If I Were a Carpenter

By Joe Giordano

Sawnie paced his office. He stopped at the wooden wall plaque he’d hand-crafted and read the diploma for the millionth time.

Sawnie Aldredge, Jr.

Doctor of Neurological Surgery

A memory popped into Sawnie’s head. His mother attended his Vanderbilt graduation. She said in her cranky voice, “Your father was good with his hands, too. Lot of good it did me.”

Sawnie said, “Mother, brain surgery is a little different than carpentry.”

She shrugged, “Let’s see what an educated Aldredge can do.”

Sawnie shook his head into the present. Would he ever make his mother proud? He tried to clench his fist. The cast on his hand stopped him. He puffed out a breath. Would he be good with his hands after crushing one?

The phone rang. It was Dr. Charles Hardman, head of neurosurgery at Nashville Hospital and Sawnie’s boss.

Hardman omitted pleasantries. “When will you be back?”

“Not as soon as I’d like.”

“Patients are piling up.”

“A surgeon needs his hand.”

“I’m interviewing. I need to know the talent available.”


“Got to go.” Hardman rang off.

Sawnie’s girlfriend, Caprice, let herself in. “Who was that?”

“Hardman. He threatened to replace me on staff.”

“He can’t do that. You’ll be good as new in a month.”


“Sawnie, I need money. I’m going shopping.”

“The wallet’s on the desk.”

Caprice pecked him on the cheek before she left. “My mother told me to marry a doctor. Ciao.”

Sawnie plopped into an armchair. His Westie, Crumbles, pawed at his calf. He put her into his lap. Crumbles curled up comfortably and sighed.

Well, Sawnie thought stroking the dog, you’d love me if I were a carpenter.

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their little shih tzu, Sophia. Joe’s stories have appeared in more than sixty magazines including Bartleby SnopesNewfound Journal, and The Summerset Review. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, will be published in October by Harvard Square Editions.

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