Photo by Dale Rogerson
Sher’f come by and tell me we got another maybe gone missing in the bog, asks if the county can rent my fanboat again. I tell him I got fishing planned. I always tell him that. Drives up the price.
This time it must be somebody important because he pays my price right off, no dickering. I go to the boathouse and pull her out. Sher’f and his man bring the poles and chain like always.
There’s this little girl, too. She’s trying not to cry, holding herself together. I don’t ask her name, just give her a life jacket.
“There you go. Get on it.”
“You know why I can’t stay, Joey. I couldn’t face them. Not any of them.”
“So you said.”
“I need you to understand. It ain’t about you.”
“Yeah, I get it. It ain’t about me.”
“Well, it ain’t.”
“Sue Ann, why you drawing this out like this? You asked me for a ride and I give you one. So go on. There’s your bus. Go.”
“I just don’t want you to feel like…”
“Like what? Like it’s my fault? Whose fault is it then, Sue Ann? Tell me that.”
“Mine. Or nobody’s, I guess.”
“So how does this work, exactly?”
She shifted on the seat. “Are you fucking serious?”
“I just never did anything like this before. Do I pay you first?”
“You never saw this on TV or nothin’? Shit. Yes, you pay me first. Fifty for the hand, seventy-five for the mouth,a hundred to put it in me.”
“You mean here in the car?”
“Yes in the car. Where’d you fucking think? Out in the parking lot?”
“Okay, okay. You don’t need to be mean. And no, by the way.”
“No, I never saw it on TV. We didn’t have TV.”
Sure, blame me. I done the safety check like I was supposed to. What am I going to say to the crew chief? That them chains look like they were used to yank stumps, all stretched out and bendy? You think he would have done anything but fire me on the spot?
Do I look like I can find a job that easy?
Look, the way Parker Amusements runs things, something like this was bound to happen. Ask anyone here. They’ll tell you the Zipper’s bolts are half rusted through, that the Tilt is falling apart.
But ask in private.