But she weren't no redhead, as she liked to say with the thickest goddamn east Texas accent that anyone could hear without immediately running for clover. No, she's what they called Fair in Sunday school, what they called Strawberry in High School. What they called "Oh crap she sunburns easy" in college. Very slight red tinge to her hair, and these great freckles. Small build, pale green eyes, strong Irish jaw. The very best of mongrel America, really.
I'd been staring at her freckles, talking about whatever, work and music and movies and people and alcohol and random things, when she says to me, so, she says, what the hell are you going to do for a living?
Me? I say. Me? I'm already doing it. I am a perpetual technician, a problem gatherer. Many like me, I say. What we do is, we find the problems. We collect them. Sometimes we solve them but the good ones we can't solve. They hang like a nail, they catch every free thought and if you're like me, I say, you obsess. You burn hours and days frustrated and annoyed. You call the problem names, you give up on it a hundred times, you fuck off and you get hammered and you try to forget it, and then.
And then? she asks.
And then, I say. And then, boom. You find the right slippery path and almost before you can explain the solution or how you got it, almost too fast to comprehend, you just snap the pieces together and everything sings. Just, and I snap my fingers. Just like that. All of a sudden, like. Getting hit by a bus, like.
Nope, I say, smiling. She knew the answer, of course. No, I say. Too goddamn easy.
Anyone can cheat, I say.
Everyone does, she says.
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