In the shed

With one clean flourish of the paintbrush it was finished. Ben stood back to admire his handiwork, ducking slightly to avoid catching his head on the shelf. This shed was only small, and the sailing boat took up most of the space.

Five years. Every Sunday morning for five years Ben had sweated, sworn and ached. He’d turned his boat from a rotting shell into a gleaming goddess of the waters, and now he let his mind stare out to the horizon.

The money spent, the weekends sacrificed, the arguments with Cathy. All worth it.

The phone chimed, startling Ben. It was a message from Steve.

‘Is today the day?’

Ben wasn’t the only man to spend Sundays in a shed. Steve was renovating an old sports car, Karl had a Harley Davidson he’d bought from scrap, Dave was very quiet about his Sunday morning activities but he was clearly up to something, and had been for a long time.

“Does this mean I get my husband back?” Cathy had asked when Ben told her it was nearly finished.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, now you won’t be spending Sundays locked in your shed it means we can get on with some of the stuff round the house we keep saying needs to be done.”

“I suppose so, then. Yes.”

“Good. Every time I see Sarah she frets about Steve never finishing that sports car and I was starting to worry you were going the same way with the boat.”

No more having to get up early on Sundays. No more days spent in a cramped shed. More time to get on with life.

Ben looked again at the finished boat.

He gave the rudder a push. It moved smoothly, but not smoothly enough. Something about how it hung from the stern was troubling. Ben couldn’t pinpoint the exact problem, but there was something wrong.

Only one thing for it. He picked up the mobile phone and replied to Steve.

‘Not today. New problem. Could take a long time to sort out.’

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