Ghost Hobo: The Can King Story

Recently, my father and brother came with me to buy a used washing machine and dryer for my new apartment. I refuse to use laundromats because I am fairly convinced that I am going to be murdered in one. Like, that’s how I am pretty sure I am going to die.

If you have ever been to a used appliance store then you know the kind of seedy, run down part of town they are generally found in. Which is part of the reason why I brought my father and brother. Also, because my dad has a pickup truck and I hurt my back and needed help moving. Besides, I generally do enjoy their company for short periods of time.

One thing you should know starting out is that I call my brother a ghost hobo. I like to joke that he has the societal impact of one. In fact, one of my ex’s used to refer to my whole family as a bunch of gypsies.

While driving around looking at washers and dryers we passed a metal recycling facility. My brother has a pretty magnificent collection of aluminum cans and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to recycle them.

We pulled over and got the number for the facility and found that they did indeed recycle aluminum cans and paid pretty well for them too. My brother got very excited as he would now be able to make a few dollars to buy cigarettes.

Yes, he was excited to recycle his beer cans to make money to buy smokes. At this point in the day I began referring to him as a gypsy grifter.

I finally settled on a washing machine and dryer and brought them back to my second floor apartment where I reinjured my herniated disc trying to finagle them into an altogether too small laundry area.

I took a muscle relaxer which helps very much with both my pain and my mood and headed off on a can recycling adventure.

At my brother’s apartment, we loaded up trash bag after trash bag of aluminum cans. I was in fact, impressed with the sheer quantity of them. They nearly filled the bed of my dad’s truck.

We drove to the metal recycling facility. By this point, I was feeling very mellow and silly, a mood I like to refer to as the “chill as fuck waterfall.” My dad and brother thought it would be best if I just stayed in the truck instead of attempting to “help.”

While sitting there I looked around at the other customer’s. There were two men unloading a red Ford pickup with what looked like industrial scrap metal. They were lifting huge pieces of twisted steel from the bed of the truck. My mind began to pick out shapes from the metal pieces. It was like a drugged up industrial version of a Rorschach test.

I became convinced that two of the largest pieces they were obviously struggling with would make bad ass guns. I began knocking on the window of the truck trying to offer to buy them instead of letting them go to waste. But they couldn’t hear me and I couldn’t figure out how to work the door handle in my dad’s truck.

I looked around, frantically, hoping to catch my dad or brother’s eye and have them come let me out. But they were gone. The people that worked at the recyclers were all wearing blue shirts. One of them began walking very quickly towards me. I was getting freaked out until I realized it was my brother. His shirt was the EXACT same shade of blue as the workers. I was so amused by this I forgot about my brilliant plan to own a scrap metal gun.

My brother told me it would only be a few more minutes and I waved him away. As if to say, “I’m fine. And totally NOT trying to waste my money buying twisted scraps of steel.”

My dad then got in the truck while my brother waited in line to get paid. I leaned over to him and pointed out the blue shirts. We both laughed and I joked that they might accidentally give him someone’s paycheck, mistaking him for an employee.

My brother came back to the truck and I excitedly asked how much money he had gotten for his cans. It turns out he had gotten $20. The cans had been 50 cents a pound. For those of you out there bad at math, he had recycled 40lbs of cans.

On my muscle relaxers I am a bit of an idiot savant with math. I instantly realized he had drank 40lbs worth of beer cans.

I asked him “So, how long did it take you to drink all that beer?” Thinking he’d say a year or so. But no, it was only a few months. I told him I thought he drank too much.

And my dad and I called him the Can King for the rest of the day.

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One thought on “Ghost Hobo: The Can King Story

  1. Pingback: Thursday Night, Family Night | Cursitivity

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