From the book:
God made only one mistake.
And I married him.
- Amy Murphy
"I'm gonna put in another rental." Al Murphy was
sitting on the couch, a mug of coffee in hand, watching his wife
Amy doing up the breakfast dishes. Although the half wall that
demarked their kitchen from their living room hid the lower half
of her body, Al knew Amy was wearing that skuzzy pair of baggy
sweats she always wore in the morning. Her loose-fitting sweatshirt
didn't quite hide her full breasts, however. Al tried to remember
how Amy used to look before she got fat and frumpy at
least he considered her fat and frumpy. (When Amy cleaned up
and put on her white work uniform she still got looks from men
half her age.)
Amy didn't look up from the sink when she replied. "Why?
There ain't been a soul livin' in the one you already got for
the last six months; not since you got rid of that little blond
what's-her-name. Jeez, she was OK. Quiet, paid her rent
"I didn't trust her friends. She always had them big
bikers hanging round. They skeert me; thought they might wreck
the trailer, maybe attack n rob us. Sides she smoked
and kept cats. The place still stinks. Hell! I can't rent it
the way it is."
Amy stared at her husband, not trying to hide the look of
disgust that almost always clouded her still youthful face every
time he came into her sight. He had on an old stained t-shirt,
chest and back hair protruded through the several holes in the
fabric, and the cut-offs he had on were in similar deplorable
condition; when he stood his belly hung over the waistband. He
hadn't shaved for several days.
She could no longer remember why she had married him.
"Shit, Al, you know goddamn well she left cause
you was always sniffin' round her crotch, trying to git her on
her back. Then you got pissed when she kept saying no. Started
treating her like a piece of trash. She'd probably still be there
if you hadn't been trying to prove you're the man you ain't anymore;
at least around here."
Al glared at his wife as he poured himself another mug of
"And where do you tend to put it?" Amy asked
not looking at him. "We only got these three lots, and I
don't want nobody up my ass between us and Sis. Besides, where
you gonna git the money to pay for it?"
Al sat back down on the couch and took a swallow of coffee
before he answered her. "If'n you'll shut yer nasty mouth
fer a twitch I'll tell you. I got it all planned out. On t'other
side o' Holly two lots down toward Live Oak there's a lot that
don't need a lot o' clearing'. I kin rent a dozer, have it cleared
in half a day; rent a post-hole digger hell this close
to the lake water's only down three t' four feet; put in a cheap
pump, all the water ya can drink in minutes. Then rent a trencher
an' run a workin' tile across lots to take care of the shit.
There you go water and sewer jus' like that. Phone's already
in across the front of the lot; electric running right by there
t' our rental utilities at hand. Do it all for two fifty,
maybe three hundert.
"I got two good frames, still got the wheels on em;
enough stuff layin' around t' built a dozen Kropfs. To do a decent
job take probably three grand at the most."
"Are ya forgittin' that lot belongs to Finley?"
"Got that covered. If he makes a stink, I'll just give
it to him. He can't complain about that; property's improved
no cost to him. In the meantime, we'd be makin' money off'n it.
Sides I ain't seen a Finley down our road in donkey's years.
He's got his own problems; probably don't remember he even owns
"What about yer back? That insurance guy gets down here
too often makin' sure you can't work. What if he shows up when
yer're up a ladder or somethin', an' ya lose yer disability?"
"Got that covered; I'll do the outside work evenins an'
weekends, get Sis to help during the day. It'll just look like
Amy huffed and looked up at the ceiling so Al wouldn't see
the sadness in her eyes. "How you gonna keep her sober nuff
to do anythin'? Sides she's on SSI. A governmint man sees
her doing work, she'll lose that, and we'll be stuck supportin'
"Goddamn it, Amy, I got this all worked out nice and
neat, and yer're tryin' to fuck it up. Sides Social Security
don't come out here t' see her, she has t' go t' them."
Amy walked over to the stove and lit a flame under the coffee
pot, then walked back to the sink to finish the dishes. "OK,
here's the big un. Where d' ya spect to get yer hands on
three thousand dollars?"
"Outa that shoe box ya got hidden in the back of yer
Amy stiffened, her head snapped over her left shoulder, her
eyes fixed on her husband; the color had drained from her face.
"How'd ya find that?" Her words rode toward her husband
on a strangled whisper. That was her escape-this-godawful-marriage'
"By the way, where'd ya come by that much bread? Ya didn't
get it makin' beds; ya probly got it bein' made on them beds.
What do ya get fer a straight fuck? Twenty maybe? Head- ten?
Kinky stuff fifty? Ya must be wearin' yer cunt raw to
git that kind of money; I know I hain't getting' none,"
Al said maliciously.
Amy collapsed onto a kitchen chair and cupped in her head
in her hands. Al was now standing over her glowering. "Well?"
Amy's shock turned to anger. "Ya filthy-minded sonabitch,"
she snarled. "That money come from my Aunt Bess. She willed
it to me. It's mine an ya hain't gittin' yer hands on it."
"Too late," he chuckled. "I got my hands on
it, an got it hid so's ya'll never find hit. Looks like I got
me another rental."