Sonorous, loud, long, deep, fart-like, if a fart were three dimensional and spectrum-wide.  I need to change that damn ringtone.  The name on the caller ID is Ed English.  He pumps the septic tanks in the mobile home park that I own in central New York.

“Mr. English.”

“I was in the park this week.”

“Oh, yeah.  JB told me.”

JB is the maintenance guy at that park.  He manages the park, along with a woman named Dee Dee.  Dee Dee handles money and people.  JB handles things.  I do what I can, but I live down-state, and I can not be in two places at once.

I have never met Ed in person.  I imagine him to be sixty-five or seventy, white, five eight to five ten, short, graying hair, a little heavy-set, with a creased face and Dickies work pants.  But he could look nothing like that and still look right.  Like a triangle that is neither equilateral nor isosceles nor right nor any other specific type of triangle, but that is still a plane figure enclosed by three straight lines.  He looks however a guy who pumps shit for a living looks.  He has a reputation for hard work, reliability, and honesty.  I have never heard him crack a joke or speak ill of anyone.

“I think you should pump those tanks once a year each, instead of every two.”

“If you think so. I defer to you.”

“If you do it once a year, I can keep the price at $200 a tank.  It will be more for the three-family tanks.”

$5,700 to pump all the tanks in the park.  Now once a year, every year, instead of once every two years.  Cha-ching, cha-ching.

“They were pretty full.”

“Better for it to not become an emergency.  What’s the perc rate in that park?”

“I think its that cheap toilet paper that people get at Walmart.”


“It stank to high heaven by Sheplerville.”


“Joe Shepler’s cousin?”

“Oh, yeah.  You know, Joe and his cousin hate each other’s guts.”

“Well, his tank was almost overflowing.  It stank like you wouldn’t believe.”

“I should buy him some higher-end toilet paper?”

“He has a Jaguar in his lot.”

“Re-he-ly?  His car is worth more than his home.”

“It’s an old one.  And a BMW, too.”

“Break My Window.”

“The Jaguar isn’t registered.”

“I’ll tell Dee Dee.  It’s like nailing Jell-O to the wall, getting these people to follow the rules.”

“He used to date my daughter.  When he took off his shoes, the whole house would stink.  That’s what I mean by ‘Sheplerville’.”

“He come over for Thanksgiving?”

“Hah-hah.  You should probably pump it once a year now.  That park’s old.”

“I thought it had a high perc rate by there.”

“I don’t know about that.”

“You have the address to send the invoice?”

“Oh, yeah.  I’ll get in there next year around March.  We don’t get much snow any more.  I can pump in the snow, anyhow.”


“That way, I can work it into the other schedules.  It’s cheaper for you and me that way.”


“Better not to wait too long.”


“I’ll let you know when I start it up next year.”

“Send me the bill for this job.”

“Oh, yeah.”

So it goes.  I need to start saving to pump the septics twice as often in that park.  And Shepler used to date Ed English’s daughter.



By John Kaufmann