When the line to the septic tank clogged up again on Monday, even after cutting down and poisoning the ratty lilacs and a half-dead Japanese plum tree that were surely to blame for the roots, I kind of lost it. One is at least entitled to that. A man who cannot flush is not a happy man, especially when he’s seen it all before more times than he can count. Next you’ll ask me why we haven’t moved.
Fortunately, Gilbert was available. There’s nothing like having your own seventy-three-year old plumber living five minutes away. He may be closer, in fact. We ran the ancient snake up my aluminum ladder and down into the vent to save having to take out the toilet for the umpteenth time, and once again the water flowed. So did the neighborhood news.
Had I heard about the woman who got shot in Ranchos?
No, I hadn’t.
It seems there was this older (?) fellow minding his own business when a group of people accosted him in his home demanding money for drugs. (Not strangers, from the sound of it.) The guy didn’t have any and the people wouldn’t leave, so he pulled out a shotgun and told them to git. The woman—part of the group, I think—tried wresting it from him and boom it went off. Meanwhile, the neighbors heard yelling followed by the shot and called 911. The cops arrived in time to find a couple of guys dragging the woman’s body to their truck “to take her to the hospital.” But there was blood all over and she was already dead, so that didn’t fly.
I may have misheard a couple of details because my hearing is awful. When I happened to mention this, Gilbert was hip.
He doesn’t hear so well out of his left ear because he mouthed off to a teacher when he was a boy and she cuffed him upside the head, bursting his eardrum. There was blood running out of his ear, he remembered. He was afraid to go home, because he knew his father would just hit him again for being rude to a teacher! I don’t know how they resolved that, but the eardrum healed and stayed that way for a number of years, only to get broken again by an explosion on a U.S. Navy boat in Vietnam. He realized he could pinch his nose and blow air out of his ear. When he finally got to a doctor, he demonstrated and made the man’s day. “Come on over here,” the doc called to a nurse, “you hardly ever see anything like this!”
There was more, lots more, about Kit Carson Park, Indians and Hispanos and four hundred years ago, things you’d never hear of or fathom unless you’ve been here a long time and somebody trusts you. (He does, so that’s all.) But thanks be to Gilbert, el flusho returns.
And Taos or me just rolls on, and on…