IN A SPREE OF STRESS RELIEVING PURCHASES, among other things, a big-ass-mother-fucker of a fireproof safe was sent, free on board shipping point, to the front door coupled with the postal service delivery man’s doorbell ring, all in under 48 hours. It was gray and though the dimensions were clearly marked in the product description, and empirically confirmed upon arrival, the volume seemed undelimited. The internal blackness, the void, seemed unchanged with even the aid of a flashlight.
The safe, which doubtless had to be taken up two flights of stairs, chipping paint and taking the “FUCK!”-word as collateral damage with each turn, was to secure every episode of Fox News that had ever aired, by way of backup hard drives filled to the max with his boys’ oration.
In my once sweat-through, now dry and crusted running clothes, on the other side of an oxymoronic easy ten-miler you only know how to say with a straight face after reaching a VDOT of at least 67 (see esoteric runners fitness guides), I’m the other half of the Work equation that's going to place this thing in the crow’s nest of the house, “We wouldn’t have to do this if your mother didn’t have to watch Good Morning America. I’m not into any spiritual voodoo, but you have to wonder why the morning Fox recordings fuck up all the time when she's watching her liberal opium.”, he said.
Though she wasn’t my mother, he’d reference our relationship as such almost exclusively, and I’d let it pass, because most mothers allocate a good percentage of their W-2 to their children’s fund, and though she had no biological continuity with the stem of a strand of my hair, she happened to satisfy this requirement.
Because no one else could be trusted, to be brave and pick a “hard position”, and tell the “capital “T” truth”, like these guys would, he wanted to archive the entire history of channel 46 and ensure its resilience if natural disaster struck. He wanted it for future generations. And incase this heaven on earth thing ever happened, which would surely disrupt “proper political thought”, he wanted a divine oracle for the King’s first term of eternity.
Up the stairs we moved with heavy lifting straps around our shoulders, and a three word staccato cadence to each step for him, “fuck-fuck-fuck” [step] “fuck-fuck-fuck” [step] “fuck-fuck-fuck” [step] “fuck-fuck-fuck” [step] “fuck-fuck-fuck” [step] “fuck-fuck-fuck” [step]. And on the drop at the top of the stairs an exhale and, “yeah”.
We picked it up again and moved it another 10 feet straight and five feet to the left before dropping it again. This time in the bathroom, below white beadboard doors that swung open when you pulled on the black handles, which revealed a cut in the wall that exposed the attic. With the strap’s length shortened, to allow a higher lift, the two of us squatted, setting up a graceless version of the bend and snap, and with an, “EEW YEAH MOTHER … FUCK ...ER” we attempted to drop it inside. However, we just banged the shit out of the wall, as the width of the safe was a bit longer than the width of the attic hole, so we let it down easy and instead of swearing, just said “oof” this time. “Stupid! Me! GAH! I should’ve measured this before I ordered.” Well, the length of the safe was a bit shorter than the width, and seeing the amount of work we’d put into it already, even a full refund would cost us too much at this point. So we shifted the position of the metal box, lifted once more and tried to push through again. And wouldn’t you know it, the safe was centimeters too large to slide in with total clearance. But Saul got that look in his eye, in the likeness of wrestling a fitted twin sheet sheet onto an unbeknownst extra long twin - a bed size whose mattress tag you know you’ve never been responsible for, and we pushed that big bitch in with all disregard for any drywall or paint integrity. On 4th down with 0 seconds to go, we pounded it in for a touchdown.
But the 30 minutes it took to perform the miracle of lifting a 400 pound titanium prison was only half of the ten total minutes he’d alloted for my day. Saul then started waving his hands around while he spoke, like a five foot tall principal conductor with syphilis trying to compensate for his lack of physicality and command, through dramatic episodes of flailing arms - the stuff of getting T-ed up in any organized basketball game. “Ok, great, this is just great! I can finally get on with my life now that this is here. Ok but now, we gotta run a wire from the safe to all the TVs”
“From the safe?”
“Yea I’m gonna put all my Fox News in there and I eventually want to be able to watch any episode on any TV in the house.”
“So I already removed the downstairs TV off the wall.”
“Which one downstairs?”
“Living room. I’m gonna feed the snake down to you. Where's the snake? Oh my God… did I leave in the garage? Fuck…”
And after saying the Fuck-word approximately 15 times, his surroundings grew tired of the hackneyed swear word and revealed the missing item. This is a tactic his father employed, and his father’s father before him. When frustrated, employing the same swear word, or a simple series, to inanimate objects will in time wear them out and they, that is the inanimate object, will in turn reveal themselves. It is important to, of course, not allow the inanimate object to know that you know they operate on these bounds.
“You gotta tape the cord down there to it, and I’ll pull it back up.”
“So go downstairs and make sure I don’t pull the wire too far up. I probably shoulda bought the 50 footer... I’ll be right above you yelling when to go.”
I moved slowly, disheveled, wondering how much over budget this “ten minute” project is going to take this time, what I’ll be able to will myself to as a response when Saul gives a sincere thank you to a project that was absolutely non-negotiable, and further how far the potential for a relationship is removed when your only function in life, in virtue of being a son to a father, is to be the legs and arms to whatever the content inside a safe thinks.
Daniel Erickson is a CPA living in Seattle, Washington.
"Untitled" by Kendall Hanselman