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Chapter 19: Do it Yourself!

The next day arrived, and Bandit had set up a mock pitch in the backyard for practice. Today he would show me the basics of Cricket.

We didn't have the items necessary to make a proper game, but Bandit Heeler DID have a cricket bat, so the rest we just improvised the best we could.

It was a cloudy day and it looked like it would rain today…so we had to keep the lessons brief and to the point. I was also plagued by the thoughts that occupied my mind the night before, but I decided to brush them away for now: focusing on the task at hand.

Basically, Cricket is quite similar to American/Canadian Baseball where they have batters and "bowlers" (basically the pitcher.) The object of the game (as best as I can understand it) is that one of the teams needs to make the most "runs" to win the game. Since there wasn't another person to fill the other batsman, Bandit had to act out several positions simultaneously.

Now, the field isn't actually diamond-shaped like baseball but rather quite rectangular in appearance and is where most of the play happens (with some outer reaches for other players to get the balls after it's struck.) That's where the familiarity between the two sports ends, and most of the explanations from the forty-year-old canine left me with more questions than answers.

So, we took it one step at a time: he gave me the cricket bat and explained I just need to hit the ball and "hope" it doesn't hit the "wickets" behind me or I'm out (or someone catches the ball farther out if I strike it.)

I sighed, crouching slightly while holding the heavy bat…preparing to play. Bandit walked and stood across from me, holding the reddish ball, "you ready Dustin?" He called out before I nodded.

Naturally, he wanted to take it easy on me, so he threw the ball softly in my direction. Even with this rudimentary gesture from him, I wasn't able to hit it. Instead, I missed, and I spun around before falling on my back. The older dog rushed to my side, helping me up and grabbing the bat I dropped, "you alright, mate?"

"Y-yeah…" I huffed.

"Wanna have a go again?"

"Definitely" I gave a confident smirk before he ran to the other end, getting ready to throw. I got myself ready again and once he threw the ball, I gave it all I got, but again I missed.

"Keep your eye on the ball, mate" he urged as I sighed, nodding to confirm.

Again, he throws and finally, the bat comes into contact with the ball: sending it to the side as he exclaims excitedly: "run to me, kid!"

I do, running as fast as I can, tongue out and everything as I reach the other end.

He rubs the top of my head as I jump excitedly, "that was great!"

"I think you got it, Dustin" he chuckled as we heard thunder in the distance…that was our cue to clean up and get inside…

As we did, I turned to the blue dog and said, "that took me back to my days with Dad."

As we climbed the steps to go back inside the house, he asked, "you're close with your old man, yes?"

I nodded, "yeah, we've had our moments…good and bad, no matter how bad things could have gotten…at the end of the day he was still dad. I just wish I could have done these things when I was this age the first time with him" I stated. The forty-four-year-old was hit with an emotional sledgehammer and he's quick to react: crouching down to be eye-level with me, "listen kiddo, we all have those moments where we wished we could have done more with our folks. I reckon it feels more special 'cause it makes us realize how important they are in our lives."

I looked away, nodding.

Kailey would probably think the same about me. Maybe Kailey would love sports, who knows?

Either way, we entered the house and placed the items used for practice along the wall. I suppose Chili and the sisters are still not home yet. Bandit knew this and once he got to the door to check mail he saw a package by the wall, an idea formed in his head.

"Hey Dustin, wanna help me set this together, mate?"

I tilt my head to the side and see that it's a package for a small table (probably for his office.) It's a DIY kit, and soon I realized what he was trying to get me to do. I wasn't really the best at doing these things (I SHOULD be, I'm going to be a father soon!) Ultimately, I decided to say yes.

"I guess, how hard can it be?"

I wasn't ready for it.

First of all, there were little bags with all the screws, tools, and what not, but the instructions weren't all that clear to us.

So, Bandit and I spent the first hour trying to figure out how to assemble the first pieces together (the legs with the counter. By the time we managed to do it, Bluey and the others had returned.

"Hey, gang!" Chili said, placing some things by the side as the sisters joined our side.

"What are you doing?" The blue dog tilted her head as she examined the mess, we had all around us.

"We're trying to build a table, kind of" I responded.

"Fun!" Bingo jumped once to show her interest.

"Not really" I looked back, hearing the dad say, "beans on toast! We put this on the other way, it's supposed to be the other way, ugh!"

"As you can see, it's quite…trifficult?" I gave a smug grin to Bingo who giggled.

"Dustin, screwdriver please!"

My ears rose all the way before I spun around and handed it to him.

"Can we help?" Bluey asked as I gave a nervous look, honestly, I wasn't sure. It's chaotic enough trying to piece everything together. I took the sheet of instructions and looked down at all the mess lying around and an idea formed in my head. I smiled and turned to her and said, "can you two put everything neatly…like put everything that looks the same in one pile and then the rest in other piles."

"Why?" Bluey cocked her eyebrow up as I answered swiftly, "that way it's easier to get everything we need when we need them."

She smiled and nodded, "oh, okay!" As Bluey started putting all the similar shapes into different piles (with the help of her sister, Bingo) she stopped, "we need all of this to build a table?" She seemed shocked as I stopped helping Bandit to look at her.

"Almost everything."

"I-I thought they all came already made?" Bluey was confused as Chili playfully laughed in the background…putting some stuff away from their trip, "no honey, remember the time we made that swing in the back?"

"Oh yeah!" Bluey remembered.

"Dustin, wrench please!"

"Oh, yeah, sorry!" I said, getting myself out of my distracted state. I couldn't find the wrench, however.

"Dad" Bingo suddenly appeared as Bandit (who was lying on his side) was startled and hit his head against the unfinished table, "Bingo!"

"What is this?" Bingo was holding the wrench, and her dad took it and gave a smile, "it's exactly what I need, thanks Bingo!"

"That's the wrench" I deadpanned in a silly fashion before Bingo smiled, "oooh!"

"Now I need a flathead screw, 'bout four of 'em!"

"I, uh" I tried looking for them, but they were gone…they must have been mixed amidst the chaos.

Bingo was walking all over, inspecting the furniture being built. Bluey sat across from me, trying to help me hand Bandit all the stuff as I looked through the guide.

"Why does it take so long to build…" she muttered as she handed me a screw to give to Bandit.

"It would take less time if it was less chaotic" I chuckled.

"Why?"

"Well, it just takes longer to do it when we don't know what we're doing and having to deal with all this mess, that's all" I rolled my eyes playfully.

"Why?"

"Sometimes life is just difficult sometimes I guess."

"…why?" Bluey asked yet again before I huffed, "I don't know, Bluey."

"Bandit butted in, standing up and wiping sweat from his brow, "some things might be hard at first, but you can appreciate the result when it's over, squirt" her father answered. Soon after, he stands the table up and it appears as though we've done it…it's put together!

"How about that?" Bandit smirked before Chili exclaimed, "wackadoo!"

"Hurray!" Both Bluey and Bingo cheered before I joined in a bit.

Silence followed for a few seconds before the table slumped, the result of the leg not being screwed in all the way and we all yelp in response. We all look at one another before laughing in unison.

In the end, we fixed the table of course and everyone tried it (coffee mugs and plushies placed about.) It did feel very good to assemble it and see the result.

As the day inevitably ends and we all get ready for bed, Bandit Heeler told me that the family would be going to Stripe Heeler's pool for a swim party tomorrow afternoon.

That sounded fun, Bluey and Bingo were certainly excited about it. Can't wait for it!