To Lose a Job is to be Free
Then one day Cora left and suddenly I was all alone in the terrible 1972 white trailer home with the burgundy trimming that I bought for $600.00 that I received from a life insurance policy my grandmother had taken out on me when I was born in 1970. There was a limb lose clause to the insurance policy and I received exactly $1000.00 for losing my left arm that year; for exactly eight months I had entered the wonderful world of amputees, the exact amount of time Cora and I had been together.
For three months I had been hauling garbage with my paternal uncle on an expansive rural garbage route. The man who owned the truck was an Amway director and he was optimistic, ambitious and full of God, even though he only paid my uncle and me $80.00 a week to work for him. I think the reason is because we wouldn’t recant, wouldn’t accept Jesus into our hearts and further my uncle and I wouldn’t push Amway. So, we got the shitiest part of the shit job that really wasn’t all that bad because no one told us what to do or who to be, no one told us what we should be doing because no one was envious of our job, therefore no one wanted our job, so we stayed high on pills and drank beer and went about our day amusing ourselves with the trash we found as we spent twelve hours a day slinging garbage.
The man we worked for, this Amway man, this Ambitious man, this Jesus man, never did find out how many times I fucked his step-daughter long before the hospital took my arm away. About two days before Cora left, my uncle quit because he never gave a damn about garbage like I did because he was too busy planning for the Revolution. His idea to initiate the Revolution was to drive several eighteen-wheelers into the State Capital building in Baton Rouge all at the same time. My uncle never did formulate a theory about what to do after he demolished the State Capital; he was simply fixated on destroying the building. I never particularly shared in his fantasy because I want a
Revolution that’s actually going somewhere; that will actually subvert the government and not just result in getting me killed. My uncle was concerned not with revolution, but rebelling for the sake of rebellion, which is a different conversation altogether.
In any case, my uncle was bored after not having hauled garbage for three days and I was trying really hard not to run down Cora Lyn Falstaff and blow her fucking brains out. My uncle invited me over to his little two room shack of a house to make some Molotov cocktails and I have to say it was fun filling up the Miller Highlife pony bottles with gasoline and stuffing the bottles with thick white shirt linen to serve as fuses. We made six cocktails and put them all back in the six pack beer carton they came in and put the carton securely in a small red and white Styrofoam cooler and walked under moonlight the whole twelve miles through the dense woods that separated our village from the super estate of our ex-boss. We finally arrived at the gate of the estate and right outside the gate stood the old wooden-sided garbage truck where we once nearly worked ourselves to death. We lighted the cocktails one by one as we threw them at the truck and my uncle and I both watched the old truck burn up in beautiful and immaculate red, yellow, and orange flames. We were blissful like never before.
We stared deep into the flames, deep into the possibilities of the flames.
Louis Bourgeois is the Executive Director of VOX PRESS. His memoirs, The Gar Diaries, was nominated for the National Book Award in 2008. Bourgeois lives, writes, and edits in Oxford, Mississippi.