Wet Drywall

Wet Drywall
Mitchell Grabois

This is not a job I ever expected to have, but I couldn’t keep farming, not enough land, machines too old. I retrieve dead birds from the base of wind turbines and stuff them into plastic sacks. I keep a weekly death tally and give it to my boss on Friday, birds common and uncommon. I’m not supposed to tell anyone else what they are or how many. It’s a big secret. If I tell anyone, my ass is grass.
After the hurricane drove me from my home and soaked its interior, a contractor said he could get me a good deal on Chinese drywall. I’d been buying eyeglasses on the internet direct from China for years at a fifth of the price it would cost me in the U.S. It was gratifying to sidestep the greedy ophthalmologists and opticians, who believe that their Porsches and expensive country club memberships justify gouging the nearsighted. Fuck them. So I gave the contractor the green light.
Deep winter is always my favorite time of year, more so now that the icing conditions have halted all of the 56 turbines that now dominate our world the way the sky once did. It is silent today. Death stops for a while.
But after I moved back into my house, I noticed a rotten egg smell. It started out light, but grew stronger. Coffee calms me. I was heating a cup of day-old in the microwave when it suddenly quit. I was watching Katie Couric read the news on TV, only half-listening, imagining what she would be like in bed, when the TV went dead. I couldn’t get my appliances to turn back on and my Katie Couric orgy, which had turned into a threesome with Nicole Kidman, went sour in my head. The thought that drywall could screw up my electronics was terrifying, but after hundreds of homeowners reported the same phenomenon, it became just one more way we were getting screwed by corporations, domestic and foreign.
Yes, I have a job. Everyone needs a job. But as I cross-country ski along the unplowed road, I am again reminded of what has been taken from us.
Damn hurricanes! Damn Chinese drywall!

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