the site for the next plug-in box. She fastened it to the two-by-four and pulled the wire through and into the box. “Hey, Bob.” “Yes, Willa?” “Why do they put these damn boxes down by the floor? I can’t imagine old people enjoy bending down this far to plug something in.” “Well, Willa, I would imagine it was a woman who said, ‘I don’t want that ugly thing sitting up in the middle of my wall.’ How’s that for an answer?” He had been expecting some more of her nonsense, so couldn’t avoid getting back at her. “For just this one time only, I may have to admit that you could be right, even if I don’t like sitting on the floor to put these wires in place.” “Can I ask you something?” Bob continued working as they talked. Pulling wires and attaching switch plates and plug-in boxes didn’t require a great deal of concentration. “You will anyway. Fire away.” “Do you have any brothers?” “Just four. Why?” “Any sisters?” “No. Why?” “That explains a great deal.” And he carried on working. “You are weird, Bob.” “So I’ve been told, by more than one person, on more than one occasion. Don’t you ever get down in the dumps about anything? You are so chirpy you could make a suicidal person laugh. What gets you down?” “Only one thing ever did that.” “And that was…?” “When I had to learn about a trillion electrical definitions and acronyms in order to pass my exams.” “And how many of them do you still remember?” “One or two. I have my own names for stuff.” “So I noticed. Very unprofessional of you.” Bob was grinning. “As long as I get the job done, who cares? Now you get back to work, or I’ll fire you.” “Since I’m the boss that would be interesting. Let’s finish this up and get out of here. It’s past quitting time, in case you didn’t notice.” Pitching her hard hat, which she tended to do once everyone else had left, Willa donned her bright red baseball cap, pulling her ponytail through the back. He couldn’t help laughing the first time he saw the words on the back of her cap. It read, ‘My hat matches my neck.’ “Hey, Bob.” “Yes, Willa?” “Want to grab a bite to eat? You don’t have a wee wifey at home preparing a hot meal for you, and I’m sick of tomato sandwiches. So what do you say?” She held her breath, waiting to see what his answer would be. “Hey yourself, Willa. That’s a great idea. But can we go to our respective apartments, grab showers, and get dressed in clean clothes? I’d like to go to a real restaurant, for a real sit-down meal. I’m tired of grabbing burgers and fries.” “Brilliant idea. Where and when would you like to meet?” “How about Maximillian’s at seven?” “Sounds good.” Gathering up her tools, Willa could hardly contain her excitement. Dinner with Bob! What an amazing turn of events! Sitting across from each other at the restaurant, they were both amused to see the changes a shower and non-work clothing made to their appearances. In Willa’s case, it went beyond that, to curls in her hair and makeup on her face. Bob found himself looking at a very attractive, albeit small woman, instead of a silly girl, and he was suddenly very aware of feeling an instant and powerful attraction to her. For the first time in their so-called relationship of boss and employee, they began chatting as friends, and Bob was surprised at the range of topics she brought up, discussed and dropped. Then she was on to the next one. He found out very quickly that she was really interested in the future possibilities of free energy, and in the rapid changes in all forms of technology. They paid little attention to the food, sipped the wine Bob had ordered, and the time passed so quickly they were surprised when they realized it was nine o’clock. “Hey, Bob, let’s go down by the water for a little while. It’s too nice out to go home yet.” Bob paid the tab and walked with her down to a bench by the water. Once seated, Willa quickly reverted to form, partly to cover her nervousness at being in a social situation with the man she knew she loved. “Hey, Bob.” “Yes, Willa?” “What do you call an elephant with teeny tiny ears?” “I have no idea.” “Hearless, Silly.” “Okay, Willa, there’s only one way I know of to shut you up.” Taking her face in his hands, he leaned over and kissed her. Kissing him back, there was only one thought in her mind. Hey, Bob, that’s awesome!!!

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