John Jeremiah Sullivan manages to tell a marvelous story all about plumbing, with his prose taking you to the heart of his stinky dilemma and bringing to life the characters he finds to solve it. A fun tale that bounces along merrily.
Oh, Fran! I will never forget that man, the only man named Fran I ever met.
Let me try to summon and draw him as he was when I first set eyes on him.
He wore not cut-off shorts but those denim culottes that hang to your shins.
He wore a white T-shirt covered in stains. He wore white high-top sneakers.
Between the sneakers and denim culottes, his white gym socks were visible.
He was about five feet four and had a buzz cut. The top of his head was flat.
I mean, it was completely flat, to a degree where you couldn’t help noticing.
A vape pen hung from his neck—I don’t actually think Fran was a crackhead.
He moved slowly and was usually smiling. This wasn’t crackhead behavior.
To me he always gave off the distinctive vibe of the weed-pills-cigarettes man.
He looked at you dreamily as if he’d just woken up. He talked the same way.