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Another Problem

Arnold Ziffel

“Green Acres is the place to be.”

Arnold Ziffle’s fresh incision is itching. The old pickup’s ride ain’t what it once was. The thing rides over the ruts like an empty 50-gallon drum. The a/c as dead Lincoln’s great-grandfather.

“Farm livin’ is the life for me.”

The pills have been keeping the pain down to a dull ache.

“Land spreadin’ out so far and wide”

Arnold stares out the passenger window. Pig sweat starts dripping into his eyes. Worse than dull ache in his chest is the need for nicotine. The crushed, empty pack on the floor, like the dead remains of unpleasant memories.

“Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!” Bubbah pounds his arm rest and gets into it with gusto, swinging his scruffy black beard from side to side.

“…The chores.
…The stores.
…Fresh air.
…Times Square!”

Arnold once pretended to be a patient, friendly pig on TV. That was then, this is now. He turns slowly to the fat man driving next to him.

“Green Acheeeeeeee–errrrrrssss!”

“Fat man. HEY, FAT MAN.” There’s hate in his voice thick enough to spread on toast like butter.


“What’s black and blue and red all over?”

“Z’at some kinda pig joke?”

Arnold narrows his eyes. “Answer the question, Bubba. What’s black AND blue AND red all over?”

“Shit pig, I dunno. I’m only in this for the pills.”

“It’s your corpse, jackass, if you don’t stop singing that fucking song.” Arnold gives him a stare colder than eskimo ice cream then turns back to the window. Staring blankly at the dry, brown empty Texas plain.

The ride is quiet the rest of the roll to the smokes at the mini-mart. Still, it haunts him.

“You are my wife.
Good bye, city life.
Green Acres we are there.”

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