Prides Hollow Story Series by Award-Winning Storyteller Kelly Swanson

Episode 6: The Power Washer

April 06, 2021 Kelly Swanson Season 1 Episode 6
Prides Hollow Story Series by Award-Winning Storyteller Kelly Swanson
Episode 6: The Power Washer
Show Notes Transcript

If you know Arlis, you know that he has a weakness for power tools. Come see what happens when he gets a new pressure washer. Just a silly little story to make you smile and fall in love with even more characters in Prides Hollow. 

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Have you ever had a strong desire to do something, but didn’t have the ability to pull it off? I think we can all look at American Idol tryouts to see proof of that right there.  What do you mean I can’t sing? What do you know Jay Lo? I’m gonna be a star. Sometimes our desire can blind us to the reality of our talents. 

There’s probably a good reason why we’re made to not always be good at the things we want to do. But I sure haven’t found it yet.

Anyway…….Arlis Jones is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. He has always wanted to build things, and repair things, and improve things. But just never quite makes it. But it sure never stops him from trying.

If you drive through Arlis’s neighborhood you’ll be able to spot his house easy. It’s the one where things are not quite up to code. The porch is a little uneven. The shutters aren’t exactly the color he thought they’d be when he found the paint on the clearance table. The driveway is too crooked even though he’ll swear it’s a fault in the land - that wasn’t there before he paved the driveway. And it’s not his fault the garage door won’t close all the way. Blame it on Youtube. 

Arlis Jones has a weakness for power tools and fixing things. To him it isn’t a matter of the tool fitting the work but making the work fit the tool. And Arlis is a genius at finding any reason to use a tool. 

Like when the Christmas tree branches were uneven.  Arlis sawed off the offending branches, drilled new holes in the empty gaps, filled the holes with the sawed off branches, used industrial strength glue to hold it in place, and viola. Problem solved.

Arlis decided to regrout the bathroom or better to say Arlis bought a heavy duty caulking gun and then decided to regrout the bathroom and used so much industrial strength rubber-like caulking that he covered just about every surface in that bathroom to the point you could bounce china tea cups off the walls and they wouldn't break. They know 'cause he and Earl tested it.

       Arlis found a way to add "juice" to the vacuum cleaner and that was the last they saw of the guinea pig and Ray Jean's sponge rollers. The blender now works at such a high speed that no one's allowed to use it for fear of losing a limb. And last time Ray Jean used her new garden tub with the jet massagers, well, the bruises lasted for days and a detective came over while Arlis was at work to ask her if she needed a safe house. 

       Arlis near about drove his wife crazy but the real trouble didn't start until Arlis Jones bought himself a power washer. Arlis had never used a power washer as had nobody else he knew which added to its appeal. Of course there might be a reason you don't find a power washer sitting inside every garage. Starting with the price. Ray Jean still don't know it yet but Arlis could have sent a kid over to the community college for what he paid for that power washer. 

But Arlis had taken one look at the big black bold word POWER and there was no turning back. Before Arlis even left Skeeter's Hardware he'd already come up with a list of things he was gonna power wash first starting with the deck. 

Oh, and by the way, this was all part of Arlis’s challenge from Old Man Withers - which had nothing to do with being brave. He was just using that as an excuse to use his new power washer wrapped in the idea that he was doing something nice for his wife. 

       Arlis's power washer might have come with instructions but if it did Arlis didn't see 'em. He wasn't much for reading directions anyway. Just point him to the ON button and he could take it from there. He was in control. Looking back, it's safe to say that there was not one moment when Arlis was in control of that power washer not even when it was still sitting on that shelf in the store.

And in Arlis’s eyes, if a power washer was a good idea, a juiced up amplified power washer was even better. So he just made a few adjustments to it.  

       Ray Jean did not see the obvious apparent beauty and value of owning a pressure washer. Good thing she didn't know the investment involved. She had but one comment to make. You ruin my roses and you are moving into the shed. Ray Jean had put many hours, sweat, and tears into that rose garden. She fiercely protected it like a mother bear would her cubs. You may wonder what a rose garden would have to do with power washing. Surely Arlis isn't dumb enough to power wash the roses. Maybe not, but you don't know Arlis.

       So Arlis decides to power wash the deck on a cool spring Saturday morning where blue birds chattered happily in the trees and the flowers danced back and forth under the warm sun. Ray Jean was getting a little sun on the patio while Otis slept peacefully at her feet snoring as only a dog can. Everything was tranquil and lovely and the smell of honeysuckles drifted in the air. You probably feel like you're in one of those scenes in a horror movie where the lovely blonde actress smiles at herself dreamily in the bathroom mirror right before she steps into the shower while the bad guy is standing behind the door. And you scream at the TV, "Nooooooo! Don't get in the shower! He's hiding behind the door!"

       Yep, the sense that something is gonna happen and only you know about it so far. In which case, you are most definitely correct. This pleasant spring morning has no idea what terror awaits in the hands of that power washing madman. 

       Arlis's famous last words were, "Look out honey, wouldn't want to spray you." And then it was like everything when into slow motion as Arlis’s hand lowers to that ON button and his words were drowned out (literally) by the opening spray of that power washer as it roared into that peaceful spring morning like an uncaged beast. Spewing water back and forth like a dragon sprouting fire. And it was taking no prisoners! Arlis had that look like maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought. 

It's hard to say whether Arlis was holding the power washer or whether the power washer was holding Arlis the way he was flipping around that back yard like a piñata, that hose slapping him left to right so fast he looked like a rubber gummy worm. Poor Arlis is barely a hundred and thirty pounds soaking wet. He was no match for the power washing dragon. 

       Ray Jean screamed and hid behind her Cosmo magazine, and as if hearing its name, the beady eye of that power washer turned on her. A high pressure jet stream of water blew that Kardashian cover picture right out of her hand and slammed it up against the side of the shed with such force it sounded like rapid fire bullets. And then it turned its eye on another victim on the other side of the yard. 

Poor Mildred Jenkins, the elderly lady from next door, was peeking over the fence to see what all the commotion was about when a blast of water shot her little hat with plastic roses on it clear off her head and into the next yard and Mildred hit the dirt just like she's seen them do in the movies. 

       Harvey Diggs picked the wrong moment to bring the mail over that had ended up in his mailbox instead of Arlis’s.  He just followed the sound of all the commotion to the back yard - thinking it was some kind of domestic violence issue - and he’d seen plenty of episodes of Hill Street Blues to know how to handle the situation.  He called out to Arlis to lay down his weapon, and that angry power washer turned its head and set its eyes on Harvey Diggs who opened his mouth wide in terror and, well, let's just say that mail got delivered to who knows where, and that was the end of Harvey's hair piece which was now plastered to the side of Arlis's Buick like back country road kill. No need to act embarrassed Harvey, we all knew it was a toupee. 

It was only by the grace of God that Arlis and Harvey were able to wrestle that beast to the ground while Ray Jean ran to turn off the water. 

The slain beast finally lay there limp on the grass while they all stood over it panting heavily, half expecting it to come to life again. 

They were all quite surprised how much damage a tiny little pressure washer could do in such a short amount of time.  Ray Jean looked at Arlis with that one eyebrow raised like she knew he had done something the instructions hadn’t called for. 

       "What were you thinking Arlis?" asked Mildred, who’s every Friday morning hairdo was now flattened to one side of her head.

       "I was power washing the deck," he replied still in shock. “As a gift to Ray Jean.”

       "Well," said Harvey. "Looks like you did some power washing all right.”

The backyard looked like a war zone with three dead squirrels, trash cans missing tops, pieces of the shed blown off, and the tire rim of a bike lodged up in a tree. The tomatoes and cucumbers were gone including the sticks to hold 'em up. The shrubs were flattened and the dog was last seen running down the street. But the worst thing. Ray Jean's roses. Destroyed. Death due to over watering according to the landscaping guy. Talk about your understatements.

       Now Arlis has a bed in the shed. Just him and his tools. He has had a lot of time to think out there. And learn his lesson. And he's realized something very valuable. There must be a way to reduce the power on that washer. Maybe if he tweaked it - just a little bit.