- Publisher: T. S. Poetry Press
Excerpt from installment one, The Visit:
What an old man needed with a pair of roller skates, Will would never know. Yet there they were, scuffed gray leather, hanging by their laces over a dusty walnut kneeler just inside the front door.
Watching how the old man moved, how he favored his left side when he walked away after letting him in the door, Will knew he didn’t use them. He could see Joe praying, yes. Skating, no.
Joe had called twice to reschedule their appointment after all, saying he’d thrown his back out a couple of weeks ago and was laid up so he hadn’t been able to do any housekeeping. Will appreciated his good intentions. Most folks don’t see the need to tidy up for a claim adjuster. Isn’t that the whole point—that a house would be a mess after a sudden brush with fire or water? He hardly even noticed anymore, cutting through cobwebs or stepping over underpants lying on the floor right where someone had walked out of them on the way to the shower or bed.
But then again, he thought, maybe Joe did roller skate. Maybe that’s how he’d hurt himself, practicing some sort of spin move on in-line nylon wheels on the narrow paved road crossing in front of his faded green bungalow like it were perfectly normal for 75-year-old men to do in this quiet farming town. He probably even had a widowed neighbor named Midge who practiced her belly dancing behind a walker on the front lawn.
Not much surprised him anymore. “Leaky roof, single story, ” the dispatch note from Mad Dog had said. “Keep it simple. You’ll be back by noon.”
“Right, ” he typed back. “Noon next Friday.”
The only predictable thing about working claims with Mike “Mad Dog” Delaney was that he could predict nothing. Odds were, Hurricane Camille herself was coming his way, all dressed up in the straight-line skirt of a supposed open and shut case.
He remembered the day Mad Dog said “Leaky drain pipe. How hard can it be?” The next thing he knew, he was suited up in his coveralls crawling in the mud under the double-wide through spider webs thick enough to hide your grandmother, with the angry homeowner standing outside wielding a hammer, threatening to nail the opening shut and leave him inside with the rats.
When a guy’s day could start with a man falling asleep with a cigarette watching Jay Leno and starting his bed on fire, or a woman having a heart attack behind the wheel and crashing her car into the side of the local hunting lodge, her last breath exploding through safety glass and into a brick wall, the element of surprise gets harder and harder to come by.
(end of excerpt)
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