The day warms up until we are both covered in sweat, the house next door has a big yellow water jug sitting where one of the front windows will someday be installed, we take turns letting the cold water pour over our faces. And then, “Boom!” it sounds like a bomb has gone off up the street near the first house we cleaned. Ricky gives me a quick look and we both drop our shovels and take off running toward the explosion. By the time we get to the site a group of workmen have gathered and Jimmy’s father’s pick-up is parked on the dirt in front of the house. There was no explosion. A delivery van with a load of sheetrock, in a big hurry, backed up to the garage. The driver misjudged either the length of the driveway or the height of this truck and now the truck is jammed under the crossbeam at the entrance to the garage. The driver starts up the engine of the truck and gently tries to pull forward, the whole front of the frame of the house pulls forward an inch.
“Stop!” Jimmy’s father shouts, “you’ll pull the whole house down!” The group of men look for an alternative.
One man shouts, “We could cut the beam out!” Carpenters shake their heads.
“That’s a bearing wall, we’d have to shore the whole thing.”
“How about if we rock the truck, back and forth, kind of loosen it up?” a man in white overalls asks.
Jimmy’s father considers the situation, he doesn’t look real happy, and he looks around for a better idea. Ricky gives Jimmy a push on the shoulder and points.
“Sir,” Jimmy starts. He looks at his father and waits.
“You have an idea Jimmy?” Jimmy’s father looks at Jimmy as all the men in the group turn toward him and silence falls.
“We could try letting some air out of the tires.” Without waiting for a reply from Jimmy’s father a couple of the men start letting air out of the back tires, in just a few seconds the header over the garage creaks back half an inch and then, while the tires still have well over half their air, a quarter inch gap can be seen between the truck and the wooden beam. The driver pulls up slowly. A cheer goes up and everyone either shakes Jimmy’s hand or pats him on the back.
“Ricky’s the one who thought of it,” Jimmy states fairly and this leads to Ricky getting handshakes and pats on the back too. A painter backs his pick-up next to the delivery truck and with the compressor in the back of his pick-up he starts refilling the truck’s tires. Everyone heads back to their various jobs.
“That was perfect!” Jimmy says to Ricky as they hero walk back to the house they have been cleaning.
“And no one even had to die,” Ricky replies.