Weeds
Bev Vines-Haines
I work a weed patrol in Milwaukee.  By that, I really mean I am a supervisor in charge of hacking down poison ivy, ragweed, milkweed and all the other noxious plants that line the hills and banks where the railroad comes through town.

It’s a mystery to me how every urban area I have visited manages to run the trains through the most squalid, trash littered, poverty ridden, and unfit segments of society.  And then, as if there is some kind of collective pride, they hire folks like me to clear the view and frame the display for visitors.  If it was up to me I would let those weeds grow as high as possible.

But they sure don’t pay me for my opinion.  And why should I even care?  I’m a woman doing a man’s job and telling all these bums and temporaries how to do what the mayor wants done.  I don’t care a lot for men.  If they gave me absolute power I would ship most of them straight to hell. 

Caught old Bradley flashing an Amtrak the other day.  Jockeyed up all close to the tracks and whipped out his Johnson and wagged it around as the train passed by.  Really?  He can’t even get the barflies at Tony’s to look at that wrinkled thing on a Friday night.  Even if he buys them a beer.

Like I said, looking at tall weeds would be better.

Mine is not the best job in the world.  But I enjoy it in some weird sort of way. 

I wonder how it would look if we ran all the country’s trains through the upper crust parts of town.  Well-manicured lawns, primrose and azaleas.  Nice two and three story mansions with clean and happy children tumbling in play out in the yards.  I’d be out of work.

Of course I’m pulling your leg.  They will never expose those neighborhoods to a dirty, noisy train.  Or train people.  Or weed whackers.  Kind of a which came first deal like the chicken and the egg.  Did the riff raff build their shanties alongside the tracks?  Or did the trains plow through the riff raff?  I expect it was a little bit of both.  In every town.  All over this great USA. 

Maybe it’s a service for the traveling public.  Those who can afford to be mobile. Riding across country, voyeurs studying the metropolitan jungles, peeking out their safe thick window glass at the weed whackers, the sad little children and even the pitiful perverts who have to show their business to somebody.  Anybody.

I’ll just stick to my job without yielding to any necessity for answers.




First published: May 2016
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