Woe is Val. So put-upon by the ones she serves...never asking for anything more than compliance with her strict household regulations that change daily at her whim, and are not posted on the premises.
Dear sweet Hick, maligner of Juno, midnight pillow-thief, inept icemaker repairman...just does not know how to survive a crisis. If attacked by a polar bear, Hick would not drop into the fetal position and cover his head with his arms, as any small child in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada knows to do. He would scream like a woman with her fingers sinking into the back of a warm tomato plucked from the vine, facing a leering green tomato hornworm over the top. Or like a middle-aged man reaching his hands into the pockets of the BARn coveralls he slipped into, and feeling pink hairless baby mice scampering across his calloused palms.
In fact, Hick creates crises where none are imminent. Tonight, for instance. His bowling night. The night his loving wife not only brought him a thin-crust pizza so he could save some of his bowling allowance for auction-going, but also cooked some onions to go on that single-topper. Onions on a foiled Pam-ed pizza pan, baked suitable for pizza garnishing, not sweated, not fried, not microwaved.
What did he do, our clue-catching-challenged Hick? He took the foiled pizza pan, scraped the onions onto his pizza, then looked Val directly in the eye, and REMOVED THE FOIL AND CRUNCHED IT INTO A SHINY BALL THE SIZE OF A HERSHEY'S KISS AND THREW IT IN THE TALL KITCHEN WASTEBASKET! In spite of Val standing at the stove, ready to take the pan back, with the oven still on, and a box of breadsticks open on top. In spite of Val giving him a momentary benefit of doubt, thinking he might be using that pizza pan to carry his meal to his La-Z-Boy before bowling departure time, thinking he would simply lay that sheet of foil on the stove top so she could use a different pan for her breadstick-warming needs. But no. Hick put the pizza pan back on the stove and carried his lovingly-onioned pizza on a mere paper plate.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM? Obviously, Hick's path is broken. The path that Val tries to tele him her wishes through. If Val held out her hands and said, "Pick a hand, any hand, and maybe you'll win ten dollars for buying MEAT and cake plates at the auction," Hick would always pick the wrong hand. His gut instincts are always queasy.
I can't even work up enough rage to castigate him anymore. "Why did you do that?"
"The foil. I was going to use that on the pan for the breadsticks."
"Oh. I saw you looking at me, so I figured I'd better throw away that foil or you'd be mad."
"It was perfectly good foil. That stuff's not cheap. I don't see you bringing it home from the auction."
"Sorry. I was just cleaning up." And with that, he walked from the kitchen to the living room, stepping over the grass clippings that fell off his boots after mowing the yard.
I pulled the foil ball out of the trash. Too bad it wasn't laying on top of a once-bitten eclair laying on top of a doily. I pried it apart. Tried to flatten it again. After much exertion, I had a near-square that almost covered two-thirds of the pizza pan. It looked like a project I did in grade school, wrapping wrinkled foil over a rearing plastic horse, then painting him to look like he was made of distressed antique metal. The breadsticks were not judgmental.
Hick needs to enroll in a remedial class to brush up on his mind-reading skills.