One night Gary asked me if I wanted to smoke. I said “Sure,” so he brought me downstairs and I sat on the couch next to a box of Fruit Loops and a girly magazine and he pulled off a couple cigarettes from his long roll, which we lit. The smoke drifted up through the ventilation and tickled the nose of my wife because our house is not properly ventilated and it’s making her sick because he doesn’t put any thought into where he smokes.

He sat with his socks up on the coffee table and asked me what I thought then laughed. I took in the fresh smoke and my head relaxed and started to repeat three words in rapid succession, I don’t know what, and Gary told me about the two cars he is working on, the ones he has parked in our backyard.

He said “I’m taking the engine out of the Explorer and putting it in the Grand Am, I should be done in about Two Weeks,” and I said Fine while alluding to the fact that many men would only talk about that and “It’s good to see him actually doing it.” His face fell for reasons I only understood later because it’s been months and the cars are still there and the backyard is filled with His Things and I’ve started to look at him like he’s an irritating bug and my wife and I look out at him out of our windows and laugh because he’s ruining our life.


  1. Gary is real and I think he came from a Hard Place, like a crack in the breast of a woman tempered by alcohol and born of grease and stone.

  2. He’s been there (the basement) since we moved in. But when we moved in he worked in far off places for weeks at a time, doing rigging.

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