Monday, November 5, 2018

Cletus and Zeke in Grafton, Nebraska

Cletus and Zeke were in Grafton, Nebraska mud-jacking concrete floored barns.

The EPA had mandated that every farm over 320 acres was required to have a dedicated pesticide handling facility. The regulations required that the floor have a central drain piped to a secure sump.

Every farm in Nebraska was over 320 acres. The University of Nebraska determined that the cheapest way to create the EPA pesticide room was to partition off a corner of a concrete floored building with a cinderblock wall, score the flooring with a diamond saw along the edges and across the diagonals. Then to mud-jack the triangles along the outside to make them tip inward to the center. Then grout the cuts with flexible, waterproof grout.

The work was hard, cold, hot, wet and stupid. The vast majority of the pesticides used by corn farmers in Nebraska had very low mammilian toxicity and it was a very long way down to ground water.

Everything was going peachy until the windshield washer on the Dodge truck went Tango Uniform. Cletus called around but could not find a used washer bottle/pump within fifty miles of Grafton.

Jim Slippery, the farmer whose barn they were working on, overheard Cletus calling salvage yards. “Yeah, them Dodge washer bottles are hard to come by.” he commiserated.

“Why is that. Seems like there are plenty of Dodge trucks around?” Cletus asked.

Jim looked at Cletus like he was the dumbest person on earth.

“Why everybody knows those Dodge washer bottles hold exactly two, 1.5l bottles of booze and the pump puts out exactly one shot.” Jim said. “Can’t drive to a football game in Oklahoma, Texas or Wisconsin without having a nip or two along the way.”

“We just snake the hose thorough the firewall beside the steering wheel and leave it hang by the ashtray.” Jim concluded.

“Whaddamy gonna do?” Cletus asked, rhetorically. “Need a washer cause of all the mud and bugs.”

Jim took Cletus’s measure and made a decision. “Well, I might just have a spare bottle. Farmers don’t throw anything away. Tell you what, you get this job done on time and don’t get any of the local girls pregnant and I will GIVE you one of my spare bottles.”

Cletus was pretty happy with that. He had been snipped a couple of years ago and the job was going well. Good thing he hadn’t been talking to Zeke.


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