How Not to Beat the High Cost of Living

Deep Purple—“Rapture of the Deep”

MoTW—“Seed of Chucky”

“I’ll give you 3 bucks.”

“Per hour? Or is that the set price for the whole thing?”

Ah, the youth of today.

“Tell you what. I’ll give you a dollar an hour.”

Total brilliance on my part. It should take maybe a couple hours, so I
saved myself a dollar because of his greed.

“That’ll work. A dollar an hour is fine.”


“You know, when I was your age, I used to do the same thing for about 25
cents an hour.”

“I guess you can blame it on inflation, sir.”

Ah, the smartass youth of today.

And so what began as a wasted Saturday of raking and bagging leaves had
now turned into a Saturday of lazy channel surfing and drinking.
I guess I most have dozed off because when I woke up it was early
afternoon. I figured the kid had rung the doorbell and when there was no
answer he decided to go home and come back later to pick up his riches.
I put aside a couple bucks so I wouldn’t be tempted to spend it on
something silly and then went outside to have a satisfying smoke.

“Oh, you have got to be kidding me!”

Even though he had been at it for over 5 hours, he hadn’t finished 1/3
of 1/2 of 1/4 of the backyard.

“Just trying to pace myself sir. You want the job done right, don’t

Got me there he did.

“I tell you what. Forget the rake. I’m gonna let you use some high tech
equipment that’ll make it easier on you.”

And easier on my wallet.

Out to the garage I went.

I grabbed the outdoor power cord, the combo blower/vacuum and the vacuum
bag. The kid eyed me with what I took as wonderment as I plugged in the
orange cord, attached the bag and started up the vacuum.

I sucked up a few piles of leaves that he had worked so diligently on.
Satisfied that it was working properly, I shut it off and motioned him

“You ever use one of these before?”

“Yes sir. My dad has one.”

Of course he did. And of course the kid wants to finagle a few more
bucks out of unsuspecting folks by using an antiquated rake.

“Well, good. Just remember that if you try to vacuum up too much at one
time, you can clog the opening.”

With that I decided to show him. I turned the machine back on and
attacked a pile of leaves, dead pine needles, pine cones and sticks.
Sure enough, the opening got clogged with some pine needles and sticks.

“Just pull the stuff away from the opening,” I yelled. “Don’t worry, you
can’t get hurt.”

With that he began clearing away the clogged debris, one handful and
then another. When he reached down for the last handful, I saw his hand
and then it and the attached arm disappeared up the vacuum nozzle.

Next came a “chunk” from the spinning wheel-thing that turns leaves and
other stuff to compost and then came the scream.

I turned off the vacuum and the kid removed his arm attached its (now)
four-fingered hand. He hopped around a bit as he shook his hand, all the
while screaming.

A total calm came over me. I took of the back and dumped it onto the
ground. I immediately found part of his missing index finger sitting on
top of the pile. I picked it up and threw it a little ways away and then
started digging through the rest of pile until I found the other missing

As he continued hopping around and screaming, I picked up both pieces
and brought them inside. Since there was no ice in the freezer I duct
taped the two pieces to a frozen Swanson’s Hungry Man dinner, placed it
in a bag and threw it in the trunk of my car.

To the backyard I went and I lit up another cool, refreshing smoke until
he stopped dancing around and screaming and passed out from shock. Then
I put a tourniquet on his spurting wound with a greasy rag I found in
the garage, put him in the backseat of the car and took off to the
nearest urgent care.

Now he has about 85% of his finger reattached to his hand. According to
the doctor there was still a little chunk that was missing but it would
be too late to do anything about it anyway even if I did happen to
stumble across it one day. Luckily, I got my frozen dinner back but not
the rag, but that’s okay since I have plenty of others.

But all is not well.

“You owe me big time for this. I’m thinking fifty a week, for as long as
I want. Unless you want me to tell me dad?”

“Fifty DOLLARS? When I was a youth, a snow cone would be enough!”

“I guess you can blame it on inflation, sir.”


COMING NEXT: Don’t let the crates come down on me.

Stephen Johnson

The idea of building a website with Bob came from Stephen in the days of message boards and chat rooms. We settled on the name and the rest is history. Retired since he hit the ripe age of 25, he spends most his time doing odd-jobs around the house and digging thru trash bins for "stuff that's still good." Stephen has contributed several short stories and hosted the "Lunatic Ravings" column since the beginning (1999). The idea of writing weekly columns came from Stephen before blogs or blog sites ever existed. So, I guess that makes him THE FIRST BLOGGER IN THE WORLD!!!

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