“I think we know where the groaning came from,” Harry said.
“Wait here,” Boris said. “Mr. Crocker needs to see this.”
Harry glanced at Cobb, who looked like he was ready to run, and shook his head as he moved closer to him. “Don’t panic,” Harry said quietly. “I have a feeling this will all work out fine.”
Boris returned and, after introductions were made, Bertie showed him the pictures
Crocker was a rather short man with a little extra weight around the middle. Finally he looked from Bertie’s camera up to the roof. “Looks like we have a problem, Boris. Considering the amount of bark skinned off that limb, there’s probably some damage done to the roof too.”
“Yes, sir, I think we do. I didn’t see it the other night when I checked.”
“No one would,” Crocker said. “It wasn’t a fit night to be out.” He looked at Cobb. “How did you know what to look for?”
“When I was a teenager, the house next door had huge trees in the back yard. They had to prune the branches often because they rubbed the roof.” Cobb looked down at his feet. “Sorry about the other night. I had planned to be gone before you locked up.”
Crocker looked at him. “Well, no harm done. You have a working knowledge of trees?”
“Some. I worked with a landscaping company a long time ago until they went out of business.”
“Dr. Goode’s funeral is tomorrow. Come see me the day after. Maybe we can put you to work part time if you’re interested?”
Cobb grinned. “Yes, sir!”
“Meanwhile, take this and…” Crocker pulled a fifty-dollar bill from his wallet and held it out. Cobb hesitated. “Go on, take it,” Crocker said. “You have saved me much more than that in future roof repairs.”
“Thank you, sir. This will buy good winter jacket and boots to last until I get my pension.”
“Will you have any trouble getting your pension with no fixed address?”
Cobb shook his head. “My Canada Pension is direct deposit, not much since I haven’t had a steady job in a long time.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, when will that be?” Harry asked him.
“A little less than a year.”
“What do you plan to do then?” Bertie asked.
“Been saving my Canada Pension, adding a few dollars when I can, and I’m gonna get me a small trailer,” Cobb said, grinning. “And I’m gonna set it up not too far from Joe, so’s we can get together for card games on long winter nights.”
As Harry pulled the truck out onto the street and headed towards home, Bertie sat back in the passenger seat and sighed. “I know there will be more storms but that was definitely one for the memory book.”
Harry laughed. “How about we toast that idea over pizza for supper?”
“Hogan, you eat too much fast food, but this time I’ll go along with it.”