He’s worked for my family for 20 years. When the Eagles wrote “Desperado” they probably had some version of Stan in mind. We could have fixing fence for the entire agenda for the day and he would still show up in cowboy boots, riding chaps, and the lone rangers hat. If ever there was a victim of the times, Stan would be it. He’s been divorced three times. Excuse me, twice. His third wife shows up whenever the welfare check does. Im told she used to be quite attractive back in the day. But ever since she started practicing witchcraft (not even joking) her looks went downhill fast. Now whenever Stan mentions that they should get a divorce the waterworks start and he backs down. This only encourages her to show up whenever he receives his meager paycheck from either us, or U.S.
Im a little foggy on all the details, but apparently he came from money back east. His parents, brothers, sisters, and even children are all pretty well off. Stan is not. He lives in government housing and drives a miniature sea green Ford pickup truck thats in his sons name so his wife can’t steal it to buy booze and bed barflies. After his first marriage dissolved he apparently did what many men do, and went a little crazy. The solution for that of course, was pills. Downers to go to sleep and keep the voices at bay. Once he divorced a second time he got depressed and unable to get out of bed in the morning. The solution for that? MORE PILLS! Uppers to get up. As well as a prescription for nitroglycerin for his frequent heart attacks. My grandfather attempted to fire him once, but received a stern tongue lashing from the local priest. Apparently Stan threatened to kill himself in confessional. So like good catholics, we took him back in. But at least we’re going to heaven.
As far as job performance goes, Stan leaves much to be desired. For the past four years he has destroyed the transmission on the same blue dodge hay truck. He forgets to take it out of four wheel drive when he’s going down the highway at 70 miles an hour. I and another hand just got through replacing it. Again. When we decided to construct a fancy new cap gate to the entrance to our north western ranch, Stan let the brand new green swinging gate stay pristine for exactly three days before he ran a tractor into it. It still works. It just has a pretty severe bend in the middle. In the last year he seems to have lost his sense of balance while riding a horse. He’s left leaning. Not in a political sense. He leans to the left in his saddle until eventually he’s at a 45 degree angle. This would be rather amusing if it didn’t leave massive seeping wounds on the top of our horses. He’s scarred two this year. On our last riding exposition his horse knocked him onto the floor of the horse trailer (which thankfully for him, I had shoveled out the previous day) and I thought for sure he was going to be trampled.
A few days ago he called my grandfather to make sure he was on the feeding schedule. I worked with him the other day. I loaded probably eight square bales to his one. There comes a point where you have to pick them up off the ground to get them onto the wagon. These bales can weigh anywhere from 60-120 pounds. Therefore I was the obvious choice to fish them off the ground leaving him to stack them three tiers high on the wagon. I let him struggle for a good 5 minutes with lifting onto the final tier. Five minutes of “Mmmurph… Haaa…. You prick…” He calls the bales prick when they don’t magically lift themselves. Once the muffled farts started coming I decided to hop up there. A very sadistic and self serving recess of my brain hoped he would just die, but then I remembered I would be morally obligated to attempt to resuscitate the old bastard.
Fuck if I’m doing that. He smells like ditch weed and moldy clothes.
One man drives and the other rides on the wooden wagon, cutting strings and kicking off the now loose hay. While in the truck Stan almost never says a word. So neither do I. Before getting out to I make sure to tell him to put the truck in four low. I even make sure thats the gearing is correct. Alright ready to go. He manages to miss first gear on the main transmission and go straight to third. I think about yelling but decide its a good challenge. So out across the field we fly. I on my wooden rocket skateboard a dervish of strings, hay, and cattle…
Every once and a while though, he says something. Something profound. Something that makes you question if this really is the man you’ve made him out to be. But then… his eyes cloud over again, and he’s lost to his drugged stupor.