HEMLOCK, RUSTED

"Ten weeks’ work if I keep showing up. Sure enough eight. Another whole damn mall. Make a better golf course, you get the scrub off it. More bumps than the Ladies’ League. Brush in there so you can't see the top of the rod.

"Ever do surveying? You’re a damn sight better off this time of year. Like a swamp in there. Location licked one developer. Had it platted for houses. There's even a streetcorner sign. Hemlock Street.

"I guess Jerri thinks they got it all paved. What's your problem? she says, this time buy your own damn boots! Knows I won't see a paycheck ‘til November. Fat chance me getting that big an advance.

"Sign’s a joke. All by itself and some dotted lines on the quarter section map. Nothing there but bushes.

"I thought Jerri was different. They want you while they figure there's something in it. Then you' re just another drunk.

"She can peddle her little ass somewhere else. Nobody wants a forty year old woman. I told her that sign's in better shape than what she is.

"Little bent is all, and rusty. It was gonna be someplace. Never happened. Nobody put up a house. Nobody mowed the grass or went to school. Never bad what it took to be a street.

"Makes you wonder what went wrong."


© 1993 by Richard Patrick Gibbons


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