I related the story to her, from beginning to end, as I laid helpless, four walls and one roof pinning me to the ground, with just my head protruding. Then came the snorting, apologies, and laughing and laughing and laughing, each harder than the next. She knelt next to me and managed to get the “are you injured?” out of her mouth before falling on her perfect backside. Just my pride. I don’t think she had a choice at that point. She was laughing too hard to support herself. She rolled over a looked down at me. I could feel the teardrops landing on my forehead.
“Um, hello? Audrie, I’m trapped here!”
“I know, I’m so so…,” was about all she could get out before falling again, alternately laughing and snorting at the expense of my misfortune.
She settled a bit, but I could tell that more fits were just below the surface.
“Okay, hold on. Do you feel like you’re hurt anywhere? Did you lose consciousness? Are you able to move all your appendages?
“Yes, to all, now get this bloody building off of me!”
“Building? Looks more like…,” and off she went again. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone lose that much control. Ever.
“Arthur?” Now I could add another to the list of people pissing at my misfortune. It was Tom.
“Tom, just give us a minute.”
“Okay, Arthur,” said Audrie, “ready?”
“Okay, 1, 2, 3.”
I felt the weight lift mercifully off my chest, then fall back onto me as I turned my head and looked at Audrie back on the forest floor again, on her knees, unable to maintain an upright posture. Tom would have joined her I’m sure, if he had a physical body. At this point I contemplated how to keep warm for the night, as it appeared that I would be lying on the forest floor for the evening. But, finally, and carefully, I felt the load become light as each layer was removed. Audrie finally regained her composure and lifted the last layer off, allowing my chest to do important things, like breathing.
“What the hell happened?” asked Tom.
“I was building our wood shed and nailing the final shingles into place. Then the roof collapsed, and the four walls, north, south, east, and west came to rest after a cruel domino game on the ground, pinning me in place.”
Tom replied, “So… okay…” Then Tom joined Audrie on the hysterical merry-go-round.
“I could have died!”
“Well, all the better for your investi…” and again with the laughing.
I stood up and stormed away into the cottage – mumbling sweary insults – for a whisky and a smoke on the verandah, where Audrie and Tom joined me after a cooling off period. Like Lazarus, I would make the shed rise again… by calling a builder.