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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

June 24, 2008

3 point hitch excavator

That’s what Rus called it. This old creaky robotic arm lookin’ thing that apparently you hook onto the ass end of a tractor. Then get to diggin’. We walked down from his place up top to the little shed that hides the junk pile. That’s where he off loaded. Rus picked a spot on the property to dump all his garbage. When the pile gets high enough to see from the road below he scoops it up in the bucket and dumps it in the old Jimmy and hauls it up to Ox Mountain Landfill.

It was at Rus’ I really came to appreciate vehicles. He’s had a lot of ’em. That old GMC Jimmy you see in back? Still runs. He don’t drive it much now so he tied the hood up. Stops mice from nesting in the fuel lines and keeps the wind from ripping it off. I used to drive it back in 1994, and it was a wreck then. You couldn’t push the key all the way in and you couldn’t ever take the key all the way out. It had a sweet spot less than the proverbial C hair thick. The bench seat was so wore out the junk mail got tossed in to pad your ass from the exposed springs. One of the dirtiest, dustiest trucks I’ve ever operated. But we were hauling horse manure in it, so it kinda made sense.

The Jimmy was Rus’ whole philosophy sitting right there on six wheels. He didn’t believe in fixing anything but the parts critical to making money. By that I mean would it fire up and come to a stop if you held down the brake long enough? Then let’s go to work.

I’ve never had much interest in working on cars. I just want to drive them fast and drunk. Still, even in sober moments I couldn’t for the life of me understand his shade tree methods. As I say, I didn’t know a lot about mechanics, but I could tell it would’ve been easier to replace the alternator rather than have an extension cord come from a generator in the back over the roof and snake under the hood to power a battery charger which in turn kept the battery juiced up.

“I’m not making any money shopping at the junkyard,” he’d tell me. “I’ll take care of it some rainy day when there’s no work.”

It was August and the rain wasn’t due for three more months. So that’s how it went. We’d drive to some horse corral and while he got the skid-steer from off’n the trailer I’d lift the generator out of the bed and rest it on the roof. Once the manure bin was empty and the Jimmy was riding low with half a ton of horse shit I’d climb back up there and lower the generator into the crap. It was simple. We were making money, not spending it.

That was as philosophical as he got.

5 Comments

  1. OH you mean like when i gave you ‘driving lessons’ and we rolled, i think it was the subaru , three times off skyline and then got more drunk up there at the bar across from alice’s restaurant? Didn’t we get a ride home from chick you ended up sleeping with? Good times good times.

    Comment by al — June 25, 2008 @ 3:20 am

  2. That sounds familiar. Ever notice the liar in that word? That’s how I remember how to spell it.
    That night is exactly what I’m talking about. We were so drunk crashing a rolling car into a redwood tree didn’t hurt us. It sobered us up, which we handled by hitting a bar. I didn’t sleep with the woman, she kicked us out of her car somewhere near Robert’s. I forget what I said.
    If no one else could get hurt I’d drive drunk all the time. I guess I’m mature now. I sacrifice my pleasure for other’s safety.

    Comment by Rolston — June 25, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

  3. How’s your knee by the way?

    Comment by Rolston — June 25, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  4. It hurts on rainy days. What liar are you referring to?

    Comment by al — June 26, 2008 @ 4:58 am

  5. the one in familiar. whenever i write that word i get suspicious of myself because i say to myself, “fami-liar” and I wonder if what I’m about to say isn’t true. It was a weird internal conversation I wrote down.
    I didn’t want to believe you hurt your knee because it seemed like a perfect accident otherwise. That’s the problem with drunk driving, it’s rarely the driver that gets hurt.
    here’s to dry climates and good health Al!

    Comment by Rolston — June 26, 2008 @ 9:01 am

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