Sunday, October 9, 2011


Who they sent out looked like someone
I never liked because he never wanted
To work and this guy doesn’t either —
He has every excuse for you: they sent
Me first north to Putney on a wild goose
Chase and now I’m here past quitting time
And those lugs won’t budge. Susan catches
Him throwing his tire-iron back into his truck
From a good distance off. Did he bring a
Long bar to help crack the lugs? Nah.
Did he have a box of sockets? Nah.
I could string out a cord from the woodshed
If he had his drill? Don’t bother.
He usually carries with him a can of
Fix-a-Flat but not today. Scowling at the
Troubled tire he predicts the lugs
Will need to be torched and even then
They could snap and he wants nothing
To do with that. Goodbye.

His truck is pint-size and
He can’t wait to leave.
He does a comb-over on his hair
Which I could do but don’t.
Every second he is reminding
Me of a son-of-a-bitch I know.
It’s a half-hour drive back into
Town but it isn’t 15 minutes since
He has left and the agency we
Call tells us we’ve been charged by the
Jerk for a job well done. Imagine that.
Now, imagine what we said.

The next day the agency sends out a flatbed wrecker
From a different company and with a different guy.
A wide body bruiser with an equal size wife.
They push open the doors to the wrecker but
Sit there a moment as if sniffing over this piddly job.
Watching the guy finally roll out I can imagine
Him lifting the back end of my truck with one
Hand while changing the tire with his other.
He almost does. No excuses. Done in a flash.
He’s already heard through the grapevine about
Our visitor yesterday, says with a grin,
Don’t send out a boy to do a man’s job, right?
Something both our fathers told us.
Something, one day, you have to live up to.
Within seconds we are talking about firewood,
Mutual people we happen to know; his wife is
Complaining to my wife about how the agency only
Calls them when everyone else bails out.
They reek of bad attitudes, pissy luck and hard work.
We tell them we will be going back inside
To call the agency at Triple-A
To make them famous.

for Finn Wilcox

photo © susan arnold
from : yokel (longhouse, 2011)