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‘Lo, Gerald.

Hey, Doug. What’s the news?

I just got back in with Jordan Halleberg’s old Ford. I think she’s taken her last run.

That ol’ heap of shit finally gave up the ghost?

Naw…not willingly. Halleberg let the Kreske kid borrow it to haul a couple loads of lumber and it looks like the steering box went out. Josh slammed into the side of the pump-house right off the curve in 270 on the old Brewster place. Ol’ truck kept going straight and the road turned without it.

Oh, shit! Josh okay?

Pretty much. Josh’s all right, but that load of sheetrock he was hauling ain’t ever gonna be the same. He’s working for Millers and their remodeling outfit these days.

They did a good job on Jenkins’ house last year, after the fire. What with that insurance money and Miller’s brains, Katie Jenkins finally ended up with that new kitchen addition she’d been bucking for for all these years. She said if she’d have known it’d take a disaster to get her house fixed up, she’d have lit a fire under Joe years ago.

I hear Josh does real good work, but I guess he’s going to be in a tight spot for a while, wrecking a borrowed truck and losing that load of sheetrock. Then again, Hallebeg’s old truck couldn’ta had a book value over $500, and maybe Miller’ll be understanding. Helluva weird accident, and it’s not like Josh was hotrodding around.

Yeah, Josh isn’t like a lot of these young guys around here, racing and raising hell.

Like you wouldn’t know a little about raising hell, Gerald!

Well, now I guess I had my fun in my day, but that’s been a few days ago.

Hey, is that story about the racoon and Don Jefferson’s Charger true?

Umm, sorta…I hadn’t known that raccoon was alive. I was pretty sure it was roadkill, so I thought I’d just prop it up on the steering wheel of the Charger, so when Don came out of Moody’s, it would look like that dead raccoon was driving his car. Raccoon was just stunned, though it turns out, so Don comes out of Moody’s with a takeout bag of burgers and a case of Cokes, and gets into his car. Don says he was on his way back to the farm, and he heard a rustling, and looks over to see a beat-up, mangey raccoon shovelling french-fries into its face. So yeah, I guess I did sic a wild animal on Don, in the roundabout.

So, not like the skunk you and Don and Ralph Heisner shut up in the furnace room at the high school.

That was a Senior Prank. That’s traditional. What did your boy do this year?

He ain’t saying, but I have my suspicions. Remember the little blurb they had in the Herald about the tempera paint butt-prints found all across the football field just before Homecoming? Well, Colleen was remarking about some very odd skidmarks she found while doing the laundry that week.

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