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Apathy, Chapter 9 Constructive Chaos

November 24, 2018

Setting up an old two-seater bike trailer took longer than I had expected. As I set it up, I got glimpses of Paul and me… I hated riding in this thing as a kid, but Paul loved it. He had an excitement like dogs do when they’re about to go out for a walk. A part of me always thought that the thing’ll flip over and there goes my little baby carcass sliding toward Pennywise awaiting for me in a storm drain. I had seen that fucking movie as a kid, and it did something to my mental well-being.

“What do you think we could get for this?”

I turned to see my Dad holding a bag of soccer balls.

I asked, “I don’t know, I mean is there anything of actual value in the house?”

“Everything is electronic, so possibly? I’m not exactly sure what to look for,” my Dad said sounding tired.

“What about… um… damn, I don’t even think I would have gotten those soccer balls. I’m…”

“We could take your brother’s bike.”

“No,” I don’t know why, but I always felt that bikes that were made for girls weren’t as sturdy as boy bikes and I feel that when my parents bought my bike for a hundred dollars there was a huge quality gap because they spent nearly a grand for Paul’s. “Sell mine, I want Paul’s bike.”

My Dad said, “Ok, that’s probably a good idea. I’m going to go through the house again.”

I said, “Ok,” before I asked myself, “Where is that air pump thingy?”

It was another hour before we were ready to head out. My Dad kept referring to the sun as time and tried to teach me how to use shadows like a sundial, but I couldn’t be bothered… I didn’t understand. He rode his old-man bike, which I call an old man bike because the thing is older than most of the people I know, and held on to the handles of my old bike. I felt great on Paul’s old stead. The trailer was attached behind my Dad full of soccer balls, utensils, and a ton of lighters that we found in Paul’s room. I mean, don’t get us wrong, we kept a lot of the lighters, but there was a lot a lot. I was asked to pick my favorite fork, knife, and spoon. Those we kept, the rest of the utensils should go for a pretty penny, so says my Dad.

As we approached the weird drive-thru convenience store, my Dad yelled out, “Howdy.” Howdy? “We got some goods for exchange.”

The convenience store clerk nodded and said with a squint in his eye, “Eh? What’chu got?”

“Everything in the trailer and this bike.”

“I suppose the bike would be useful.” Why are they fucking talking like that?

My Dad kicked down the kickstand and dismounted, he unzipped the wagon and pulled out its contents and said, “We’ve got soccer balls, a net for said soccer balls, utensils, and some lighters. Don’t suppose you have a need for-”

“The utensils are fine. I dunno about the soccer balls. I will have to take these lighters though.”

“I’m thinking we could strike up a deal for… let’s say a few of those bundles of wood and a few of those cases of beer, as well. That’s for the lot.”

“Throw in the trailer and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

“No, we’re going to be needing that, so how about four bundles, and a thirty pack of the Pabst?”

“I’m thinking just the wood would be fine, friend.”

“I’m thinking that you’ll need those lighters more than you’d need the beer, pal.”

The two scowled at each other for what felt like an entire minute before I realized that we were on our way home. It’s weird to think about how far everything is without a car and you’re reminded of them constantly. Every which way you look is another heaping pile of motor and vehicle that refuses to work.

Goddamn, the sun is going down.


The garage was full of people standing around in a bit of constructive chaos. The Mormon looking men stood at the far end of the garage with a look of satisfaction on his face.

One of them said, “I’m glad everybody was able to make it today!” The crowd was silenced. “These are some difficult times and well we don’t know what to do, so let us discuss the problematic nature of our situation so that as a community we can unite with our civility.” He adjusted his glasses and said, “First thing first, we’re gonna need to establish a neighborhood watch. Not just two people sitting out in a car, well not that that would help, but I mean an abrasive one. Like if you don’t live here then you can’t be welcomed into our neighborhood.” The crowd agreed with that notion and nodded their heads with delight. “I’m also thinking about a guard tower to watch over our fences from the other side.”

“You mean from our other neighbors?” A man asked quaintly.

Another, less inept, man raised his hand and asked, “How many people should we have at a time? I don’t mind reporting, but I’m not sure we have that many people to have our neighborhood watched at all times. We have things to do as well.”

The Second Mormon nodded his head a few times before he said, “Time is what we’re asking for and I don’t think safety is something we can call a luxury, sir. I really do hope that you see the capacity of the issue that is at hand. We are on our own.”


On our way back home I asked my Dad, “Why the hell did you guys talk like that? It was so weird, and a little creepy.”

“Like what honey?” My Dad asked with the four bundles and thirty pack in the trailer.

“You talked like you were from western times, like Howdy sir? Is that a fact?!” I tried to make my voice sound as hick as possible.

“I did that?”

“As sure as rain.”

“Ugh, that is creepy.”

“Well, don’t-cha-know.”

“Stop.”

“Can’t take a ribbing old man?”

“No, stop. Look.”

I wasn’t paying too much attention to our destination, but as I live and breath there’s somebody in our Goddamn house.

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