Monday, July 5, 2010
Excerpt from 'Core Values.'
After a long hot day in the sun, roasting on a roof at 30+ degrees Celsius, Chuck hit the button, and the windows of his medium-metallic blue minivan rolled down. The air conditioning wasn’t functioning, and he didn’t want to spend a hundred and eighty bucks for re-charging.
He could taste the flavour of a day’s work in his mouth as he drove. From that first cup of tea at five-thirty a.m., the Blim Blorton’s coffee, a large double-double on the ride to London; to the coffee out of the urn at his brother and sister in law’s place; and the pizza slices for lunch, and the doughnuts at nine a.m. and three-thirty p.m.. And a half a dozen doobies and thirty or so cigarettes. The taste of asphalt, the taste of insulation, the taste of blood, sweat and toil. The taste of grit. The smell of sweat wasn’t overly discernable, but the feel of dried sweat, the damp and tacky feel of the shirt in the armpits and chest areas was a reminder.
His nose was full of crust anyway, by the end of the day, and probably not working too well.
This time of year, there might be frost on the roof first thing in the morning. On bare plywood, it was very slippery. But you wore long johns, double socks, four or five shirts and sweaters. You warmed up pretty quick. Later, when the sun came out, if you were in a valley oriented to the sun, it got real hot in a hurry.
Sometimes you would peel off a few layers. Sometimes he brought his shorts and changed in the truck. To be too hot was just plain tiring. Bru absolutely despised the tickle of a ball of sweat, as it hung on the end of his nose, wobbling back and forth as he tried to do something.
Such was the lot of a roofer. Yet he liked it well enough. He sucked a bit on a skinned knuckle. That one would heal just fine. When the edges sealed up and began to heal, you had to make sure to let the pus out once in a while. Basically just lift up the edge of the scab with the tip of a clean pocketknife and push out the pus.
Cruising out of London’s north end on his way home, he used the cell phone to make a call. He felt like a good son, although he hated talking on the phone in traffic. After thirty rings or so; as he held on and gritted his teeth; finally the old man answered. Bru glanced at the dash clock as he greeted his father.
“I figure I’ll be home by about six or six-thirty,” Bru reported.
The elder Brubaker hemmed and hawed and said that was all right, and he would ‘wait until you get here before I start cooking…’
Spaghetti night, Bru recalled.
Fuck, why not start now?
But he kept silent.
Photo: Wiki. Author: vfu