THE BUG MAN AND THE SCRAPPER
1. THE BUG MAN
Drain flies aren’t bad. Roaches aren’t bad. Mice are nothing.
Two-hundred dead flies in an apartment — that’s bad. I saw 20 in the bathtub alone. The building manager said, “I killed them with spray.”
I said, “Where are you hiding the body?” I meant the dead body.
Another 50 dead flies were by the window in the living room. The apartment was vacant.
the pro exterminator. The bug man’s secretary said, “Are they metallic – the flies?”
“What do you mean by metallic?”
“Blue or green?”
“They’re big flies,” I said “You see them all the time, like on horses.”
“Oh, excuse the expression — they’re shit flies.”
“Yes. My manager says he has 500 dead ones in his vacuum cleaner. I need you over here.”
The flies were officially called blow flies, and are attracted to carrion and excrement. The bug man found a nook above the drop ceiling in the bathroom that we had missed. He hit it.
The flies are gone now. I wonder what was up there. I didn’t look.
2. THE SCRAPPER
I was looking for a scrapper to take a dilapidated, nonfunctioning boiler out of an apartment-building basement. The boiler was sitting in the basement, minding its own business, but the city inspector said it had to go.
I called a heating company, which suggested I hire them and an asbestos-removal company to remove the old unit.
Instead, I contacted Charles the scrapper and said, “What are the chances of you doing this job and just taking the good stuff — the metal — and leaving behind a mess?”
“I don’t do it that way. I’ve been doing this all day — all my life – and I do it right,” he said.
The boiler consisted of eight cast-iron sections, each about 200 pounds. And it was down a flight of steps. The boiler was the size of a VW bus.
“That’s what I do,” Charles said. “Get rid of it.”
But I didn’t use Charles. I used Daryl, another freelance scrapper. Daryl got to the job site long before Charles and gave me a good price: free. “I’m here and I’m ready,” Daryl said. That counted for something.
I wrote this one, “The Nostalgia Vortex,” for today’s CoolCleveland.com. I was raised by a village — Norge Village.