BY AISHA MUNROE
Copyright is held by the author.
PARKER STEPPED out on to the icy front porch. His parka-lined face was immediately assaulted by a spray of tiny ice pellets carried on the blustering wind. For the first time in days the skies had taken a break, temporarily ceasing the constant aerial assault.
He sighed, slipped on well-worn seal skin mittens and reached for the snow shovel propped against the flaking paint of the clapboard-covered cottage. Parker shuffled down the stairs. The last step was flush with the height of the snow fall.
It’s slowing down. He thought to himself as he swooped his shovel, revealing the hard packed ice and bare concrete of his driveway. He tossed the snow high in the air but the action was a fool’s errand. A wall of previously shoveled snow towered on each side of the driveway. Close to ten feet high; there was no longer anywhere to fling the cursed white.
Parker thought back to an October day earlier that year. The trees were bare, and Grant Edwards stood on his porch. He had the watery eyes of a man who enjoyed a drink more than most. A bulging nose adorned with broken capillaries poked out from under a fur-trimmed trapper’s hat that had seen better days.
“How ya gett’n on Parker” Edwards said with his absurdly thick bay accent.
“Ya think you’ll be going in for da plow dis year?”
As Edward said this, Parker noted that the man may have been swaying slightly while they spoke on the porch.
“Joe round da bend, is on fer it, wanted to see if ye’d be need’n me to plow for ya as well?” Edwards tugged the hat down further on his head.
Four years before that, Parker had signed on for Edwards’ plow service. That year it had barely snowed and Edwards didn’t show up for two of the snowfalls, leaving Parker to hand shovel the snow himself. He wasn’t going to fall for that again.
Parker had politely refused Edwards’ three hundred dollar plowing fee, stating that he liked the exercise that shoveling his own snow offered.
Parker reflected on this grievous mistake several times a day as he struggled to combat the multi-day storm. He was now just flinging snow as high as he could, but most of it would hit the white wall and tumble back down to the driveway.
Parker began to push the snow to the end of his driveway in the hopes that a passing plow would relieve him of some of the stuff. He had heard on CBC news that morning that St. John’s plows had resorted to simply pushing the massive tonnage of snow into the ocean. The city had essentially shut down and many were presumed to be snowed into their homes.
There were strict warnings to not push the snow from private driveways into the streets as the plows were already stretched to their limits. If caught, you would be heavily fined. The talking heads however did not provide a solution for private homeowners who were overcome with the evergrowing towers on their front lawns.
Parker was going to risk it, just this once. He even spread the snow around at the bottom of his drive so that his actions seemed less obvious. He was thinking himself rather clever while he trudged back towards the house.
He heard a plow making its way up the street. He turned to see if the plowman would notice his extra contraband snow. A trapper hat-bedecked Edwards passed by with a smile and a little salute. With him a tidal wave of greying snow flew from the curve of a massive bright red plow. Parker looked at the bottom of his driveway to see that the plow had thrown up a three foot tall ridge of snow. He was now blocked in. He threw his shovel to the ground and let out a long chain of expletives. As if in answer to his curses, the slate grey skies released another torrent of thick fresh snowflakes. Parker retrieved his shovel and with the realisation that there was nothing else he could do, he simply stood, staring off into the distance while the snow fell around him.