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Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

September 3, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was a garage made of unpainted concrete blocks. The foreman stood there with a clipboard. He was a little, good-looking man– probably chased a lot of tail. Probably caught a lot of it.

He pointed to the dishwasher. “Show me how to hook that up,” he said.

I walked around to the back of the machine. Drain lines and wires hung carelessly out the back. I had never owned a dishwasher, certainly never looked at the back of one.

“You hook up the lines there and then you hook up the wires,” I said feebly.

He thought about that and made a mark on the clipboard.

“Very good, Mr. Oates,” he said. “That was the correct answer!”

I couldn’t figure on any of it.

They gave me a tan jumpsuit and put me on a truck that day. There was a patch on the breast. It said “MR. OATS”. I didn’t correct it none.

Barn was the driver. He was trying to eat an ear of corn, trying to steer and shift at the same time. It was all hell ridiculous.

We stopped at an intersection in a suburban neighborhood. “Here’s where you get out,” Barn said. He spit some corn out the window. “You got these addresses.” He handed me a typed sheet of paper. “I’ll meet you over at Pondicherry Park on about five. There’s an area of the park where the land starts to shift gently upwards and then drops off into a series of hills and dells. I’ll be on in there somewheres.”

I didn’t say anything. Who knew what the hell to say? There was no merit to any of it.

I rang the bell of the first place. Little brick rancher, well-tended. There was a sprinkler on the lawn flying around erratically. Water was spraying all over the place. Some pinwheels in the garden spun in the wind.

It was a brunette that answered. She was wearing a little sleeveless number. There was a pin over her ample breast. It was a bear playing with some balloons.

“Do you like my pin?” she asked. She was a little coquette– there was no damned doubt on that one.

“I don’t understand it,” I said.

“Oh.” There was a pause. “Well, the dishwashing machine is in the kitchen.” She seemed disappointed.

“It won’t rinse,” she said. “It idles for a long time as though it’s waiting for…something to happen. You know what that’s like, when you’re…just waiting? Waiting all the time?”

I took her right there. Right on the dishwasher. Later, it was the staircase and then back down to the dishwasher and then upstairs in bed.

We were lying there. “You’re not like my husband,” she said. “He has an advanced degree in economics.”

“Yeah? Fuck that shit,” I said. I was getting a little cocky, I admit to it.

“You’re so…coarse,” she said. She leaned towards me and I got another good look at the cans. They were round and full. It was something.

“I guess the only economics we’re gonna’ need to worry about is how much it’s gonna’ cost to dry clean that blouse of yours.”

“I guess,” she said. “Though that isn’t the cleverest comeback I’ve ever heard.”

“Skip it.”

It was getting on towards five. Ol’ Barn would be standing around in those hills and dells, wondering where the hell Oats was. I didn’t even know where the park was– couldn’t even have guessed on the name of the town.

“Did you still want me to fix the dishwasher?” I asked. I started putting the jumpsuit back on. She tore the comforter off the bed and shoved it into a hamper. We had really worked the damn thing over.

“Can you come back?” she asked. She pulled her panties slowly up her legs. It was excruciating.

“I don’t know.” I thought about going back to the concrete garage. Thought about all the angry calls that had probably come in. I pictured the little foreman wandering around in a sedan, looking for Oats.

“I may have to keep going,” I said finally.

“Well, then…” she said. She was getting bent out of shape about it. “You can go out the back door. The kitchen door. Servicemen go out the kitchen door.” She stormed out. I didn’t see her again.

I walked across the yard and through some hedges and into another backyard. A guy was back there cooking a big ham over a grill. There were pinwheels all over his garden too. Who knew what to make of it?

“Hey! This is a private yard!” he whined.

“Work on your big ham, Joe, I’m leaving.”

He had some beers on a picnic table. I nicked one on the way out.

Then, I kept walking.

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