Mert smelled smoke. Not a strong smell as much as a hint, a whiff. And not the acrid smell of something that shouldn’t be burning, something amiss. Rather, it was a transporting scent that triggered a mental postcard of people camping and laughing, of cooking s’mores and perhaps a few singing around the burning centerpiece of a communal gathering.

Someone somewhere was sitting down to an ice-cold beer, ready to dig into something his doctor told him he probably should cut back on, but figured he deserved after the day he had.

Someone somewhere was holding a hand and saying nothing while watching the wind play in the leaves.

Someone somewhere was laughing so hard they were finding it hard to breathe.

He seemed to hate the notion that someone somewhere might be having more fun than him…any fun in fact while he was stuck doing this. Still, he let the images and thoughts linger.

He pulled the truck to a stop and slid the door open. Even with the sun dropping, it was hotter than he liked it and the gush of heat slapped him like a big wet towel. The weatherman on WFRX labeled the day a “scorcher.” All Mert knew was that it was hot and if it was a hundred degrees it might as well be 200 degrees for all he could do about it.

He grabbed his tools from the back, slid the back door shut and headed to the door, wiping the droplet of sweat that was forming on the tip of his nose away with his sleeve.

Another hint of smoke, made him pause. This time it carried with it the image of grilled cheeseburgers and icy blender drinks.

Once at the front step, he rang the doorbell causing a whir of commotion inside; dogs barking, kids running and yelling, and a mom trying to hold the chaos at bay. Tracing the barely audible footsteps, he counted the seconds off until the deadbolt clicked and the door swung open.

“Mom” stood there before him, hair up and sweating, and waving a paper plate before her face with a ferocity that said if she didn’t get some relief quickly, she was probably going to kill someone. Not literally of course, but she meant business.

“Finally,” she said in a tone which was part relief and part pent up frustration. “Let’s get to it! Do you have any idea how horrible it is to have your air-conditioning crap out on one of the hottest days of the year?”

The images of camping, and cheeseburgers, and beer evaporated in a puff.

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