Words Copyright (c) 2015 Steve Kline
READER: Portions of this tale are indelicate.
Kenny, red-haired and complexioned, was Missouri-born and sounded it. Big guy. One of the funniest and smartest men I’ve ever met.
If you’re one of two guys that drive forklifts in an outfit where every last other son-of-a-bitch has to toss a couple of tons of brick every day, you’re smarter than most.
He was probably only in his late 30s, but Kenny had worked many places and he carried with him stories about where he’d been and what he’d done. He was a spellbinding story-teller, as are most Missourians.
Some time before arriving at The Brickyard, Kenny had worked as an orderly at a state institution for the emotionally disturbed, mentally ill. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, both the book and the movie, were popular. Kenny said he didn’t need to see the movie. He’d lived it.
Kenny told us of two men, Harold and Amos, patients, who met every morning in the restroom, where they pooped and then tarried to examine the contents of each bowl. Kenny would happen upon them, discussing things like color, shape, consistency. It appeared, Kenny said, to be a way for these two to check on each other’s well-being.
That is sort of the preface to Kenny’s story.
“Well, I’m cleaning the floor in the corridor one day, and I look up and here comes Harold walking toward me and he’s holding a big turd in his hand like it’s a lollipop,” Kenny said.
“And I’m thinking, ‘I hope he don’t’ — but just as he passes me by he takes a big bite out of that turd.
“So I say, ‘Harold!’ and he stops and turns around and looks at me. And I ask him, ‘Hey, Harold, what’s that taste like?’ And Harold grins and he says:
“‘Earth, man. Earth!‘”
Kenny cracked me up.