This is an addition to my FlashFriday #2 “Food Chain” so if you haven’t read it yet, do so.
Clean Living Through Death
Transcript of an interview with Billy Perkins of Perkin’s Kleen-Time Trash SVC
Billy: Guess you want to know why I’m doin this job? Why I stay at it even though I don’t have to? Well, Daddy told me a long time ago, back when he was drivin for BFW (big fucking waste is what he called it) he said, “Boy, as long as there’s people you’ll always have a job,” and damned if he wasn’t right. Well, right up until six months ago when they reorganized and let me go. Twenty-five years on the job and POOF, it all disappears so some big wig can get a bonus or some damn thing.
I was a might upset about it, you betcha, but not for long. All this happened not long after.
Billy: What’s that? How did I? Right. You know, this would have been a sight easier if they’d sent out a talker.
Anyway, well I was in the basement of my house when I heard ‘em comin’. Looked like an army so they did. I had the guns loaded and was lookin’ up the stairs at the door, just a waitin’ y’see, when my damned old heart just kinda skipped. Felt just like someone threw a wrench in the gears. I struggled for air, but couldn’t get any. When I fell, I landed on the gun. Damn thing blew off my first two fingers. I felt the pain but it didn’t seem to matter. I looked at ‘em, saw ‘em missin’ and just kinda gave up. By that time, my chest felt like one of them wrastlers was standin’ on it.
Next thing I know, I’m standing up. And I know I’m dead ‘cause I ain’t felt so good in a coons age. Felt fine as paint, fingers didn’t hurt or nothin’, and the cravin’ for the drink was gone too.
Billy: Just give me your question list, and quit looking at me like that.
*a long pause*
Billy: You want to know how I met Alex. Well, I gotta say, he’s a hell of a guy. Entrepreneurial spirit and all. Plus, he gives back. You can always tell the good ones, they give back more than they take.
By the time I’d found him and all the shootin’ had stopped I’d been runnin’ my old route a week or so. Alex came to see me. Just waltzed right in and shook my hand. Didn’t even frown on account of my missin fingers t’all.
He reckoned as to how it might help business to clean up the place, and as to how he didn’t like the way the town was goin to seed. Needed a good man so he did, and I sat right here where I am, looked him right in his eye and said I was the man for the job. Told him I knew just where to start, I did too.
I guess you could call it a match made in … oh nevermind. It was a good deal for both of us.
Most of y’all, and yes I’m including you on account you won’t give over that damn moanin’, most of y’all ain’t so smart. Yun’s would starve outside an open pantry if not for us.
I told you to quit with the damn moanin’, and that’s your last warning you big dumb cow. I hear it again and I’m gonna deliver the tape to that writer dude down at the paper myself. Then I’ll just take you down to Alex, see if he can’t find some good parts left on ya. Dammit, now where was I?
Oh yea, so we struck it off well. I guess ‘cause we both had our minds and a spirit to make something better. I’m sure it didn’t hurt, me bringing that old tub of shit Tom Mahoney. Brought in a full house ol’ Tom did. Might have been the first good thing he ever did for anyone.
I knew old Tom wouldn’t be armed, him bein’ one of them bleedin’ heart types by politic, and a razor mouthed prissy boy by nature. Nevertheless, I took a few of the Stalkers with me just in case. Were you there?
Billy: Ahh goddammit, you’re about fuckin’ useless.
Anyhow, I pulled up right in his yard just as easy as you please, and never you mind about his big ass gate that was supposed to keep me out. I drive a damn garbage truck. Gate fell over like so many dominoes.
Well I no more than get the truck stopped and he’s running out the house, waving his arms, cryin “Oh Jesus” and “thank God” and a bunch of other shit. By this time, the others had heard him. I had them in the back of the truck, and they start climbing out; all the while doin’ their moaning trick you fucksticks never seem to finish with. I did what I had to. He looks at me kinda funny, and I just tell him “Quick get in the truck,” and I throw the door open. I waited for him to question me, seeing as how he used to be my boss, but see he was kinda in a pickle; didn’t know what to do but stayin’ put sure wasn’t an option so he jumped in. I run around like I’m scared, pop up into the cab, and start her up. By the time I get goin’, I got one hanging off each side lookin’ in. Tom of course is screaming, “Get it off, Get it off, “ so I clip a telephone pole and knock off the stowaway on his side then just open the door and push the one off on my side.
It takes all my skill getting’ that truck turned around in his yard. When I do, the rest that came with me are standing in the yard between us and the gate. Well, I was tired of seeing Tom glance at me from the corner of his eye, so I decided to put on a show. I plowed right on through those Stalkers. One of ‘em I noticed used to be my schoolteacher. I remember she told me I’d never amount to anything if I didn’t get my head out the clouds. I guess it goes to show life’s not all about how good you are but how hard you try. Guess that goes for death too.
Now I told you I had twenty-five years drivin before I’s let go, but did I tell ya old Tom was the one who let me go? Yep, he sure was. He owned BFW. Told me straight up the workforce had too much experience and cost too much to maintain. I saw the old cocksucker no more than a week later at Ol’ Paul’s fillin’ station. He was putting gas in a brand new pick-up truck. Damn thing still had the temp tags on it. That’s how I knowed he’d been lyin the whole time.
Now, I thought about taking him out someplace real quiet where we could discuss things like how it would feel when I bit down on his junk, but Alex had told me to keep an eye out and I’d told him I would. If a man can’t keep his word, what good is he? I thought old Tom would be just what he’d been looking for. So I pull up out front of the restaurant and a few seconds later Alex comes runnin’ out. His hair is all jumbled on his head and his apron is covered in gore, but he’s waving like a boy come to see his granddad.
Tom’s lookin at me and sayin’ how he’s so thankful for me and such and I just clap him upside the head and tell him to get out. He won’t though, won’t even budge. So I tell him how some of us can still think, how we’re okay, and this is the only safe place left in town. Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, successful types are sometimes lucky and sometimes smart, but rarely both. Tom was one of the lucky ones.
He looked at me , then down at Alex, who was grinning just about to split. I guess he figured he had no choice. We got him inside and I saw Alex had been a busy little boy. He’d bolted an old dog cage, one of those chain link jobs, to the floor. Weren’t no one gonna move that thing.
We threw Tom inside; him cussin’, screamin’, and making promises of money that weren’t worth no more than the napkins Alex had behind the counter. He kept on though, least-a-ways until the first customers started comin in. Then he got real quiet, like he thought if he did they wouldn’t see him. They did though, did they ever. A couple came right up close and shook the cage. Old Rhino set ‘em right though.
Billy: Rhino? Well he showed up a couple days after I met Alex. We call him Rhino on account he’s huge and has this big, broke nose. He don’t remember how it happened and he ain’t all that bright but he can speak a little and he’s good for the enforcer type stuff.
Alex now, he’s a natural. Really knew how to work the crowd. Not sure where he got it but he found himself one of those cattle prods. I thought he was gonna use it on the stalkers that got too close to the cage. Boy did I feel dumb when he started poppin’ ol’ Tom.
Whooo, that boy can scream. I tell ya, he sounded like a little girl who’d found spiders in her panties. About the time he’d stop, Alex would pop him again, and each time another few patrons would stagger in.
By the time his voice went, Ol’ Tom had filled the place up, standing room only as they used to say. Alex now, he sees he’s gotten all he can outta poor Tom, ( damned if I wasn’t beginning to feel sorry for him), he hops right up in front of the cage and yells out above the moans. They all quiet right down. Some of ‘em I don’t think had ever seen a talker, least-a-ways not up close. He had their attention all right, him holding up a piece of meat and telling ‘em there’s plenty to go ‘round. “But,” he says, smooth as ever, “I’m going to need more tomorrow.” Tells ‘em all he’ll fix ‘em right up, “Just bring them in alive,” he says.
He jumps down then, grabs a big ol’ machete he’d showed me earlier before the crowd really started pourin in, and gives me a nod. I come over straight away ‘cause I know what’s gonna happen. Quick as you please, he’s inside that cage and hacking away at ol’ Tom’s leg. Poor Tom didn’t have much fight left but he gave what he could. Well, after Alex gets the leg off there’s blood shootin’ everywhere. I step past Alex and hold the iron to the stump just like he told me. Worked like a charm so it did.
There’s smoke and the smell of burnin’ meat. I damn near went at him myself, standin’ there, smellin’ that. I saw the whole place was goin’ crazy and jumped outta there. I barely got the gate locked, probably wouldn’t have if not for Rhino. Rhino looked like he was having fun with the whole thing.
Billy: Alex? Humph, that boy was in a zone. He had that meat chopped, seasoned and browned before I even got back to the kitchen. He pulls a piece from the platter, hands it to me, and then pushes the whole platter in my hands. I’m here to tell you, it was the best damned cookin’ I ever did have. I spent the rest of the night with that platter walking around the room handing out samples. I don’t think that ear to ear grin ever left Alex’s face, as if the moans of pleasure were music to his ears. No one went without at least a taste that night. And now, well Alex has more meat than he knows what to do with. Hell I had to go out in the junkyard and scavenge up some chain link to build more cages out back. The stalkers just keep bringin’ ‘em in. The really nice thing is we can feel good about it. We don’t waste like we used to. Alex finds a use for just about all the parts.
I still like driving the truck and cleanin’ up where I think it needs it, but I don’t miss the piles of trash or the sad smell of meat gone to spoil. It’s funny; I’m a healthier man dead than I ever was alive. I don’t need the drink or the smoke and I eat healthier than ever. If only that old Doc Watson could see me now. Speakin of which I wonder if he’s out there somewhere, hidin’ maybe out by his Pa’s farm, might just have to take the truck for a look.
Yep, it’s a brave new world, but we’re doin’ just fine.