Friday, April 16, 2010
his name is Rudolf
“I’m ready for you NOW, man!” my lawn mower dude yells in the phone this afternoon. His name is Rudolf. He’s a semi-tall Ike Turner lookin’ chap that’s ready to damn go! I called him Thursday night at 8pm and told him I needed a belt on my lawn tractor thingy. “I’m ‘ol shoot off down there right now and check it out, I wanna get my name out around down there!” Well the neighbors are outta town, and I only cut my grass for them anyway so…uhhh….no rush, dude! But I let him come on any anyway, pulled the truck around to shine the lights on the thing and he was gung-ho as hell from the git-go. He had me help him lift it up onto his rattletrap of a Ford Bronco. “Naw, naw, c’mon!...just liff the front wheels up, like pickin’ up a basketball!” (an especially HEAVY basketball!) So we get the front end on. “Now picks up the back fender” he tells me. It really wasn’t as hateful a lift as thought it could’a been. “Now you gots my number…I just need $20 gas money to get going on it”. I wasn’t worried about this guy, although it could have been a supreme rip-off to cleverly snatch someone’s mower AND collect $20, he was just too believable. He was authentic, pure North Carolina. He worked at the Food Lion “Disthribwrution” (he BADLY mangled the word!) Center and had a daughter in private school. He was hustling for her. He told me twice about going to a guy’s house that had TWO mowers to work on. That was pretty exciting to him. “I made me 60 dollars that day!” I wished he would have charged more, I felt bad for him. He kinda reminded me of ME! …Undercharging and 90% more there for the praise than the money. He drove off in the night with my mower and I slept soundly knowing it was safe in his hands. So this afternoon, he’s calling me at 2:14pm and hollerin’ about how Auto Zone “ain’t gots that belt” and was I coming to Louisburg today…? Well, I hadn’t planned on it, being knee deep in staining a bookcase, but I guess if I’m gonna make the neighbors happy I better take and shoot off up that way! So I did. And I remembered that the hippie store that saved my life against the vicious yeast infection in ’97 was on the way! Why is this important? Cause they got them ear candles I been needin’ for my right ear…my passenger ear. It’s plugged up kind’a annoyin’-like. He finishes with “Well you call me whens you get to Ace(Hardware)!” and hangs up. After finally getting to the hippie store through the stampede that is Raleigh traffic, I give him a buzz and say that I’m there in 3 minutes. 10 minutes later, thumbs in pocket, he shows up. A couple of non-descript girls come in with a couple of non-descript problems just to make us wait. OK…let’s chit-chat. “Were you born on Christmas Day?” I asked. “Dint know if that’s why they named you Rudolf”. He smiled. “Naw man, my birthday is February…Friday the 13th….I’m bad luck!” I wondered if the 13th of February happened to fall on Friday EVERY year? Prolly not. That’s just what day it was when he was born. “ I was born on Christmas Day” I said. “You wuz?” “What can I help you guys out with?” said dude behind the counter, finally free from the bullshit that the two non-descript ladies were distracting him with. “I needs this belt right here” Rudolf says, handing him the unopened envelope with the model number on it. “A man with numbers! I love it! I can’t tell you how many folks come in here and say stuff like...’it’s a Murry!!!’ and then get mad at ME for being the dumbass!” the belt guy says. He follows with “Y’all been in here within the last few days?” “No” was my reply being rudely cut-off by my man’s “I have!”. “Notice anything different about that window over there?” We shrugged. “We cleaned it up…moved a bunch of junk outta the…” “OOOOoooohhhhh! I thought I noticed something!!!” said the Ike look alike. “Oh yeah” I muttered. “Here ya go boys…$27 and some change” “You $4 cheaper than Jeffereys” said my man. Help me get his name out. His name is Rudolf. I’m lighting my ear candle now.