“Ok guys, another session of Hot or Trot. You first Andy,” said Matt.
“OK, give me a second …Gigi Hadid or Scarlet Johansen?”
“All blondes! I like it bro. Gigi obviously. She’s a sultry minx,” said Matt.
“I agree,” said Hector. Matt didn’t trust Hector. Matt didn’t know why yet. Hector knew why he didn’t like Matt.
“Ok Sally,” said Matt using the nickname for Hector he takes from the fact he Hector was born in El Salvador. Nobody else uses it. “Your turn.”
“Selma Hayek or Eiza Gonzalez?”
“Hector and his smokin hot Latinas. Cheers,” said Andy.
“Who the hell is Aisha Gonzalvez?” asked Matt.
“It’s Eiza Gonzalez, you uncultured hack.”
Without hesitating Matt launches an immature missile back at Hector, “You know what the problem with …”
“Hey, Isn’t that the new guy right there,” squints Andy.
“Across the street. The guy who just came out of the fast cash place.”
The three of them look across the street and drink from their pint glass.
“Yup,” said Matt. “That’s him. He’s the guy prancing around in those Carhart overalls he doesn’t need. There he goes into that coin laundry place. Bubbles.”
“Cute name,” says Hector.
“Hector. Since when the fuck did you say something was cute?” asked Andy.
Matt, Andy and Hector were enjoying Friday afternoon beers on a patio picnic table. Monday to Thursday they worked hardscaping projects 12-14 hour days so Friday Fields, the boss, could leave the city early to beat traffic getting to his cottage north of the city.
Though they make decent coin, they do not have cottage bound incomes so they find a friendly patio and flirt like idiots with the waitress: Andy loves her perfume, Hector her eyes and Matt her boobs; all of them mentally promising a huge tip so they earn her wink as they leave. Today they were happy bread to the toaster of 4:30 pm June sun. That Tom Cochrane tune was finishing.
“Jerry,” blurts Andy.
“Jerry? Quien chingados es Jerry?” asked Hector.
“That’s the name of the new guy.”
“My man Jerry. He’s alright,” says Matt, wanting to be drunk.
“Listen guys …” Andy grabs his phone and puts a twenty on the table.
“No bro, not again.”
“Gotta go guys,” said Andy.
“But we just ordered our second pitcher.”
“I’d love to, but duty calls”
“Ya I know. I get that call all the time and I just send it to voicemail. Deal with it when I get home.”
“Not this time …,” hesitates Andy in a way that disarms all their ridicule.
“Whatever bro,” said Matt. “See ya Monday.”
Fridays are for grabbing a beer on a patio so, instead of driving to work, Andy rides the bus in the morning. Post patio Andy loves looking out the window at the scenery from the back of the Uber and disconnecting.
As the Uber waits at the light, Andy sees Jerry, the new guy coming out of the coin laundry, walking past the fast Cash place and going into the 2 for 1 pizza place. It’s pretty good pizza. But all they do is cut a regular piece into two pieces. Voilà: 2 for the price of 1!
Monday morning they couldn’t find the key to the Bobcat.
“Who the fuck has the key to the fuckin Bobcat?”
“Try Fab fuckin Fields.”
“He probably took the key Friday because he feared in a neighbourhood of homes averaging $4 million someone would steal his heavy machinery over the weekend just for kicks.”
“If he arrives and we haven’t done jack shit he’s gonna fuckin lose it.”
“Mother fucker. Start offloading the interlock up to the top of the driveway.” Fields was on his way. Driving south from cottage country he saw the calls on his Bluetooth but didn’t answer on purpose.
Using the wheelbarrow they were getting it done as if they had all just converted to being Amish. Having pulled back a bit the chiffon floor to ceiling curtains in the living room, Mrs Moosavi was observing the chaos outside her home.
“Mother fucker! Start offloading the interlock up to the top of the driveway.”
“Fuckin fields does this on purpose to reduce us to fuckin manual labour so he can justify not paying us more. He is the master of ‘an accident – on purpose’.”
“It’s brilliant and sociopathic.”
“You think that is an exaggeration but you have to see that he sets himself up to be the hero.”
“Relax. All I know is my paycheck arrives on time every two weeks. Baboom.”
Seeing that the two summer hires were setting the lines and had a handle on the task at hand Hector leaned on his rake.
“Andy, hermano, how’s your wife?” Hector loves strategically dropping Spanish into his conversation.
“What? Oh Ya she’s doin alright. Thanks for asking.”
Hector was fishing for gossip because Andy didn’t usually offer up to much info about his family like the other guys did.
Andy hesitated “My wife has serious menstrual cramps. They just knock her right out. So I can’t just sit there Friday afternoon at a bar drinkin beer while she has to get up and feed the kids dinner and keep them from destroying the place.”
“Wow. That’s brutal.”
“For her, ya. But Xochi must have to deal with that too,” said Andy.
“Ya. She and her sister, apparently their cycles are synched or something so they just talk on the phone. I bring home chocolate and ice cream and she seems to get through it.”
“Hey guys, did you need anything?” asked Jerry encroaching on the supervisor bubble.
“Ya. A medium double double and a French cruller,” said Hector.
“Ignore that ridiculous, brown gnome,” said Andy.
“Thank you brother Andy. Now. Jerry, when the Guiness Book of World Records comes searching for the smallest Canadian penis in the history of Canadian penises – you just point them in Andy’s direction, will ya?” said Hector.
“Jerry-rig it for the moment brother.”
Not a chance! Get the fuckin come-along,” said Matt.
They needed to hold the 40 foot white pine back at the side of the house to get the Bobcat into the backyard so they could resurface the pool area. Since the client couldn’t peek out from the window to see what they were doing two of the crew said fuck it just yank on the tree and if it returns to its original position great; if not then Fields and his insurance can deal with it and yell at him later.
The three including Matt said no. Either they said no because it was a lazy solution to a small problem. Or they simply feared Fields’ rath once the customer complains.
“What he meant was to get Jerry to hold it. He’s standing right behind you.”
“Ok Jerry. If you’re the arborist in the family, what do you think?”
“I can make it happen. We just need a couple boards and the hand saw and we will wedge the space open. Also the ten foot ladder,” said Jerry.
“Ok, Jerry. Make it happen. We’re gonna take lunch and need this ready when we come back. Capiche?” said Matt who today was driving the Bobcat.
Driving to Tim Horton’s with nouveau riche mansions on either side there was a Filipino nanny wheeling a stroller and walking a schnauzer. In this neighbourhood because nobody who actually owned a house walked on the street there were no sidewalks. So the babies and their nanny’s walk in traffic.
“You know my neighbour got a ticket for not pickin up his dog’s shit”
“My neighbour was telling me he got a fine for not putting his dog on a leash. Then he went on this rant saying that he was going to submit a proposal to Elon Musk.” Matt told the story:
“You know what Elon Musk should do. He should program his Nueralink chip to…
What is the fuck is a Neurolink chip my other neighboour asks.
Neuralink. I corrected the guy. You haven’t heard of this? It’s another one of his big ideas to insert silicon chips into people’s heads to monitor their thoughts and help people with diseases like MS to be able to move because they think it, the first neighbours says.
So it can listen to your thoughts and do what you want. That sounds cool I said
Ya but the government is gonna want to listen to those thoughts too. You know it’s only a matter of time said another neighbour as we stood there watching our dogs play in the dog park. Anyway, back to my idea. Have the chip geo identify with your home and then have posts, kinda like charging stations, at various points, like in parks around your municipality that you have to get within say 3 metres of every so many days. Basically making you exercise – he says.” said Matt.
What if you have a broken leg – does the chip know that? And you can’t make it.
“No you have to go,” Matt whips out his sarcasm.
“Ya, even when the snow is 2 feet deep.”
“What’s the point?”
“He is saying, my neighbour, that why penalise the people who actually are out there with their dogs getting fresh air and exercise. Make the lazy twinkies get off their couches and take their beer belly for a walk to the park at least once a week.”
“And if they don’t?”
“And if they don’t then he says there is an automatic fine of like $15- 20 bucks,” said Matt.
“Holy shit!” and they all laugh like the time Hector told them he was thinking of importing exotic birds from El Salvador.
“Big Brother doesn’t need our help.”
“We need to shut your neighbour up!” said Hector.
“Shut im up or shut im down!”
“Ya he is a bit of a nut job,” said Matt
Jerry Rig is from the Short Story Series Tool by Kevin Mcnamara