A couple days ago, in the morning, pretty early, I got a phone call from an older woman it seemed like. She left a message. She's in Salem, she said, and has a pet fence.
white She said, You put my electric pet fence in 18 years ago and some painters dropped a ladder and it severed the line, 13 Lynn Street. Remember? If not I have the paperwork.
white She said she needed two more collars for two older cocker spaniels who are good, but still need the collars. It would make her feel better.
white The phone number I have, my phone number for the last 16 years at least, used to be this other guy's phone number—I guess he installed residential electric pet fences all around the North Shore. It also belonged to a guy named Bruce Adams at some point too. I get calls for Bruce and for the electric pet fence guy—I forget his name—all the time.
white His name might've been Bruce Adams too.
white There are probably a lot of Bruce Adams'.


This morning, he pours some juice, walks to the table, sneezes, tries to stifle it and spills some juice. And again a sneeze starts coming on, tries to stifle it, spills, sneezes, tries to stifle it, spills. Now the cup's empty. Shit. Juice is kind of expensive. And this always happens.


If it's rainy I spend the day inside, instead of outside on my lawn chair. If it's windy too, I can hear nuts and acorns rain down on the metal roof of the house. I often sense or see at least a speck of regret in the distance, visible though.
white On rainy days sometimes I go into town. Sometimes it's so slow shopkeepers visit each other. They pop into the neighboring shop to say, How's it going? or Getting reading for next month?—next month being the beginning of busy season.
white A small tourist town.
white Souvenir shops, sandwich shops, coffee shops.
white A small grocer.
white The pizza shop.
white Sometimes you catch 2, 3, 4 shopkeepers speaking candidly with each other.
white I want so badly to be let in on it.
white They quiet up and go back to their shops when they hear the bell over their doors.