Sunday, March 30, 2008

Shower County

By Matthew Sanborn Smith

It never rained out here anymore. Crops died, cattle followed. There were no clouds to seed and a rainmaker had run off with a nice chunk of the county’s change, though we kept the one ear that we tore off of him before he escaped. The ear didn’t attract any rain either.

Bob Miller’s son ran an engineering firm in Arizona and those folks had come up with one heck of an idea out there. The county commissioners flew out for a day to see how it worked and they liked it so much they sold it to the rest of us on pure excitement. The project was one year in the making and that was a tough year, but Bob’s boy sold us water on the cheap until we could get on our feet. When it was all done, we had ourselves a showerhead in the sky, thirty miles in diameter.

There was a big faucet-turning ceremony and everybody came out, all the kids, both pastors and the Grindlers even brought one of their cows. It was a good thing we were all there, because a faucet that size needed every available back to turn it. And then we had rain. For the first time in nearly two years we had a downpour to heal our dry, cracked earth. A couple crazies stripped off their clothes. They’d brought bars of soap with them and lathered up right there in front of everyone. Luckily, the sheriff was there too.

A land that dry won’t soak up the water that quick and to be honest, we were so happy to see rain that not a one of us wanted to be the one that said stop. Wasn’t long before we had another problem on our hands. Bob got on the phone.

His son said it was no problem. They’d run into the same thing in Arizona. His contractor rolled back into town a few days later. While we waited, they hauled out as much water as their tankers could carry. In a few months we had a nice big water drain, half as big as the showerhead and placed strategically in the lowlands.

It all seems like a happy story all wrapped up, but there’s things that most people, going about their daily lives, don’t consider. Like who’s going to clean out that drain? Sad to say, that job’s mine. Gives me the shivers every time I go down there. Where those giant hairs come from, I don’t want to know.

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