I can’t tell you his real name. Or where he lives. Or the real name of his business. He might kill me.
Once upon a time, in an earlier life, we ran up on a business card in a hardware store. “Mr. Honeydew. Can fix most anything. Give me your honey-do list.” That and a phone number. It was just corny enough that we took down the info and called him for a minor repair.
Mr. H. arrived more or less on time, if you know what I mean. Stood by his truck, chatting with my husband about the job. The house windows were open and after the preliminaries, I heard, “I’ve got my gun here with me. See it? I love that gun and I’m not afraid to use it. Man’s best friend is his gun. You never know what you might run into.” It didn’t sound particularly threatening at the time. We were in a place where the NRA flourished. He finished the job, did it well and charged a fair price. Talked the whole time he was working, non-stop. But we both tuned him out.
Months later, when we needed something else done we called him back. He had to work with my husband on this second job, as it really was a two-strong-men job. He chattered the whole time. About Viet Nam and how he’d learned all these ways to kill people. “I must know at least 100 ways to kill somebody. Just the other day, I was out in the country and saw a spot you could run somebody off the road and straight down into this big gulley. It’d be days before they ever even found ‘em. And if you could drive good enough, you could do it without a scratch to your vehicle.” They were at a point where they couldn’t stop, so my husband mumbled something like, “Hmmm. That’s really interesting.”
When he left, my husband said, “I really need him back for one more job. But I don’t want you here with him by yourself.” I’m pretty tough, survived two muggings, one where the guy had a gun at my head, back in my 20s. Raised a difficult child by myself. Did my own plumbing, when necessary. I didn’t argue.
A year or so later, we had one of those jobs that’s too big to do yourself, but not big enough to call a contractor. One more call to Mr. Honeydew. We stayed out of the way while he finished the job. Several hours later, I was sitting on the screen porch and he was not too far off, out by his truck, settling up with my husband. He was talking about how to kill somebody with your two fingers, through the eyes, right into the brain. I spied a daddy longlegs and cracked the door to set him outside.
“You know, if you ever wanted to kill somebody, you could just put one of those in a sandwich or something. Their mouths is too little to bite a human, but they are mighty poisonous. Yep, them daddy longlegs is more poisonous than a black widow. Two bites of that sandwich and they’d be gone.” He snapped his fingers. I just stared at him.
When he left, we realized that he really is crazy. Maybe from Nam, maybe from too much of some substance, or maybe from some unfortunate chemical malfunction in his brain. Whatever the cause, he is a nutcase. We never called him again. Heard from a few folks that he just likes to run his mouth.
It’s been a lot of years and I have no idea whether the man is alive or dead, walking the streets or locked in a padded cell somewhere. Just in case, I’ve disguised some things in this story. Because he just might kill me.