Bob The Hauler
I got his number in the local community newspaper. My wife and I had finally broken down and bought a new television … one of those sleek flat screens. After stubbornly waiting for what seemed to be a lifetime … the old giant 32 incher just refused to give up the ghost … we gave in to modernity. And it was the ghosts on the 21-year-old boob tube’s picture that drove us to join the 21st Century.
Yvonne and I about gave ourselves hernias moving the monster across the living room (the thing must weigh 500 pounds) where it set for the good part of a fortnight. To make matters more complicated … besides having to walk around a 21 year old 500 lb. dinosaur … I had mistakenly assumed it would be “simple and easy” to connect the new TV to the cable box and our … uh … “classic” equipment. A man’s brain in a man’s body … sigh.
I could not.
So after hiring some quirky young geek gent to make things right with the new TV, et al, I called the number from the paper … a guy named Bob … Bob the hauler … and left a message on his voicemail.
A gruff, gravelly voice on my phone said, “You’re right in the neighborhood. I can be out tomorrow … take the old beast to recycle … fifty bucks!”
This sounded like a small price to pay for a monstrosity exorcism.
Bob knocked on my door a good 15 minutes early the next day. On my front porch stood a middle aged man of formidable size. Wearing blue jeans and a tight neon yellow tank top, he smiled and shook my hand until it almost hurt.
“Bob here”, his deep resonating growl explained while handing me his business card.
“I’m relieved to see you brought a dolly. This thing weighs a ton!” I replied cautiously.
“Move these all the time. Have it on my truck in no time!” he gently snarled reassuringly.
I took a look at his standard sized American pickup and wondered to myself if he was going to need my assistance … uh … LIFTING the 500-pound television into its bed.
And I shuddered at the thought.
In a matter of minutes Bob wheeled the old TV to the tailgate of his truck. But instead of hearing “Hey BUB! Can you give me a hand out here” in his now familiar growl … there was only silence.
Bob then unhooked the TV from his dolly … moved the dolly aside and … and … PICKED THE TELEVISION UP!
I could not believe my eye. (Only have one good one). He carefully set the big beast in the truck bed and slid it back.
I immediately remembered the time Hulk Hogan picked up Andre the Giant … threw him to the canvas … and pinned him at WrestleMania!
But this was no choreographed steel cage contest.
I walked up to Bob, handed him cash and quietly said, “Thanks again Bob. There’s a few extra bucks here for ya!”
He again shook my hand.
This time it hurt.
“Much obliged.” Bob the hauler gently growled.
And as he got into his pickup I heard him say something.
“What was that?” I yelled back at him.
“Oh that was me talkin’ to my sweet puppy!!” the gravelly voice quipped.
Bob jumped out the driver side door holding a tiny, fluffy white dog.
“Is that a BICHON?” I shouted gleefully.
“YUP! Bichon and Poodle! Ain’t she beautiful?” his gruff voice boasted.
“I have an almost 17 year old Bichon in the house!! He didn’t bark at you because he can’t hear so well anymore and you were only inside a few minutes.”
I scratched his tiny happy dog.
“The kids love to dress her up and she don’t mind at all!!”
He squeezed her endearingly to his cheek.
And with that the gruff, growling, gravel voiced middle-aged man of formidable size hopped into his truck with his little furry friend and drove off.
The Non Fiction Theater of the Truly Mundane
Scene: Around 1962 … in the kitchen of an old farmhouse. Rick’s mother … wearing a housedress and apron … is standing with her back to the audience center stage. She is at the sink washing and drying dishes. To her immediate right are a 1950s style refrigerator and a doorway leading into the dining and living rooms backstage. Stage left is a 50s style dinette table and chairs. Stage right is an aging gas stove/oven and a door leading to the basement. Television sounds waft into the kitchen, emanating from the living room. After a minute or two, the musical strains of sitcom “My Three Sons” closing theme song can be heard. A 10-year-old Ricky Brown happily wanders into the kitchen and faces his mom.
Ricky – Hey MOM!
Mom – (While continuing to concentrate on the dinner dishes) What is it Ricky?
Ricky – Mom … you have a nickname don’t you?
Mom – Yes. Gus … although I’m only fond of it because you gave it to me.
Ricky – I DID?
Mom – Your Uncle Mooney was trying to get you to say my maiden name. You were just a baby. “Gus” is what came out of your mouth.
Ricky – Oh. And dad’s called Uncle Snookie by my cousins right?
Mom – Yes. He only puts up with it from them. And don’t ask me how he got the name. I have no idea.
Ricky – I’d like a nickname. Why don’t you start calling me “Chip”?
Mom – “CHIP”? You’ve been watching too much television Ricky.
Ricky – But I like “Chip”!
Mom – (Laying her dish towel in the sink.) The kid on that show … his REAL name isn’t “Chip”!
Ricky – I LIKE “Chip”.
Rick’s mother becomes visibly flustered as she removes her apron, throws it on the sink, folds her arms across her chest and shifts her weight to one hip.
Mom – (Looking down at Ricky earnestly) Listen Ricky … when you’re 50 years old you’ll be GLAD no one ever called you “CHIP”!!
Mom – Her wise, dish washing self.
Ricky – His 10-year-old, naïve TV watching self.
Chip – His “SO glad that was only my stage name” self.
Around 3 AM
Around 3 AM in some
midnight of the soul
where distant sirens wail
like banshees at the door
and night burns into
colors like rust
beneath the flickering
vapors of sodium lights
that reduces the moon
to a tin shadow
made small against
the angles of mismatched
roofs until it fades into
the smog of yesterday's
last bad scene.
Hmmm # 95
You know you’re
your toenails feels
like a major
Hmmm # 96
The only way
is to not
Hmmm # 97
High school reunion:
Class of 1965
Class of 2012
Hmmm # 98
Truth is …
people really …
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Rick's New Book, Naked Sunfish ~ Caviar
is now available at:
book, Best Bites is available at:
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