Short Circuit

Darrell Case

“But it’s almost new. It should work.” Kevin said to his wife, Elida. He kept giggling at the controls.

“Well, it doesn’t and we can’t keep putting refrigerated goods into it or we’ll go broke.” Elida said, removing the spoiled beef from the freezer.

“The guy on Facebook promised me it worked.” He said, handing her a package of pork roast. “Wow, this is already stinking.”
“We’re going to have to buy a new refrigerator.” She said, tying the trash bag. They had emptied the shelves.

“I thought I had. Guess not.” Kevin said, shutting the refrigerator door regretfully.
“Please, no more stuff on the internet. This time we buy from a reputable dealer like Walmart or somebody like that. “ She said. “One with a guarantee. If it doesn’t work, we take it back.”

“Yes, dear.” He said, smiling at her.
That afternoon, they went shopping. They had pooled their savings little as it was and found they could afford one a little over $300. But what to do with the old one that wasn’t that old? Who would want a refrigerator that didn’t work?

They found one at Willis Appliance Mart. $299.00, marked down from $599.00

 “Yup, it’s brand new, and no one has ever used it. This is last year’s model. Gotta have room for the new ones.”

“And it’s guaranteed?” Kevin said.

“If it stops working, we’ll sent out a repairman.” Hargus said. They were going to buy, and he hadn’t had a sale all day.

Kevin looked at his wife. She nodded. “Ok. When can you deliver it?”

Hargus breathed a sigh of relief. “I’ll call my guy soon as we finish the paperwork. We’ll have it at your home tomorrow morning sometime.”

 They returned to their home secure in the knowledge tomorrow they would have a working refrigerator.
“What are we going to do with the old one?” Kevin said, staring at the white box in their kitchen.

“Maybe we could sell it on Facebook.” Elida said, smiling. “For sale one big flower pot.”

“Hey how about a burial vault?” Kevin said. He laughed. “Spend time in the fridge.”
“Why don’t you see if Fred will help you move it to the garage? I’d like to clean that spot before they bring in the new one tomorrow.”
“Good idea.” Kevin said, pulling his cellphone out of his pocket.

A few minutes later, Fred appeared at their kitchen door. A husky man in his 40s, Fred worked for a company building new homes.

“I appreciate you helping me. I don’t think I could handle it by myself.” Kevin said.

“Glad I could help. Just got home.” Fred said. Together he and Kevin moved out the refrigerator from the wall. “Let me check the outlet. Had a pretty severe storm the other night.”

Together, Kevin and Elida watched as Fred unplugged the cord and pushed the tongs of an electrical tester into the wall receptacle. Nothing lit up. Getting to his feet, Fred asks. “Is the circuit breaker on?”

“Yeah, the box is one of the first things I checked after the storm.” Kevin said, somewhat embarrassed.

“I think your outlet is bad,” Fred said, getting to his feet. “I got a new one over at the house. Be right back.”
While he was gone, Elida said. “I thought you checked that?”

“I checked the circuit breaker, not the outlet.” Kevin said. “Don’t have anything to check it.”

“We need to get you a tester.” Elida said.

“I’ll pick one up at Lowes.” Kevin said. Fred came through the garage door.

“I shut off your circuit breaker.” He said. Kneeling down, he pulled off the cover and replaced the outlet. Replacing the cover, he said. Let’s see if she works." He plugged in the cord to the refrigerator. “Kevin hit that circuit breaker. Fifth, one down.”

Kevin found the right button and flipped it. There was a distinct hum from the refrigerator. Fred grinned. “There you go. Brand new refrigerator.”

That’s it? It was the outlet?” Kevin said, his mouth hanging open. Elida just stared, looking from Fred to Kevin and back again.

“Give it about an hour. Should be cold by that time,” Fred said, gathering his tools. Kevin tried to pay Fred, but he wouldn’t take any money.

An hour later, cold air greeted Kevin when he opened the door to the refrigerator. The next morning, they called Hargus as soon as he opened and canceled the delivery. Later that day, they went shopping and stocked the refrigerator.


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