‘So Dave is up there right now?’ my sister Cheryl raised an eyebrow, leaning sideways off the couch to look out the window and into our backyard.
‘He sure is,’ I sighed, taking a long sip of my tea.
‘Son of a—’ we heard Dave yell, followed by a muffled thump.
‘Oh, my god, Jessica!’ Cheryl got to her feet, dropping her teacup onto the coffee table. ‘He just fell out of the tree.’
‘Sounds about right,’ I nodded, not turning around.
‘Should we go help him?’
‘Give him ten more seconds,’ I shrugged.
‘Ten more…’ Cheryl looked confused. A muffled groan found its way into the living room, as Dave flashed us a thumb’s up.
‘See, he’s fine,’ I pointed. ‘We have a system.’
‘If he doesn’t let me know he’s fine within thirty seconds of falling out of the tree, then I call the ambulance.’
‘This has happened before?’
‘It’s actually the third time it’s happened since you got here,’ I told her. ‘He’s genuinely not well balanced enough to be building a treehouse.’
‘Is he… okay?’
‘Yeah, whenever he’s had enough he just pretends he has to duck out to our local hardware store in Cheltenham.’
‘Okay,’ Cheryl frowned, slowly sinking back into the couch. She picked up her tea again, nervously watching Dave climbing up the tree trunk.
‘See,’ I gestured, ‘no problem at all.’
‘He might be bleeding,’ she squinted.
‘It’s probably old blood, I’m making him wear the same clothes every time he goes up there.’
‘Because of all the blood,’ I frowned. Obviously.
Another muffled yelp and thud echoed in from outside.
‘Hmm,’ I nodded. ‘That was a quick one.’
Cheryl sat in a stunned silence for a few moments. Eventually the screen door slid open, and Dave stuck his head in.
‘Hiya Cheryl,’ he beamed. ‘I’m just ducking out to grab building supplies from a store near Cheltenham. Won’t be long.’
Whistling, he walked through the house and out the front door, starting the car.
‘Should he be driving?’ Cheryl whispered to me.
‘Just drink your tea, Cheryl’ I rolled my eyes.