The young lady next door and I had been friends for quite some time. We often chatted about things... anything, silly stuff, serious stuff, interesting stuff. Because I was substantially older than she, I had many responsibilities, however... while she had few. And occasionally, she would come and sit and watch while I worked and chat with me.
One day, I was cleaning the leaves out of the gutters... sticking my hand in that muck and tossing them down to one side of the ladder. The effort required some serious stretching from my awkward position on the ladder. She had taken a seat on the other side of the ladder... and as I was finished and came back down the ladder, she said, "You know, Mr. C... I could see your underwear while you were up there."
"Oh really?" I smiled. "I guess that means you were looking."
She smiled back. Very cute and very sweet. And just the slightest bit naughty.
"I'll be back in a moment," I said. "I need to get a drink before I do the other side of the house."
Obviously, the opportunity could not be ignored. I went inside and slipped out of my underwear, and buckled my belt just a little bit higher under my t-shirt. I came back outside and moved the ladder around to the other side of the house. She scooted along beside me, and resumed sitting as I climbed up the ladder once again.
This time, as I was aware of her interest, I made sure that my leg was positioned appropriately... and took my time doing my work... with even more (and longer) stretches involved. I looked down at her every once in a while to confirm that she was watching. She had a big grin on her face. I decided to test the waters a bit further.
I asked her if she would mind doing me a favor. "Sure," she said.
"There's a branch wedged in up here, and it's at a funny angle so I can't get it out. I have a very big screwdriver in the trunk of my car. Would you get it for me?"
"The trunk is locked, though... and my keys are in my pocket... and both of my hands are all mucked up here. Would you climb up behind me and reach in my pockets and find the keys?"
The smile never left her face. She stood, then came around and climbed up behind me, but a step down, I guess... as her head seemed to be at about the middle of my back. "I don't remember which pocket I put them in. Why don't you try the left one first? You may need to fish around a bit. I tend to cram quite a few things in my pockets sometimes."
Well, not so much this time. I had filled my left pocket with a few tissues for fluff and a few coins for weight... so that once I pulled the long pocket over across my leg, it would be less likely to slip back along my side. She slipped her small hand in slowly... feeling around. I continued to pull down more junk from the gutters as she worked... tossing it to the side. She slowly worked her hand down... past the tissue, until she felt the coins. And then I shifted my weight just slightly... so that there was a decent-sized muscular tube right there next to her hand. She gently slid her fingers along it, until she had wrapped them completely around it.
"It feels like you found something there."
"Yeah, I did... but I don't think it's the keys."
"Are you sure?"
She moved her hand along its stiff length until she reached the head... then back the other way.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure. I guess it's a tool of some kind."
"OK... well, it must be in the other pocket, then."
She slowly removed her hand and slipped her right hand in the right pocket... and pulled out the keys right away. "Here they are!"
"Great! You'll see the screwdriver in the trunk. It's huge. Almost as long as your arm."
"K." She climbed back down, and headed for the garage. I heard the trunk closing, and she came back with the tool.
"Excellent. Thanks for the help."
She smiled and sat back down. "I wish I could help more. I'm going to the mall tomorrow with my friends and I've only got about 5 bucks. That will be gone in no time."
"Hmmm... well, I may be able to help you there. I do have a job here that I wouldn't mind hiring you for."
"Really? I would be so grateful. I'd do almost anything for some money right now."
"Cool. Well, this is pretty easy... but it will take a little time. You might find it fun, though." I'll be inside while you're working. Do you want to go next door and get an iPod or something to listen to while you work?"
"Yeah... great idea."
"OK... I'll tell you about the job when you get back."
About 5 minutes later, as I put the ladder away and finished washing my hands, she came around the corner of the garage... adjusting the ear buds from the music player. "Are you sure you can hear me?" I joked. She laughed and said of course she could.
"OK. Follow me." We walked around the back of the house, around the porch, and up near the corner. "See this garden?" She nodded. "We're gonna get rid of it and make it part of the yard again. But, unfortunately, there's a lot of gravel in it... so I can't mow it down yet. I need you to bend down and run your hands around in the ground and find any stones bigger than a nickel. As you find them, throw them in this bucket, and I'll get rid of them later."
She said, "Is that it?"
"Yeah, not too hard. I have to go inside and take a shower while you're working. Do you think you'll be OK out here by yourself?"
She said, "Sure."
I pointed to the window and told her, "Well, I'll be just inside this room here. I'll keep an eye on you just in case. OK?" She smiled sweetly once again.