|Herman looked at the old tree behind the house. Several arborists had looked at it, and all said the same thing. The tree was dying and unless he took it down in a planned fashion, the next thunderstorm could send the whole thing hurtling into his roof.
Feeling the bark with his hand, Herman allowed melancholy to overtake him. "I used to swing off your branches. I learned to climb on you. My cat got stuck up in that crown of yours time and time again. Now we have to part, my old friend."
With a heavy heart, Herman called the arborist with the lowest rate to take the tree down and take it away. It was hot, the sick tree having given up on producing a lush cover of leaves in summer to shade the house. That night, Herman invited his neighbor to a going away party for the tree. They sat with pizza and beer on the back patio.
"So you have to take it down?"
"Yep. They say it's not safe to keep it."
"You need a hand with that?"
Herman shook his head. "I've got a professional coming out tomorrow."
"What? You're going to pay for this?" Rick got off his chair and went to his backyard shed through the hole in the fence between both properties. He came back with two axes. "One for you, one for me. What’s the poetry in having some guy take down this old tree? We can have it down before you know it."
Rick and Herman hacked away at the stem. The old tree eventually started leaning precariously toward Herman's house. "Stop! We're going to crash it into my house."
Rick went to the other side of the tree and started hacking the stem on that side. Herman sat down, beer in hand and watched his friend work. Eventually, they switched and Rick watched Herman. "Timber!" Rick called as the tree swayed away from Herman's house.
Herman jumped out of the way. The tree came crashing down. The tall crown took the power lines with it. A long branch pierced the roof of Rick's shed. The highest part of the tree landed on top of Rick's house and made some roof shingles fall off. The tree stopped perched at a precarious angle between its chopped stem and Rick's house.
"What the?" Rick screamed, "You idiot made the tree fall on my house!"
"Oh man. I didn't think the tree was long enough to reach all the way to your house."
Rick freaked out. "My shed and house are ruined! You're going to pay for that damage!"
"You said we should do it. I had professionals all lined up for this. I ain't paying for your roof. You said you knew how to do this."
Rick ran to his house. He had to run all the way around to the front as the back door was blocked by tree debris and a thick branch across the back door. He came back with a canister of fuel. "I am going to burn this thing!"
Too late. Rick had doused the tree with gas and set it on fire. He ran around like Rumpelstiltskin jumping up and down. The tree burned like sunder, flames shooting up and the dry wood partially exploding into sparks.
Herman ran for the water hose. He doused the fire closest to his home, but with the branches of the tree touching Rick's house, the fire licked its way up to Rick's house in seconds. Rick's celebration turned to horror as the flames started eating away at his back door. Stunned, he watched as his house went up in flames.
"Man, you made some bad decisions tonight," Herman said to Rick.
Rick sat down on the chair where he sat only a short while ago enjoying a cool beer and some pizza. He rubbed his face, leaving a dark trail of soot across his cheeks. His hair stood up in a wild mane.
The fire department came and asked what happened. Rick was arrested for setting fire to his own house. Herman was cited for tearing down a tree without a permit.
© Copyright 2012 Giselle (UN: octobersun2 at Writing.Com).
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