All I need is the light bulb changed. How hard can it be?
Unfortunately I can’t do it myself, being stuck on the couch after a skydiving accident. My slightly eccentric brother Harry has been checking in each day, making sure I have everything. Of course, the neighbor could have helped me just fine, but Harry insisted. He is annoyingly cheerful but I have to say, he makes lovely lunches.
Anyway, here I am, ensconced on the couch, with everything I needed; a good book, food, drink, the TV remote, phone, painkillers, and my new kitten to keep me company. Enforced idleness isn’t that bad actually.
But then, the light bulb blows, leaving me in the dark. Thank goodness for TV-screen light.
So, first thing this morning, I ring Harry. I explain the light bulb needs changing, and no, I don’t have a spare. Bayonet type, 20 watt, energy saver please.
When he finally arrives, Harry has the screw-in type. Back to the store he goes.
Half an hour later, he’s back. Right bulb. Hallelujah!
Next, he needs a ladder. Normally I stand on a chair to change a light bulb, but Harry reckons that’s unsafe; might break a leg, and that would make two of us. My ladder is kept in my garage, which I always keep locked.
Harry gets the key. Disappears. Returns. Wrong key. Good grief, I just want the light bulb changed. He disappears with the right key.
I hear my car start up. Why? I want to take a look, but I can’t. The car stops. Crash! The unmistakable sound of glass. A loud curse from Harry, then silence again.
Harry enters the kitchen. ‘Just getting the brush and shovel’ he calls out cheerily. ‘Oh, and you might want to call the insurance; the windscreen on your car broke.’
There goes my no-claims bonus. I have so many questions.
Harry returns. ‘Your ladder’s missing.’
‘It’s hanging in the cupboard where it’s always lived.’
‘Oh, I thought it lived in the rafters with the canoe.’
‘How would I get it down without a ladder?’ I ask.
”Stand on your car?’
‘Anyway, all’s well’ he says. ‘I’ll get the ladder.’
I hear the ladder scratch something as he brings it inside.
‘Do you have any more of this wallpaper?’
‘Oh, that’s alright then.’
I need to get off this couch.
Harry places the ladder carefully under the blown light bulb. The kitten watches with interest. I’m not quite so enthusiastic. Why didn’t I ask the neighbor?
Harry climbs up the ladder, before remembering the new light bulb.
He gets down, unwraps the new light bulb, and climbs back up the ladder. The kitten pounces on the wrapping, determined to slay this intruder.
Harry tries to undo the blown light bulb with one hand, but fails. He decides to put the new bulb into his pocket, freeing up the other hand, but the pocket is too small. He carefully balances the new bulb on the top plate of the ladder. Then he reaches up to undo the old bulb. His protruding stomach knocks the new bulb; it hits my coffee table, smashing into a million tiny pieces. The kitten takes fright and hides under my couch. I don’t blame it.
Harry goes to retrieve the brush and shovel. That’s when he discovers he forgot to click the latch on the garage door.
‘Do you have a spare key?’ he asks.
‘The key is still on the garage ledge where I put it while I got the ladder.’
I phone the locksmith.
Harry uses an old scrubbing brush and a piece of card to clean up the glass. I realise too late that the card is a sketch a friend sent me.
Harry goes to the store for another light bulb. I suggests he gets two, just in case. He has my cash card.
He returns. Says I owe him for the bulbs.
‘Why? You had my card.’
‘I forgot the pin number. It froze.’
I ring the bank.
Harry says one bulb was on special. I point out its red. He promises to exchange it.
I need to get off this couch. Really soon.
Harry climbs up the ladder and carefully removes the old light bulb.
‘Nearly done’ he says cheerfully.
Harry climbs the ladder, new light bulb in hand. The kitten re-emerges from under the couch to watch. It’s braver than me.
Harry carefully places the bulb in the socket. A flash of light strikes his eyes. Almost blinded, he scrambles down. He turns off the light switch. Back up the ladder, Harry puts the light bulb in, and sets it securely.
‘There, done’ he says with satisfaction.
The kitten has lost interest and is playing with string.
Descending the ladder, Harry doesn’t notice the kitten until its too late. He trips over the string, or kitten, I don’t know which, and skydives into the carpet. His arms knock my drink to the floor. Harry’s flailing feet topple the ladder, which crashes into the TV screen, destroying it.
The kitten disappears. The TV falls on top of Harry’s leg. We both hear an ominous crack.
Harry, dear helpful Harry, is now ensconced on his couch, laid up with a broken leg. I will get my neighbor to take him a lovely lunch every day.