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Carpenter's Helper

The Harpoon Review 2015

September 2, 2015

Carpenter's Helper


I stood watching my grandfather on his makeshift scaffold; a big man with a big belly standing on a two by six board that bounced with every movement. I was there to pass tools and clapboards up to him so he could finish siding the last of the house and we could get out of the snow and go to his house for our bologna sandwiches and Sarsaparilla lunch. He’d measure, call down a size, I’d cut it with a cross-cut saw and pass it up while he tossed a handful of nails in his lips from his carpenter’s apron. I wore gloves and a hooded jacket and he wore a plaid shirt. I looked up and his bald head had spots of snow like giant dandruff. He began flapping his arms from front to back to try and warm up. I finished cutting and sanded a bit of rough edge and held the board up but my grandfather was missing. I called out for him and saw a bush move and he crawled out. I saw the blood trickle down his face as he turned and climbed back up the ladder.

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