Keith reached down with his with plump and dusty hand to pick and pull at a clump of long human hair that wrapped tightly around a brush covered piston. While sitting down and bent over in his routine working position, his v-cut shirt dangled down in such a way that a male neighbor walked by his open garage workshop and said to himself, "...bald, but damn it if that old lady doesn't have a decent rack". Keith looked up momentarily and squinted as he adjusted his glasses back to where the fat on his nose kissed the fat on his forehead, and then slowly dropped his head back down to his work...
It's a small garage, maybe two hundred square feet. Lengthwise, on one side of the garage, most of the wall is covered with stuffed animal heads. Almost every animal imaginable, from deers-to-bears, rams-to-elephants, to even a chimpanzee and two boars. Not a single one was a catch of Keith's, but he tells any person that sees them that he killed each one with a handgun, a pistol. And as though that wasn't impressive enough, he says that he killed each one with a single bullet. When questioned, logically, how that's even possible, Keith always says he was "selective".
Running parallel along the other length of the garage are tens of hooks designed to hang a specific piece of household equipment, and a shelf, fixed against the wall about two feet below the garage ceiling. The shelf is lined side-by-side with empty brown Bullet brand bourbon bottles, with space for maybe two or three more.
The back of the garage houses a small work bench and a meager set of tools. In the middle of the garage sits a wooden chair with a broken leg supported by a Dex local directory. On top of the chair, for three hours a weekday, sits Keith P. Dunderline.
Being chubby has never been easy in his line of work because of the amount and type of dust that he deals with. Every second that Keith is at work, sweat streams down his bald forehead and forearms like rain on a clean window pane. The second that sweat as salty as Keith's mixes with the variation of dust the that he works with, it turns into an ancient industrial Aztec mud-like consistency stronger than concrete. Post-work showers have never been so violent. His skin is constantly tender and bleeding in weird places because of how hard he has to scratch to remove the hardened filth. During routine weekly porch-hosted phone calls to his son in Arizona, he tells him that washing the sweat and dust crust off of his body is, "like scraping at the back of an alligator til' you hit caramel!".
His enthusiasm is indicative only of his enthusiasm for himself. He has always outwardly considered himself to be the most intelligent, resourceful, instinctive, charming, and comical person that he has ever known well... and that it's not because he is conceded, just a "spot-on judge of people"... including, and especially, himself.
(At this point in the story, it is important to recall that the only other two people that he has ever known "well" have been two insane runaway orphans in New Zealand that subsequently raised a shipwrecked orphan for eighteen years in a jungle treehouse on fish guts and stolen church cash.)
The single wall space that isn't covered with animal heads, bourbon bottles, and equipment hooks, is a seven-by-five inch picture frame that encases a single ticket from the first Norwegian cruise to ever take place, and a tattered handwritten letter from 1948. Late in the evening on July 14th 1966, Keith won what was supposed to be a friendly poker game at an old folks home while serving a court-ordered community service punishment that resulted from a public indecent exposure arrest just outside his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. Keith swindled a table full of Alzheimer's patients into calling his "all in!" bet with their room keys and directions to closet-hidden shoe boxes full of depression-era cash.
Keith used cash that he stole from medically-deprived helpless seniors to purchase a ticket to America on a lush cruise ship, and upon arriving to America for the first time, he literally urinated in his pants for several minutes.
Over the course of his first twenty-four hours in America, Keith:
- impregnated a woman, or so he is told by his now forty-six year old son, who lives in Arizona.
- strangled a neighborhood alley cat for staring at him like he was a wuss.
- broke in, and set afire to, the Statue of Liberty observatory office with a Molotov cocktail.
- bought a bus ticket that would take him across America to the Pacific Northwest.
From the sixties, through the nineties, Keith lived with various cults throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. He even led one in the eighties called "The Nepotist Movement" that was based upon his belief that you only get places in life through people you are related to. There was a lot of "relations" going on during the cults short sixth month lifespan. He obviously misunderstood the meaning of the word, but he always says that he learned a lot about himself while leading the fornication-based religion, and he found a way to make a significant amount of money in a very short time frame.
Keith eventually settled down in a two bedroom, single bath condo in Auburn Washington with his German shepherd, Terrance P. Dunderline, and opened a vacuum repair business from his garage.
At the conclusion of three intense years of searching for this mysterious man named Plunder, Keith wandered into a New Zealand cemetery and found a tombstone with two simple etchings into the rock, "Plunder" and "?". Keith immediately assumed that this was the man from the letter, and decided to live the rest of his life in Plunder's honor. It was a limited life to honor considering the only evidence that he had of Plunder's life was a letter containing a single trade, vacuum repairmanship. However, his name is represented each time he introduces himself, "Keith P. Dunderline".
So, this is the plump and loud man that lives in the condo across from me. This is his story.
Now, leave me alone about it.
Until next time: An honored life is a worthless journey, if your father was found dead on a baby whale gurney.