Orbit of Mercury

“Hey!  Anybody home?”

“Hello – Terry?  Y’all at home?”

“Snake?  Is that you?  I’m in the shop!”


“Please – come in!”

“Hey, guy.  I was just out on the bike, and I saw your ride parked in the drive.  Kinda surprised you weren’t in the store.”

“Oh, that.  I have a client coming out this morning.  He really wanted to see my workshop.”

“So that’s why you left the note on the door!”

“Yes.  It’s a commissioned piece.  He insisted on seeing it in the shop.  I’ve actually been giving him pictures while I’ve been working on it.”

“Cool!  Is that it?”

“Yes.  I’m just finishing.  I’m applying fragrant oils.  It has to be just right.  I tested the combination on strips of wood.  Geranium.  Bergamot.  Grapefruit.  Cedar.  I decided to try one more combination last night.  I’m glad I did – this one is perfect.”

“Man, that flower!  I didn’t know it was possible to cut wood like that.  It’s almost real.  And I love the way it’s, like, coming straight out of the ground without a stem or nothin’.  It’s like it’s erupting right out of the dirt!”

“Yes.  I love that image.”

“It’s kind of like it’s frozen and moving at the same time.  And these ball things are pretty cool.  What are those things?”

“Look closely at them.  You’ll see.”

“Oh, shit fire!  I should have seen that.  They’re fruits!  Are they comin’ out of the ground too?”

“Absolutely!  Now stand back and take a look at the whole piece.  Look at the positions of everything.”

“Wait a minute.  Are they goin’ around the flower?  It looks like an atom.”

“You’re getting warm…”

“Oh, heck – I shoulda seen that.  They’re planets!”

“You got it, Snake.  And note the resemblance to a Japanese stone garden.”

“Cool!  What’s it called?  It better not be something stupid like Planet of the Fruit Chicks.”

“God, Snake – that’s hilarious!  I’m going to have to do one by that name.  That would be amazing fun!  No, it’s called Mercury.”

“I love it.  He was that fast guy, right?”

“Exactly.  I think it ties it all together.  And it’s a subtle play on the owner’s initials, too.  Speaking of whom….”

“Terry-san?  I’m sorry to be coming in.”

“Hinoki-san!  Please!  Come in.  I’m just showing your piece to an old friend.  Hinoki-san – may I introduce my friend ‘Snake’ Waters.  Snake – Hinoki-san.  Hinoki Goro.”

“Hebi-san!  A pleasure to finally meet you.  You’re the brother of Joey Waters – right?”

“Oh, wait – I know!  Your Hanae’s husband!”

“Yes – but please don’t tell Kitsune-san that I was here.  This is a surprise for my wife.  If she even knows that I’m here, she’ll guess what she’s getting.  It’s for our anniversary.”

“My lips are sealed, amigo.”

“Hinoki-san – your piece is ready.  It’s over here…”


“Well, that went well.”

“I’ll say.  Clients like Hinoki-san make it all worthwhile.”

“He’s an interesting guy.  I mean, first he’s almost crying, and then he goes and pulls a pair of six-packs out of the trunk.  Not that I’m complaining.”

“Yes, he’s wonderful.  Simply unique.  People who pass him on the street without paying attention may not even notice him at first.  Or they may think he’s a cross between a salaryman who’s a bit oily and – say – a pine air freshener kind of guy.  But talk to him for a minute, and you’ll discover his depth.  I simply love him.”

“I can’t believe that he has an entire room made of that special wood.”

“Not just a room – the entire interior.  He even gave me pictures, and a piece of the wood.”


“See – that’s what I mean.  He knows that those things would mean even more to me than money.  He loves wood the same way that I do.”

“OK, dude – time for another beer.  We’re gettin’ a bit too sentimental here.”

“Absolutely.  I’m going to start working on my next piece.  Something to clear the palate, so to speak.  You’re welcome to play around, too.  But no power tools.  Beer and power tools don’t mix.”

“Gotcha, pardner.  Whatcha gonna make?”

“Well, I’m not sure what it will be, but whatever it is, I’m calling it Planet of the Fruit Chicks.”

“Alright!  Here’s to babes!”


“Wow, Snake.  That’s really interesting.”

“Ya like it?  It ain’t exactly art.  But I’m still giving it a name.  I’m calling it Yosemite Breeze.”

“It looks functional.  Is it?”

“No foolin’ the Woodmeister!  Yeah – ya see that hole?  It’s for an electrical cord.  You put the Glade plug-in in the top right here – in the top of the volcano.  You hook up the power here.  So you get a woody scent from the cedar, while you get a chick scent from the Plug-In.  But I won’t tell my wife about the cedar part.  She’ll just think I’m warming up to those damn air fresheners that she makes me put in the den.  Hell – the damn thing even looks like Fuji.  There’s no throwin’ it out.”

“Snake – you may not be an artist, but when it comes to making a star-crossed marriage work, you’re definitely a genius.”

“Thanks, bud!  I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“As it was intended.  A toast!”

“You got it!  Here’s to babes!”

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