By Bradley Boykin
The town of Handyville was known throughout the state for its elaborate Memorial Day festivities, the centerpiece of which was the presentation of the coveted Handiest Handyman in Handyville Award. This year, the handsome trophy and 25-dollar Red Lobster gift certificate were going, once again, to local handyman Horace Handelman, winner of the previous 12 awards.
When the mayor called his name, the crowd erupted. Like he did every year, Handelman smiled grimly as the sons of Handyville scooped him from his seat and carried him to the stage while the town square rang with applause and chants of Handelman! Handelman! Handelman! Reluctantly, he shuffled to the podium as a fusillade of fireworks exploded overhead in the shape of a hammer. And when the recently crowned Little Miss Toolbox 2006 handed him the microphone in her sparkly gloved hand, Horace Handelman decided enough was enough.
“You know, when I first moved here, I thought Handyville was a great place to live and work,” Handelman said to the hundreds of beaming faces assembled before him. “And when I first won this award, I was honored.
"But then I found out you people really couldn’t care less about a nicely painted porch or correctly installed gutters. You just like my name ― my goddamn name."
The crowd began to rumble. "You know," Handelman continued, "I never get any compliments when I repair a garbage disposal or put up shelves or patch some drywall, but a day doesn't go by that a dozen people don't tell me what a great name I've got. I mean, what the fuck is wrong with this town?"
The crowd booed and hissed, but Handelman didn't care anymore. "To hell with you all!" he yelled, stepping down off the stage with both middle fingers defiantly aloft. And that was the last anyone in Handyville would ever see of Horace Handelman.
Meanwhile, at the back of the crowd, handyman Henry Handler salivated wildly at the thought of the Shrimp Lover’s Combo that would soon be his.
(Author Bradley Boykin is often beset by bothersome bees.)
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
By Bradley Boykin