Excert 2

Chapter 25: The Caseworker Asks About Byron | Page 205

Jules had begun to refer to Butchy Guyette’s money-making schemes as “Butchy’s Billions.” Butchy’s plan to fix his wrecker truck and collect all the give-away junks between St. Johnsbury and White River had lost its steam.

They had installed the used transmission and a transfer case in the wrecker and rebuilt the brakes with parts Jules bought at Bond Auto Parts in Barre. But then the clutch plates on the winch had burned up when they tried to extract a 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88 from a swampy field behind a barn in Vershire. The farmer had said, “You can have it, you can git it,” and they had spent a good part of the morning digging clumps of mud from around the bumpers just to get a chain on it.

Butchy, guttural strings of curses bursting out of him and covered entirely with mud, refused to give up. They got the wrecker stuck for the second time trying to get close to the Olds. The farmer pulled them out a second time with his tractor, but warned, “If you git that truck mired agin’ you can git her out yerself.”

Butchy said that if they could lift her straight up, she would come out of there, so they set up a tripod of saplings cut from the tree line, suspended a pulley made from a rim they found in the trunk of the Olds with an iron bar for an axle set across, but the tripod collapsed under the pressure of the cable from the wrecker’s winch.

They almost had it out of the muck hole when the clutch plates on the winch started smoking. Butchy still wouldn’t give up. He used a comea-long to pull the car the rest of the way free. Finally, they drove home via back roads with their muddy prize chained tight, and illegally, to the bumper of the wrecker.

With ten man-hours into a junk car worth about fifty bucks, Jules figured they had made about five dollars an hour, less the gas, but they still had to parts the thing out to see the profit, and that didn’t include the cost of rebuilding the winch.

Nighttime temperatures had been dipping down into the forties, and some of the leaves along Cemetery Road were just turning rusty along the fringes. Butchy came home one Thursday afternoon in late August with two long-haired goats in the back of the white shark, and blurted out in his infectious, bushy-bearded excitement, “Jules, ol’ dog, check them goats out.”