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Telephone Funeral
I'm on my phone, it's about to die. This I quote of another while waiting one hour inside the vehicle. The clock up above and down the road doesn't have its numbers straight but it works well enough six minutes slow. Convenient and free NYC parking for a four day stretch is worth the wait. What else I got to do, peel potatoes? I will get to the potatoes in due time. I'm reading the newspaper. I see someone I know but I don't call out. What would I say? Some day soon I will kick your limey ass at ping pong? It's ridiculous. I'm not saying it. I will have that trophy back soon enough, one way or another. I'm not stewing in my juices, I'm just saying. How am I supposed to read with all this passing impartation audible through the cracked window? And then a man turns his head sideways so I can well see he's not a junkie or a crackpot and asks me if I'm doing what he thinks I'm doing. He wants to do the same thing and I tell him go ahead. He loiters around for awhile with a dog that won't hunt. He can't wait on that clock though. He wanders off ahead of time. I expect it will all work out for him. His dog however, will not hunt. Didn't Saudi Arabia build the biggest super computer? You know they jumped this nigger yeah. They are, they showing you what you get. My neighbor got a dog, he biting people. You are the one that's swinging that shit like. You have balls. I'm on my phone, it's about to die.
- jimlouis 11-26-2008 11:14 pm [link]
Unless The Electricity Goes Out
I woke up. It was sunny. It was North Carolina. There was snow on the ground. I made coffee. I ate chocolate chip cookies. I put the cat out. I said, go play in the snow. I looked out later and the snow was melted. The cat was under the car. I opened the door. I said, come on in. She did. She bites me. She thinks it means she loves me. I got heat throughout the house finally. It comes through floor vents. I can unplug the space heater. I started sanding the outside of the house yesterday. I like the way it looks. I wore a bandanna over my face. It was really a blue T-shirt. It kept away the lead based paint. Lead causes brain damage. Makes you speak in short clipped sentences. I made that up. I finished a good book. I started a good book. It had too many words and hurt my brain. I haven't given up on it though. In the meantime. In the meantime, so I don't forget how, to read, I bought another book. It is very simple. I am reading it. I have some frozen food. It comes in boxes. On front there are pictures. The food inside looks like the pictures. I am doing ok.
- jimlouis 11-21-2008 4:42 pm [link]
Epic Debris, Not A Narrative Poem
Two days ago in the rain I told the guys who were hauling off the last of 14 years worth of renter's garbage that if it was burnable they could just leave it, and that's what they did. The result being that when they drove off there was still a sizable ugly pile in the yard. It was anti-climatic, this ending to the story of epic debris.

I couldn't stand looking at it so yesterday I went out and started another fire, despite the gusting 25 mph wind and the thick carpet of leaves leading right up to the burn pile. The ground was still wet from three days of light rain. I had some dry wood set aside and I used it to get a good blaze going. Then I fed into the fire all manner of thrown away renter's crap, some of which I had actually excavated from shallow graves on the property. There is always a bit of archaeology involved with thorough clean up jobs and what I learned digging around the property is that my old buddy Randy is a damn pig, or at least he was while living here.

And I guess I am a pig-loving slacker for letting it go on as long as I did.

While I was renovating properties in New Orleans, for fun and profit and with varying degrees of success, and caretaking a property in Virginia, Randy and his wife were here in North Carolina, buying and discarding, buying and discarding. But most of the discard never left the property. I had suspected over all those years of missing so many rent payments that they were having employment problems but I learned a few months ago, in my two brief meetings with them, that they have both been consistently employed for at least the last eight years. I suppose after 14 years of negligence these months of part time renovating are not so harsh a punishment. And perhaps even a valuable learning experience. If the husband says but we are paying rent and the wife says please don't tell hubby I'm missing rent because he beats me, realize at the very least that your idea of acting as your own property manager was a bad one.

As slow as it's going out here in NC at least now the 7 cars are gone, and the two boats (one of them was full of empty beer cans) and the swing set, the three TVs, 5 transistor radios, 2 vacuum cleaners, 21 tires, 100 paint buckets, 2000 cans and 400 bottles, 2 life rafts, the rotted drop cloths, the faded and cracked assortment of fisher price toys, two chicken coops, one sprawling dog pen, various piles of rotting wood, the outdated and stained couches and chairs and foam cushions for twice as many more, the refrigerator/freezer, the broken arc welder, the piles of aluminum gutter, and spare drive shafts, alternators, starters, and rolls of reupholstering fabric, mini-blinds, bed frames, chicken wire, 25 wooden pallets, 3 truck toolboxes, 2 riding lawn mowers, 1 weedeater, 3 lawn mower bags, 1 turbine fan, and the minutiae spread about everywhere, in the basement and in the house and all over the 2 plus acres were bottle caps and spent shotgun shells and scraps of paper and plastic and tiny toys, and rusted and rotting lawn furniture and ice trays, both plastic and old school aluminum half buried out in the woods along with tangled coils of insulated copper wire and metal roofing and more sad neglected toys and rolls of carpet and sheets of vinyl flooring, a dozen dry rotted fishing poles, a camper shell, and a truck bed used for burning garbage. Have I left anything out? Oh for sure, but you get the idea.

I got a good deal on having a 45 foot sprawling maple tree cut down in the front yard, the roots of which are choking the septic system. For 200 dollars a guy dropped it and then my neighbor took most of the wood. I dragged off the branches and made a pile and cut into logs another small truck bed's worth of wood. I burned three quarters of the brush pile yesterday after burning the last of the garbage and before developing minor back cramps. The guy that dropped the tree for me left a rather large stump, one about eight feet tall. Randy had put so many nails in the bottom of the trunk, as part of his property-wide dog hot-wire system, that the guy had not wanted to ruin a good chain on it, and I don't blame him that.

It was warm yesterday and I had the bedroom window open so the cat could come and go. She used to come and go through the floor vent of the still disconnected heating system but she has put on some winter weight and doesn't seem to fit as well. A bunch of flies came in through the window, whether born of maggots from excrement or those squirming in the offal of a nearby butchered deer, I don't know. But a good many came in yesterday and I was amused when the cat would leap in the air and catch one and then eat it. She tired of that though and today she hasn't done a damn thing and really, neither have I, except for trying to finish the Russo novel that's been following me around for a month and later working up the nerve to listen to the Saints just barely beat a one and eight team. But a minute ago I put her outside and closed the window because I don't like to see anyone as lazy as I am when I am intent on being as lazy as I am. When I was feeling more fond of the cat, like yesterday when she was being cute killing flies, I had entertained the notion that I might find for her a little King Kong costume and also that I might make a paper mache Empire State Building for her cling to while she swatted flies. But now, to me anyway, that idea seems patently absurd.
- jimlouis 11-16-2008 10:36 pm [link]
Thunder Is Again Possible
A white cat crossed my path the other day. I wasn't sure whether I was supposed to take meaning from the cat's crossing or just see it for what it actually was--a white furry animal moving from one place to another and in the process just so happening to bisect the path I was on. While I remember being grateful, for whatever illogical reason, that it wasn't a black cat, my emotional state was not especially buoyed by the fact of the cat's whiteness.

Like a parrot who has learned the words, "here kitty, kitty," that young deer I saw out in these Fence Post woods a few weeks ago cannot be long for this world. Johnny Woodman told me, "I ran into your deer the other day, it just walked right up on me and the boy." Johnny said he wouldn't kill it because there's not enough meat on it yet but it seems unlikely a deer so attracted to humans will survive the hunting season.

I was this morning checking on the future of local weather and a phrase on a weather web page caught my eye. It was this one--a rumble of thunder is again possible. Which reminds me of those permanent weather reminders I have seen on highway signs out west that say--high winds may exist. As for the first statement I am gladdened and saddened at the same time. Glad because I would enjoy hearing some thunder, glad that there is a chance of some more thunder, but sad because I didn't hear the first round of thunder which is implied in the two words--again possible. As for that second weather alert, that one on signs out west, let me tell you something--high winds DO exist. I mean, is there any serious debate about this? Is there out there some organized group of people who seriously doubt the existence of high winds? And if so I would like to meet them, and find out what other obvious things they are skeptical of.

Okay then, I just ate the last of the Pringles potato chips and am now officially without food, unless you count the expired eggs, the moldy bread, the wilted lettuce, that unrecognizable piece of produce that dates back to Bernadette's last visit out here (in the summer of 1984), or those two slices of pizza from the local joint, which I am now, after three different two slice servings over two days, very disappointed with. There is half a frozen pizza in the freezer but it has freezer burn. This I am deducing because the first half did, and is further discounted as a real food option because that first time around it caused me severe abdominal discomfort. I have some raisin bran cereal and enough uncurdled milk to have a bowl of that but really I am in the mood for something more rib sticking, so it is becoming more obvious with every hunger pang that I am going to have to drive into town, lunch at some less than ideal establishment, and then maybe do some grocery shopping. Sure I could drive the few extra miles into Durham or Chapel Hill, or even Hillsboro, and find a greater selection of food choices but then I would have to meet all those places halfway and shave and shower and change out of these grubby work clothes.

It's not that I don't recognize me in the mirror its just that it is not a me I want to parade around, to the world at large. Which brings me back to the nearer town, in which I don't feel all that out of place appearing at less than my best, such as that ever is. Oh, picture me now hovering over the glass sneeze protectors at the all you can eat buffet.
- jimlouis 11-14-2008 3:51 pm [link]
Yeh, I'm Awake
If you don't lock your door out here in Fence Post it is not unheard of that someone will turn the knob and poke their head in the door at 7:30 in the morning and give a holler.

Instead of paying 700 dollars for a dumpster to handle the remaining junk out here, that junk which will not burn or qualify as redeemable metal, I have hired Bruce and Pizza to haul it to the local landfill for me.

I had slept in most of my clothes but I put on a hoodie and my boots before exiting the one heated room in the house and heading out into the frosty morning.

The two of them were roaming around under the carport at 7:30 in the morning not apparently daunted by my ignoring of their phone call last night. I was in the middle of Star Trek, season 1, episode 1, last night when the phone rang. I had left it somewhere in the cold part of the house. And I was in this one little room heated with a 25 dollar space heater with Spock and Jim and Bones and one half of a pain killer and one shot of Herradura and two shots of Glenfiddich and I just didn't see myself going into the cold zone.

Hey guys, I said.

You was passed out in there? Pizza said, whether asking or stating as matter of fact I'm not sure because I was distracted, gulping the cold air like a tropical fish swimming in ice water. I just said yes while pinning on the badge of heroic worker dude implicit in my responding so rapidly to their knocking and hollering.

But down to business I said, so how you guys wanna charge this? By the hour or by the job and Pizza spoke up and said well was you thinking like a hundred dollars? I paused and said, well actually it's worth 2oo to me and Pizza not missing the opportunity to hustle a soft touch said--a piece? I looked at him like the crazy man he was pretending to be because their really isn't that much crap left out here.


I think we were communicating in the same language and that we agreed on 200 for the whole job but now that I think about it I should probably double check that before they start hauling stuff away in the morning. Bruce said they could find someplace for all the paint buckets (50--75 of them) and the tires (15--20 of them). Those two things are really hard to get rid of so I am happy to be in business. They had hauled off the rest of my metal while I was gone and they did a really nice thorough job, including the extraction of a 500 gallon fuel oil tank from the basement. This they did for free in exchange for the value of the metal.

I got some guys hopefully installing central air and heat next week and I think while I got Bruce and Pizza I'm going to hire them to tear down that shed close to the house, the one inside of which the previous owner blew out his brains, some twenty odd years ago.
- jimlouis 11-12-2008 12:34 am [link]
Can I Get A Rim Shot?
The Englishman said to the bartender, that is why you will most likely remain a confirmed bachelor. The bartender had been waxing philosophically about those qualities a woman should possess to be in his eye the perfect mate. He had recently come to the conclusion that a new age grocery in his neighborhood had many of the same qualities he would like for his ideal mate to have. Her goods should be fresh, she should be convenient, she should be politically correct, she should offer a nice selection, and he went on to list a number of other things that arguably a good grocery store and good woman might have in common.

It wasn't until much later, riding in a cab near E.14th St, that passing the store in question I said, hey Bernadette, isn't that the grocery the bartender was talking about? She lifted her head from my shoulder and said yes it is, and went on to describe a few things about the place that might support the bartender's linking together of it with a good woman. It struck me then to ask Bernadette did she know whether or not this grocery offered a service which I do not remember the bartender listing but which I think should fit neatly on a list comparing women and grocery stores. Does the store, or woman, deliver? Can I get a rim shot? Okay, thank you. Thank you, no really, you're too kind, goodnight everybody. And don't forget, I'll be appearing weekdays, by the pool of the Adirondack Motor Lodge, just outside of town on Highway 17.
- jimlouis 11-07-2008 6:15 pm [link]