This is my version of a story my Uncle Dan tells:
The old man sat in the garage when he didn’t want to be around his wife. Which was always. When my Uncle Dan was a kid, he would help out around the house, doing odd jobs, picking up heavy-ish things. Primarily it was a chance for his mom to get him out of her hair under the thin pretense of Christian charity. So he was sent across the street, more out of convenience and guilt than for any practical purpose.
One afternoon he was in the kitchen, helping the old lady wash and dry dishes after baking. Once everything was toweled and put away, she cut a slice of pie from the tin, plated it with a fork, and asked Uncle Dan to take it out to the old man. He was in the garage, as usual.
Uncle Dan walked through the breezeway, carefully preserving the airlock between the two worlds by closing the door to the kitchen. As he opened the door to the garage, he saw two hands holding up the sports section, polyester-slacked legs, and a lawn chair. The old man grunted at Uncle Dan’s hello, then said, “Whaddaya need?”
“She told me to bring this pie to you.”
Uncle Dan gestured with the dish, but the newspaper didn’t lower even slightly.
“She make it?”
“Yeah,” Uncle Dan replied.
There was a beat of consideration, then the two word reply.
“Dump it, Piebs.”
Uncle Dan stood fixed, and glanced twice between the trash can and the picture of Wilt Chamberlain on page one. Then he moved to the garbage, scraped in the pie.
“Leave the plate on the ground. I’ll bring it in later.”
Back through the airlock, Uncle Dan sat at the table enjoying his piece, all thought of the moment before lost in sweet apple filling. The crust was tough.