Ephraim Kerlyque Complains
Yes, Ephraim Kerlyque complains. Every morning from 7:40 a.m. to well past noon. From his usual chair in the far corner of Dino’s Donuts & Dogs. In front of the big fly-specked and humidity-frosted plate glass. Overlooking the beat-up parking lot. And Ephraim’s rusted red pickup.
Ephraim complains about the government (he has dodged taxes for 63 years). Ephraim complains about Medicare (his monthly $748 check isn’t quite enough to cover those little blue pills he’s been hoarding for some hot weekend that will never arrive). Ephraim complains about all the youngsters that take this country’s freedoms for granted (he fought in the Big War, albeit from an air-conditioned desk in Kansas). Ephraim complains about waves of free-loading immigrants (his dad and uncles were first-generation Polish-Americans who used subsidized job-training to learn the tricks of Detroit assembly lines). Ephraim complains, then complains, and — finally — complains some more.
As you may have guessed, Ephraim complains whether or not he has any reasonable basis for complaining, and the vehemence of his complaining is all out of proportion to the issue at hand.
But who can really blame him? His kids live in faraway much-more-appealing cities and have involved lives of their own. His Euphemia has been gone lo these many years. He can’t stop peeing through the night, yet has been constipated for weeks. His lawn still looks like hell, despite four decades of fertilizer. That idiot across the cracked formica tabletop insists on always disagreeing with him. And there’s this funny new spot that seems to be spreading in his one armpit . . .
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