Playing The Shell Game

 shell gamePINIMAGE

As I sit here writing this I’m on two phones-one to the City and the other to our Energy Company.


Turns out the other day when we had a BIG storm a BIG branch (in one of the trees that are planted next to the sidewalk which would make it a PUBLIC tree) broke off and is hovering over the sidewalk; dangling, caught in a few live branches and resting on some electrical wires.

It is also swinging over my garden. That’s the REAL problem- who am I kidding.


So- I call the City, which informs me that if any electrical wires are involved in the potential CITY liability it is the responsibility of the Energy Company to come and remove the branch (’cause there’s never BEEN a buck that stopped on a melamine covered 40yo desk with 2 out-of-6 drawers in working order sitting on 8 layers of chipped linoleum lit by flickering fluorescent bulbs and manned by government pensions).


Sigh, “Okay. Do you have a number?”


She says, “Yea, 1-800- ***-**** which get me through to the (wait for it… wait for it…) The French consulate in DC.



Was she screwing with me?


No. That’s not possible- well, yes it is, but she wouldn’t have access to this number. Could she be playing mind games? Yes she could. She probably just threw-out some numbers hoping that I’d get the morgue. But, this is an interesting number. I think I’ll keep it.


But, back to the drawing board (which these days means ‘Googling’) and I call the local Energy Company number and after going through nine prompts and the whole scenario again I am told to call another 800# and select option 3, then 4.


Here we go… clickclickclick…

… and I am directed to the Spanish language part of the local Energy Company’s telephone help line.


Sweet Mother Mary it’s going to be one of THOSE days.


At this point I’m ready to give the whole branch coming down on a baby carriage-thing over to God but I know that if I do, my entry through the pearly gates will lead to even more negotiations then I already anticipate, and since God’s already got George Carlin and Julia Child up there, my chances of tossing around a few well placed jokes or a delicious Beef Bourguignon, will probably not impress if I’ve let a child be crushed.


Shit. It’s a-l-w-a-y-s something.


I get up, refill my iced tea, unlock the safe and play with my jewelry for awhile, do a twirl, then walk into the front parlor to eye which new sofa fabric looks best in the morning light, and… I see that damn branch through the window again.


Crap. Back to reality.


Okay. I know how to play a Shell Game. I’ll call the first number- again, and play d-u-m-b.


“Hi there! I’ve got a broken branch dangling in the public tree over our sidewalk. Could someone come over and remove it?”

“You the woman who just called?”


“The one with the electrical lines all wrapped up in the branch?”

“not me”

“The one I told to call the Energy Company?”


“You sound the same.”

silence (pretty smart right?)

“Are you there lady? Hello!”

“It’s not me. I’m a different person. I’m from Mexico. I barely speak English.”


“Para que venge pronto, Senorita?”

“Do ya think you’re my first time to the rodeo, baby?”

“I guess not, but speaking of which, have you ever been to the Angola Rodeo? Holy crap!”

“Yea I have. I got’s me a brother up there. He had his head split on a bull. Damn fool. But he’s gotta hard head so he be fine.”

“But they do widdle a fine hard wood bowl for the Rodeo Fair. I’ve got a set of salad tongs. Just beautiful.”

“And now I hear they servin’up kale. Ha! Ain’t no man gonna eat kale!”

“I so agree. I wouldn’t be caught dead growing kale in my garden. I grow only romaine, but we’ll have to see if a big branch that’s hanging over it will smash the whole thing to hell.”

“You got a garden?”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

“You have any Creole tomatoes?”


“I think we soul sista’s”

“I think we might be.”

“We gonna take that branch down Girl.”

“I think we should.”




I found the bean.


Playing The Shell GamePINIMAGE

Playing The Shell Game

  • Sue - I dearly loved reading your Shell game story today. You brilliantly applied the term Connect with Me into real life.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I hoped it was one of those ‘posts’ you like- the kind where I start HERE and end THERE. Hahahaaaa! Your’e my sweetheart Sue. Thank you dearly.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Mason - HA! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Bleck - Lesson to be learned: soul sistas always got your back. Fun read!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa at Grandma's Briefs - A great story, Cheryl. You’ve once again made me chuckle! 😀ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I am to please- unlike most customer service. Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - You are always so fascinating and funny at the same time. I think you should take your show on the road. To Jersey….ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - I LOVE this story! Sista’ hood!ReplyCancel

  • Rosalind Warren - Now THIS is a fun read. LOVE the way you are all over the place but then you bring it back home and nail the dismount. Nicely done.ReplyCancel

  • Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife - Very funny, hope you are safe! Hub is in that region, got hit with some big waves and high winds which is delaying his return.ReplyCancel

  • Penelope Shelfer - Eeeeeewwwwwwweeeeeeeee girl you done cotched yourself a bean!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Another day in the life of Cheryl Nicholl. Mine is so dull.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - It’s so irritating that all customer service is a shell game. But you have a good sense of humor about it!ReplyCancel

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