Melora had never been a bright girl. Her daddy could never quite square with the fact that he had been, to some degree, responsible for bringing into the world this plodding, dizzy creature who was more like a puppy who never grew into its feet. On some occasions it caused him so much consternation that he would simply take her by her shoulders and shake her. Her mother didn’t much concern herself with the antics of either except to occasionally emerge from her soap opera stupor, set down her glass of wine, and call from the den,
“Hank, I swear, you keep doin that and someday you’re gonna knock her screws loose.” This went on for years.
The day everything changed was remarkable only in its complete mediocrity. The sky had been overcast and temperatures were mild, the paper had arrived with no exceptional news, the cat was napping in its customary spot behind the loveseat. That day, however, in the midst of a particularly fervent shaking, the soft tinkle of metal on linoleum interrupted a familiar scene. Both Melora and Hank froze and began to scan the ground. Melora, with eyes still faintly spinning in their sockets, bent down and swept a few indistinguishable somethings into her opened palm. When she returned to standing her expression was that of a toddler directly after a fall. Mouth crumpling at the corners, bewildered, she displayed the two tiny screws lying in her outstretched palm.
“Well I’ll be damned Melora, I knocked your screws loose,” Hank gingerly brushed the screws into his own hand to turn over and inspect.