When he was a boy, he rode with his father to a garage, really just a wooden shed. His father’s new truck needed some kind of repair. The mechanic, a man in a dirty T-shirt and jeans that he kept tugging up under his belly, worked for cash. The boy heard his Dad tell his Mom that he would need cash. It was something about the exhaust.
The shed’s floor was concrete, stained by oil so that it looked like a flat map of the world, all the blotches like continents. While he worked, the mechanic told a story about his dog, which had limped out of the shed and gone around back when they first arrived. The mechanic said the dog had been running off, chasing after bitches in heat. His father didn’t use words like that. “So,” the mechanic said, “I took the top of a tin can and cut his balls off. That fixed it.”
The sound of the phrase “top of a tin can” lodged in the boy. The world leapt up from the stained floor, jagged, shiny, sharp and populated by men such as this.