Steve has a great job. It’s a job where he works for this bug guy, a job where he would just go to a house with some dust or some juice and kill bugs. He makes twelve bucks an hour from the bug guy, whose name is Hank, but the guys all call him the H-Bomb. Twelve. Bucks. An Hour. From March to late fall and then it’s back to The Dole. And it’s hard to get canned. Like one time at a house that was near 3rd and Oak, close to the lake. A brown, ranch style house that don’t look like much at first from the front, then when you go out back you see that the way it’s built on a hill, the first floor is the top of at least three. At this hill house he sprays in the john for ants, where they make him take his damn boots off, and then out for flies. Not one bug on it. While he sprays the juice he sings a Led Zep song, the one where the girl gets drunk all day and won’t be true, and so he don’t hear the H-bomb come up next to him. Steve turns with the wand in his hand, and then the H-Bomb, the juice sprays close to him and he jumps the fuck back like he just got punched in the face.
The thing is, Steve wonders what the bug juice might do to him, and he’d been at the H-Bomb for a mask or a shield for weeks and the H-Bomb was all No, that shit’s safe as salt, blah blah blah, but here he is, so tweaked he jumps like a spaz at the thought of the juice on him. You got to keep an eye on that dude, twelve bucks or no.
So, when he can, the H-Bomb likes to make a buck or two more with stuff like deck work, like where you wash the mold off and then stain a deck. The H-Bomb can smell a deck that needs washed a town away. He says he talked to the guy who owns this hill house Steve’s at, a guy who flies planes he says, and the guy wants his huge ass deck done. Mold washed and then grey paint.
Close to when Steve’s done with the bug juice, Paul and Jay roll up in the work van with all the stuff for the wash job. The guy whose house it is comes out and shakes their hands. One hard shake each. He’s all square-jawed and his hair gelled up. He’s got a pair of gold wings pinned on his shirt, like the wings they give kids on a plane, only big. And I know you guys will watch the lawn, right? he says with this big white grin. By this, Steve knows he means the guy thinks they might fuck up the grass. When the guy goes back in, they start to call him Wings. Wings says watch that lawn, they say and laugh when the thick green soap spills out onto it.
They wait a day or two for the deck to dry out and then Steve rides in the van with Paul and Jay to do the paint. The van is great with how big it is and the way no one can see you in the back. So Steve and the guys smoke a joint back there, parked on Wings’ white new drive. They blow the smoke into clean paint rags. They light up cigs to hide the smell on their hands and breath. They wear shades. The paint cans come out the rear doors, a brush for each guy, tarps. It’s cold out still from the night and the guys go to look at the deck, to see if there’s dew on it that needs to dry. The deck is fine, but they’re baked now and they don’t want to start so they say, Yeah, there’s some dew there by the house still, and Paul says he wants a Coke. A Coke seems good, and you can’t paint a deck with dew on it still, so they go back to the van, shades on, and get in. Jay sings, On the wings of love, la la la la and they laugh as Jay starts to back the van out and there is this bump and a loud crunch and Steve knows Fuck, it’s the paint. Jay throws the van in Park and they jump out and see two full cans of paint spread out in pools like grey brains on the drive.
Photo Source: WKZO