After some unsuccessful attempts to locate Sasha’s ex, I hatched a hypothetical scheme to get her address through her insurance company; Sasha had her Social Security number and other personal info. I surmised that an emergency fax of her policy would display this info. (DISCLAIMER: I neither endorse nor encourage violation of privacy or document theft.) However, GEICO had the added security layer of asking for a zip code. This information was not in Sasha’s data cache. The DMV also seemed to have some strict rules for information gathering. Addresses were not released.

“Fuck it, I’ll never find her.”

Somehow, I sensed he was right. Whatever she did to him, she’d moved on,while he was still laying shingles and hustling by any barely legal means he could find. Yet there was something compelling about this guy. At Home Depot, he somehow got into everyone’s face without being abrasive, cut in lines, and spoke out of turn with great impatience. I was the tempering force but I could tell Sasha was the kind of guy who had to fight to get his way, and because he was a poor communicator, for every success there were two failures or non-starters.

On Thursday, I took a day off so we could haul the demolition rubbish to Queens (supposedly the last dump open for business. After sawing my 300-pound cast-iron tub into three pieces, we loaded it into the rented Home Depot van along with about 40 bags of trash (“nothing,” according to Sasha, who wanted at least a ton to make the trip to Queens worthwhile). His promise of “at least $40” for the tub from the scrap metal yard in Gowanus turned into a $26 detour that didn’t even defray the cost of the van rental. Still, it was fun to race our van along the BQE to an old-school, Italian-run dump while Sasha regaled with me with questionable tales of sexual conquest involving young Ukranian girls servicing pools he was building in Staten Island and others, all of whom shared one trait: they all loved his “caliber,” which he fleshed out to be the shape and vigor of his member.

There’s something viscerally satisfying to tangible goals achieved through mechanical labor–waste removal, demolition, transportation of materials. Maybe it harkens back to an older time where our daily survival depended on concrete tasks: spearing an animal, building shelter, digging a well. It had nothing to do with “deliverables,” business meetings, and endless emails sent back and forth.


Ex-Soviet immigrant turned wanna-be scribe. I bite off more than I can chew, but at least I've got good teeth.

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