#11 – Field Work 2

The townies came back down through the wild whippy grassblades, and further off yes, the same unknowns from yesterday showed up down the slope twixt the curb and the scrub brush, one kneeling kneading fast into some dark shadowy ground level workblur, his hands moving grasping and pressing all busy, while the same fully upright other stood near still and watching. Seeing the two there again, the townies stopped short, feet crushed down onto the living lower weedmass and the left guy, if viewed from behind to be precise, talked sidewise into the right guy; as both settled down to the day’s watching, and waiting.  

So. What did you find? Did the Captain call the bank?

The Captain? Hah. The Captain’s a bird. That’s it. A bird.

Why so?

He talked to me down Jeff’s. Yes, he called the bank. He told me what he found.

What did he find?

He said what they told him boiled down to just; No money. Bank not care. No money bank. Not care. No money—my hand waved him stop right there.

That is not an acceptable answer Captain—call back and say that!

No—they’ll just say bank not care. Money bank. Bank care. Not money bank. Bank not care. It’ll always be like that and like that—bank will never ever care.

Hand-pushback, he paused—again I told him, No. That is not acceptable.


Well now—don’t you think so?

For sure. Yah.

The Captain needs to get tough. He needs something from us, he’s usually tough as nails. He seems afraid of the bank to me. Don’t you think?

Well, maybe it’s not that bad, really—but, hey eh. Look down there. What’s he doing?

The kneeler down the slope hunched hard over leaning into his work. To the townies two hundred yards up his dark curve of a back arched flexed and strained to provide a solid point for his surging muscles straining all straining the pressure of his arms into the quarter inch lead sheeting he bent and formed around the lower four feet of the first sign post. The grass crushed flat under the push of the workman. The other watched the deep bend of the thick oddly soft dull grey metal wrap round the post neatly pressed by the expert hands of the workman.  Why wrap lead round that there? Why lead and next, why so thick? But really mainly and truly, why wrap that in lead?


Tell me what was said other than that. Other that that is important; re Hans the Skillet—when calling a bank say you must us say-them-to, say what’s important!

Wrapping the posts in lead sheeting is in the instructions. That is all the reason needed. Why play the big smartass and answer you like, it’s to prevent the wood rotting, or it’s to repel destructive insects and then—my erudition could totally freeze your mind with cum-adding facts up top of facts like insects such as drywood termites subterranean termites carpenter ants powderpost beetles carpenter bees wood borers cypress and cedar bark beetles twig girdlers wood boring weevils carpenterworm larvae pine seed bugs wood wasps moths Anobiidae deathwatch beetles common furniture beetles bostrichidae false powderpost beetles longhorn beetles old house borers house longhorn beetle Asian longhorn beetle citrus longhorn beetle wharf borers are all resposineller as the shit—sure you could hear this.  That could go on and no but it would just be a big lie. It was in the instructions. You know—oh, eh, ouch-ouch. God, pinched my finger.

Okay, said the Captain—if that’s what you want then here’s what you get; we had a long talk but it was just like that and like that and like that ways after ways. Just—no money no care. Money? No. So what?

The lead bent the lead bent.

Oh, be careful. You ought to wear gloves. That looks hard on the hands.

The lead bent and bent and the lead bent and bent.

Nah, he tossed up as he worked. Too warm. It’s been a warm fall. We’ve been lucky. What runs around runs around’s still all muddy. But this weather better hold. This job needs completion within two calendar flips. Before the ground’s hard frozen. At least to get the posts in. The rest can be done working right into freeze time but if the posts can’t be set, we’re stalled dead. No ifs ands or buts. No. No ifs beetles ands or cypress buts—eyy eyy, no bostrichidae ifs carpenter ands bees or buts girdlers ni bitta by sweet, no longhorn common ifs wood subterranean ands ants bugs seed or borers house buts—

Captain, please, I said, shaking down my head.

Hey, oh, stop, you’re losing me pal—hold up, where you off to, eh hold it—eh hold.

Oh, snap! I’se just funnin’.  That’s kind of a taste—you know—a little crumb—of the fix you’d be in if it really mattered enough to give a shit about everything in this whirl round the narrow line straight down the middle my big boss someplace said to follow—well maybe not always following maybe once in a while out front swinging the big machete everybody sent up to hike point in this kind of a guerrilla operation all covert you know gets handed out to. You no doubt  know none of this pap but it’s true. This is all God-damned covert. Every step we’ve done, and every step still to do. Like—why you think those two yahoos up there who’ve been watching every day were sent here? Because everything we’re charged with doing is covert. It doesn’t fit.

No money so what. We’re a bank so anything not money so what. We’re a bank money what but no money so what. So what, you see this? Or not?

If you feel that way about it why push ahead into it so?

Because, said the workman, gripping a fat slab of lead; as you no doubt know yourself. Because you feel the same about what you’re tasked to do. When the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do. Like that. All Percy; you know when the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do. Like this. All Faith; you know when the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do. As told. No less, no more. Exactly as told. Immediately too. The boss means business. So, do. So of course yes boss had to be the answer. But appended to that went the need to go over some points with him—so he was asked, can we talk some details? It will be quick. That okay?

Of course. Go. But be quick.

The big part of this first job’s going to take seven days. That’s where you said to overlay the upper six feet of each post all metallic. Just that much—the posts by themselves—that’s seven days, minimum. And that’s working around the clock.

Okay. Go to work then. What do you want to be told about that?

Obviously, one persosn can’t work around the clock for seven days. Take away time needed for sleeping and eating and even when working, say—twelve hours a day, the job will take thirteen and a half days.

What is this based on?

It’s based on how long these kinds of jobs historically take.

Eh. Big words. But—why does how long it takes matter? Surely you intend to live long enough to complete a job this long. Don’t you?

Well. Thy will be done. You know?

Heh. Good answer. Okay smartass.

Tell me more.

—so what, they that there. Talk and talk and so what how when or who? Huck.

Captain please Captain please, I said shaking and shaking down my head—no matter if your bossed ‘round at beetle-borers, Barr’s bar-rackets, Super Deathwatch Weevil-strips, or Longhorn’s wasp storage shelving’s where you’re at, when the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do. So any reasonable person will immediately go do. Praises all praises, even so the boss would hear me out, so—he was told slick and sure, Thank you sir. Here it is. This job breaks down to two hundred and fifty steps. Each step contains between five and ten give or take thirty or three less or more; except if doing this job up Panama Mountain. In which case it is fully impossible. That much full so far then? Any questions before my resumption? My, my, this is sweet.

The lead sheeting methodically squarely wrapped round the signpost under the skilled hands of the workman as he coughed lightly, spat to the side, and went on, describing the next response of the boss, that being, Sweet? Sweet is hardly the word boy! God! Of course there’s no questions! That’s so purely fat dick! Quite impressive eh—but the smell of some gist to this seems to be gathering, but. Hey. No matter ‘cause luckily it’s no Glass-fishing-custom-sculptures style job, or doesn’t involve Chemical Men’s hot bathing supermixers, Pappy’s decorative twigging with stained-sheet fade superingredient firm, or Monroe’s topwheel slickcladding company. Your job’s quite more breezy given that eh. All wit; when the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do.

Okay—then first after cleaning the surface—which is not even the estimate—sizing needs to be brushed on pressed in and let to dry. And here’s the first bump. The tack must come up. The tack up but not too far up to flash down to flat dull and gone—max-tack must come. The time that will take depends on if polyurethane or varnish is available locally; and both are unknown at this time. Bringing to mind the lucky truth that the mineral spirits normally purchased to have on hand to rub away errors is not needed on this job because all surfaces are solid quite quitely solid but and de butt here’s the big punch re this logical line—and all of it varies by the presence or absence of any motion or disturbances to set air flow moving between those poles of wind; of draft; of air circulation of any wise, et; due to the environment we been commanded to work in it’s likely there will be air disturbances due to; people walking; automobiles passing on the highway flowing to and fro merely six feet away; and; the possibility of storm winds or rain showers or whatever can happen outdoors coming to pass; and lastly not to mention the tack exerting the natural occurrence of the flypaper trapping effect; eh eh eh, eh? Tack up—in dry time bug or bugs down—sheeeeit! Do over; again eh eh eh eh? Tack up—in dry time bug or bugs down maybe yes—uh! Maybe no—ahhh. See all the risks? And this is just increment one of five to fifty which, though most are not so prone to disruption, enough which are just as if not more susceptible to foulup do-over eh foulup do-over, eh? Get it you get it we got it and me, so, there’s no question you—eh ah, boss but—but; out here past the pack furlongs enough to pause here sighing out underneath saying quite clearly back to out come-from, boss, hey, any questions this far gone in our race? Boss? and exactly as that much was recounted the last lead was applied to the first signpost. The workman moved over to the second stretched in the dewy green grass and began work on that one, as he resumed recounting the next words from the boss, as, No, this is it Dave, just get on no don’t waste time because we’re a bank and no money waste time no money so what money so no money so what—like, So what if it’s Mr. Termite’s wharf-weathering furniture glaze corporation; Homer’s house balancer-builders, Anobiidae cypress planking planning, or Mister Asian’s strained citrus ooze installers. When the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do. So; now; out to you Pappy!

The lead bent easily round and round as the words spun out, being, Okay, okay. Here’s the core of the onion. It consists of two steps each of which must be flawless. First the edge of the fragile material must be teased free with a brand new sharp surgical steel superfine needlytipped tool. As it rises it will rise on its own, but follow with the tool from under all silently don’t look as the merest stare will blow it off wasted fallen flying down gone. It is unlike any other raw material because it’s just one fourth or fifth the thickness of a human hair. Tiny. Thin. Weak. And the tiny thin weak of any breed will not be used easily, and all, will fight to remain put—fight to survive, as, but—there’s more to go but—you with me so far boss?

Yes, smoothly recounted the workman, intent on dividing the lead sheet with a pair of giant razor-sharp snips—but—Captain please Captain please, I said, shaking and shaking and shaking down my head and my head and but but but but eh—for Christ’s sake, you know that even if you happen to work in sweat shops like Acid-fishing Hennie’s twig borer killer work, Mann’s general purpose statue-bath beer company, Buster’s beetling-organ instantly fastcures, or Carpenterworm’s simplified powderpost’s fast chemical bladeless dismemberment processing shoppe. When the boss comes touchin’ up you head, you do. Eh—

Hey! said the watcher—be careful. Snip slower. God gave you those fingers and it’s God’s alone to carelessly remove one, or all—hey. Take a break tell me the rest first. Then keep on with the lead.

Ah, no, this is cool this can keep on—plus taking frivolous breaks will just drag out this work that much longer, eh—anyway, so then the boss stood listening about how that other job to do to finish up these signposts would occur, as, Okay—so the next thing’s that, after the sheet has been pried free one must quite carefully, slowly, move it up over the tacky sized surface, and let it lower itself as it lifted itself down to rest totally and absolutely flat-still, its edge overlapped with the edge of the prior if there was prior of course if not then—heh—overlap cannot be done, see? Pity whatever poor fool who’d ever follow these steps and looked for a nonexistent prior would stop wait. Hang suspended. The fool’d fall into a loop of sorts seeking and seeking but all inside stuck and not at all looping. Standing still on the outside but running wild noplace on the inside. Seeking where to overlap but. Frustration would occur in the poor fool—as an expanding gas within pushing and pushing—those walking to and fro near the poor devil would know nothing of the slow rising danger. Seeking where to overlap but. Fools are not equipped with safety valves warning sirens hats or horns when seeking where to overlap in vain but; and are not taped off with yellow crime scene tape when seeking where to overlap in vain but; and the police have no way of knowing the area needs to be cleared cordoned off when seeking where to overlap in vain but; and, hey; what do we do chief do we call in the bomb squad? Hey oh hey chief the bomb squad ho hey—

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