Hole Goats

Plumber comes out of the bathroom, toolbox in hand.

“Well?”

“You’re all set,” says the plumber. “Now that you’ll be feeding the big guy again, I don’t ‘spect he should give you any more problems.”

“Feeding? Feeding who?”

Plumber narrows his eyes. “You don’t know?

Know what?

Plumber sighs. “Some of these old places out here, they were built back before the current sewer system was put inta place, y’see. What they used to do was put these big ol’ toad lookin’ things down underneath of the buildings, alright? Call ’em hole goats.”

Hole goats? Are you playing with me right now, sir? Look I don’t have time for this shit; I got a bar to get up and running, here. I just sank a shitload of money into it, and I need to make some of that money back. Yesterday.”

“They don’t live nowhere else but around here, far as I know. Don’t hardly ever see one these days, anyhow. But back in their day, them suckers’d just sit down there and eat shit aaaaaaall day. Everybody was happy. They got to eat the shit and the people got to get rid of the shit.”

“You’re saying there’s a giant toad. Underneath my bar. And it eats people’s shit.”

“Yeeeeeah, big fat one too. Lotsa people takin’ lotsa dumps in here over the years, ‘specially since this used ta be a coal minin’ town, did you know that? Them miners used to pack this place every night. More those things eat, bigger they get. Live about a hundred years, far as anybody can tell. One underneath your bar here ain’t no spring chicken, but he’s still got a few years of use left in him. Y’all had this place shut down awhile, fixin’ it up I guess. Poor ol’ fella liked to starve down there, that’s why he’s been shakin’ the walls and makin’ all that racket. Just go take a dump, he’ll be alright. Things’ll quiet down around here real fast.”

“Get out.”

Plumber shrugs. “Fine by me if you don’t believe it. Money’s still green.”

“You want me to pay you for coming out here to tell me there’s a monster in my toilet? “Take your ass on, old man.”

“I’m asking to be compensated for my service call, youngman. Don’t matter that I didn’t find nothin’ wrong with anything. I told you what you needed to do, as a professional.”

“Get outta here before I call the cops.”

“Alright.” Plumber turns, walks away. Door opens, sunlight floods in. Gently shuts. Neon-draped entombment again.

Plumber stares at the bar through his cracked, dusty windshield. Thinking. Remembering. Hands tighten on his sun-brittled steering wheel. Knuckles white.

Don’t you ever press that button ‘less you really want one of them things to come bustin’ right up outta the ground, now. It ain’t a pretty sight, and it don’t smell like Chanel number five, neither. Ugly as sin and meaner’n hell, is what they are. Sometimes you gotta move ’em, though. And this here box is the easiest way to get ’em to come up outta their holes. Works just like a dog whistle. They can’t stand the noise but people can’t even hear it. Just gotta be very careful. Keep your distance, like we are now. Alright son?

Okay, Dad.”

Now watch this…

Plumber’s dirt-stained finger caresses the button…

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