The Thing of the Week: Mr. Bucklefist – by Ryan Donahue.

old-men4Mr. Bucklefist drives to and from his job at the Johnston Landfill in a 1987 Cutlass Ciera. He used to tell people it was a Beretta, because he could rhyme that word with lots of words, but now the car is simply grey, with a blue door on the driver’s side. He likes his job. It treats him well. He picks things up, he puts things down. Sometimes he even keeps things. Brand new things. Like doors. And sprinklers. Mr. Bucklefist has a sprinkler collection like Yew wouldn’t believe. Yew is Mr. Bucklefist’s best friend.

When Mr. Bucklefist is not working as a Heavy Equipment Operator at the Johnston Landfill, he is a barstool bare-knuckle boxer. Highly respected in New England. In three years he’s won over a hundred fights, he’s lost only two, and he hasn’t fallen off a barstool once. He’s fast—Bucklefist can sting a bee first. One time he hit a guy so hard, the guy shit his pants on top of another guy before they both hit the ground. They call him SwingTooth because one swing and why’s your tooth on the floor get out of here this is SwingTooth Bucklefist you’re sittin’ across from. He sits on stools at five-feet-six-inches tall, weighs two-hundred-fifty pounds. Wears a red sports jacket that reads “Kansas City Cheifs.”

Sometimes it is necessary for Mr. Bucklefist to express himself inside his 1987 Cutlass Ciera to the people who work the drive-thru at Dunkin’ Donuts. “You think this is a game?” he tells them, pointing to his coupon. “I will shit on your family crest. Give me free munchkins or quit looking me in the face.” Then he takes off. Faster than the plague. He plays a soundtrack on his car stereo, so people hear his little world zooming by them on the streets.
Some people say he’s too fast for his own good.
“He’s too fast for his own good!”
See what I mean?
Today Mr. Bucklefist doesn’t take off. Today he parks his Cutlas Ciera and he walks inside to pee. “The world is a bake-off,” he says, “and I got all the dough.” And he pees. Then he washes his hands and admires his “Kansas City Cheifs” jacket in the mirror. He got it from his friend—a late relative of legendary quarterback Joe Montana—who had never been to Kansas City once.
Wait a minute.
What’s this?
Mr. Bucklefist doesn’t know what to think.
He’s not sure he saw what he just saw himself see. But it’s there. It’s there doing it. His left eye—that bastard left eye of his—it’s staring at his right eye. It won’t admit it but it is. He caught it. He caught that bastard taking peeks at his right eye in the mirror, and he can’t believe one second of it. He’ll never trust his left eye again. His right eye is all alone. It’s over. There’s nothing left to do. So he looks on as a spectator while his two eyes fight each other. For fifty seven years.

You can find more stuff from Ryan Donahue at @ryanjaydonahue

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