They called him Mr. Blister, because he always showed up after the work was done. Mr. Blister is that person everyone works with, but doesn’t want to. He’s the hypochondriac who wants to tell you about his hemorrhoid operation, he’s the one who always leaves work early and comes late, he’s the boss’s relative, he’s the person who makes your job harder, and the one that steals the last donut.
Our Mr. Blister was supposed to work derricks, but he weren’t very handy. Well, maybe at avoiding work. For him, he could squeeze 15 minutes to smoke a cigarette. Eating involved a mini-vacation. I think he would have cut off his own arm with a dull knife—if he’d been clever enough to think of it—to avoid work. Course, cutting off his arm would have been work too, so he couldn’t have accomplished that.
And Mr. Blister was a sight to behold. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith show, but without Don Knotts’ rugged good looks. I’m trying to remember if he had hands, because they were always stuck in his front overall pockets. Even the time he sported that parrot on his shoulder. Now that was a funny.
What bar urinal our driller scraped Mr. Blister from, I don’t recall. I think he was a little embarrassed to admit. Maybe he was the driller’s brother-in-law. Hell, we never knew. Ah, and Mr. Blister loved to narrate his stories. When he wasn’t complaining about his lumbago, or his shin splints, arthritis, or twenty-odd other diseases, he was barking away with some tall tale he knew.
“I embalmed my own Daddy for his funeral,” he’d said one time while I was trying to eat a ham on rye with mustard, and we were waiting for the drill pipe to circulate down hole.
“Why would you want to do that?” Jake our driller had asked.
“Hell, I wanted it done right! I used to do that, when I was younger, so’s when Pa bought the farm I told old Bishop down at the King & Sons funeral parlor he weren’t laying a hand on Pa without me. He told me, if that’s the way I was going to be, I could do it all myself. So’s I did.”
Proud? The old geezer probably wouldn’t a died if he’d knowed that. I shook my head at the time and pointed out Mr. Blister’s socks to Paul, the lead tong hand. One was black with a white stripe, and one was argyle. Paul snickered. “What’s comical about that?” Mr. Blister asked, loafing in the rig’s doghouse peeling an apple.
“Nothing, George, I was thinking of something else,” Paul answered, biting his tongue. (Mr. Blister’s Christian name—seldom used behind his back—was George).
Mr. Blister pictured himself something of a Romeo also. Remember, even Barney Fife courted Thelma Lou. But Mr. Blister even sucked the enjoyment right out of nattering about sex—which among oil field topics—attracts men like flies on manure. There was a time when sex and Mr. Blister in the same sentence rang funny though.
The crew was over at Glen’s trailer drinking beer. I know you’re thinking, man, how unusual, a drilling rig crew drinking beer! We were all feeling as jovial as tics on a fat hot. We were on six and two, and tomorrow would be the start of our days off. We’d also been drinking successfully for over two hours fore Mr. Blister found us.
“You guys forgot to tell me where the party was,” he said as he rolled out of his Ford station wagon—one of those old ones with the fake wood panels. “I had to cruise all o’r town looking for you.”
“Man!” Glen smashed a beer can into his forehead squishing it down to the size of a Copenhagen tin. “Sorry, Blist…I mean Georrrge.” Glen laughed from under his thin, red mustache. Mr. Blister sauntered on up to the yard’s white picket gate. He looked ragged—even for Mr. Blister. Like his clothes had been used as a dog blanket. And dogs were attracted to him like stink on shit, as you’ll see. Mr. Blister carried a pager so he could be contacted without calling poor unfortunate Mrs. Blister. He told her he needed it because of the odd hours his job demanded, but truth is, he kept it ‘cause he slept around a lot on Mrs. Blister.
I know what you’re thinking. It is scary enough thinking Mrs. Blister put up with his sorry ass, but it was even scarier thinking he found women to cheat on her with. You wondered if they had, say, all their faculties, body parts, or both.
“I just left Dora’s house.” He spoke of the woman everyone else called Dumpy Dora. Some people in town had bets on when Dora would bathe; nobody had won yet. “Got me some!” That image alone called for everyone to chug another round. “Didn’t even have time to change clothes.” That, we could believe.
Mr. Blister stepped inside the gate. Next to avoiding work like a full-blown case of AIDS, he loved to flirt with other men’s wives. And Glen’s stood just inside the gate talking to one of the other spouses. None of us paid any mind to his flirtations. We figured if any of his bait caught fish, they weren’t worth keeping. Most times, when Mr. Blister was mentioned, Ugh! Was the first word that issued from a reasonable woman’s mouth. But this time his flirtations caught everyone’s attention, especially Farts, Glen’s beagle dog. Farts was named to emphasize the obvious?
Next to—his was about to engage in with Mr. Blister—honest to goodness farts, flatulations, were nothing. Apparently, when Mr. Blister had partaken of the prairie flower of Dumpy Dora he’d picked up a distinct aroma that TURNED FARTS ON!
I looked down, and while Mr. Blister flirted with Glen’s wife, Farts humped his leg. I mean major sex. Mr. Blister peered down. Still trying to remain cool, he shook his leg. Farts humped harder. That dog vibrated like one of those little monkeys that played the cymbals, only Mr. Blister was the cymbals. Mr. Blister shook. Farts pumped. Shake. Pump. Shake. Pump. Shake, shake. Pump, pump…shake.
Mr. Blister, unwilling to risk irritating Glen by hurting his dog, finally just shrugged and ignored Farts. By now, everyone roared in laughter. Glen’s wife laughed so hard she literally peed her Lee jeans. I guess Mr. Blister decided that the only way he was going to shake Farts was to leave; so he did. He managed back to his car with Glen’s dog still hanging from his leg. Mr. Blister developed a sailor’s walk as he carted Farts back to his station wagon, like he was trying to avoid the listing of a ship that was tilting in the waves. Farts just humped.
Then there was the day rig owner visited to check on his investment. The tool-pusher had warned us to be on our best behavior. That was his big mistake. Everyone was nervous watching the tool-pusher being nervous. Everyone that is: except Mr. Blister. Big wigs didn’t bother him. The tool-pusher noted a sleek, black Suburban cruising up to the location. He looked around, hoping probably that Mr. Blister had sensed work and was hiding out. But that wasn’t to be the tool-pusher’s luck.
Just as the owner’s vehicle drove up, Mr. Blister sauntered toward the pad (that’s the cleared area where the rig sits). He’d been out in the mesquite answering the call of nature. The rig was circulating so no one was really needed on the floor. Anyway, those free from labor had grouped around by the tool-pusher’s trailer to meet the owner. It was said he sometime gave out caps, cigars, and booze to impress his workers. So, the rig owner walks over, and right then Mr. Blister strolls up from doing his duty. In his usual boorish way, Blister crowded the owner and grabbed the man’s hand in a firm handshake. The owner stared…… Truth is, we all stared. And stared.
“Mr. Russell. It’s a pleasure,” Mr. Blister blasted before anyone else could speak. Everyone remained speechless. Why couldn’t he see it himself? Everyone else could. As Mr. Blister was talking—perched on his shoulder like a brown parrot, sat a huge brown turd. Everyone else stood like hamstrung calves. If it hadn’t been for the owner, we’d been rolling on the ground. Blister had taken down his clothes to relieve himself and crapped on his own coverall shoulder—never realizing it in his eagerness to horn in on meeting the boss—and it had stuck.
“Mr. Russell, like I said; it’s a pleasure to meet you. Why, my daddy did a little oil investing fore he died. God rest his soul!” Mr. Russell, like the rest of us, just stared at George, flabbergasted. Did that crap parrot have to squawk to raise Blister’s attention?
Actually, it probably more resembled a Bizarro Dairy Queen fudge sundae. You know the way they have that “little curl” on top when they halt pumping the ice cream. A piece of turd oozed down the front of his coveralls, and I kid you not, little yellow-bits of corn dripped down his shirtfront in the shit, but he were too involved in himself to notice.
“…well, that was before I helped embalm him. You know I helped embalm my own pap. You believe that, Mr. Russell? Right after I got back from two tours in ‘Nam.
“That so,” Mr. Russell finally managed.
“No shit!” said Mr. Blister.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” said Mr. Russell.