A MAN CALLED HOME by Barry O’Farrell

Another car engine rebuild would be my new project; a muscle car engine. I learnt a valuable lesson from last time; I would need to enlist the help of the boys from the ‘burbs.

They may be from the poorest of the suburbs but when it comes to anything cars they have the combination of talent, experience, and automobile related jail time, to recommend them.

I thumped on the wall as I walked into Eric’s garage. Sure enough, Eric and Jake were both there. Jake was degreasing car parts, as usual. He looked up with a welcoming smile and tried to flick his straggly hair from his face, never pausing from his cleaning.

Eric was on the phone (Eric was always on the phone) trying to do deals. Unlikely deals. I’d tried to explain to him, the people who approached him had approached everyone else first. If they had all picked it over and couldn’t do the deal, Eric certainly couldn’t.

The other part of my logic told me, if Eric ever does make money from some unlikely deal, God forbid, we will never hear the end of it.

Eric finished up his phone call, and being habitually vain, took a quick glimpse at his blow dried, blonde self in a sliver of old mirror in the corner.

“That was my man Home asking my advice,” he explained to both of us importantly, “Home is thinking of trading in his car. He’s got two plans. Plan A is to find a buyer per word of mouth and not to go anywhere near the suburban car yards. He wants us to spread the word.”

“Yeah, and not give us any commission,” added Jake without looking up.

“Home’s Plan B is, spend some money and advertise for a private sale. Just now, I gave him a third plan. Jake, your brother knows some people who will do Home a deal.”

“Well, my brother, he deals with the suburban car yards too, but on a…um, different level. Say, apart from his car, how much cash has Home got?” was Jake’s pointed question, “Or are we talking about having to go and do some kind of strange deal with the Dubious Brothers?’

This really got Eric’s attention and he began to arc up with, “Who wants to start doing deals with the Dubious Brothers? Do you?”

“What sort of deals do the Dubious Brothers do?” I asked innocently.

“They get you stuff,” answered Eric.

“What sort of stuff?”

“Hard to get stuff.”

“Contraband?” I snapped at him.

“No. Hard to get stuff. Mainly paperwork,” was Eric’s surprising answer.

“Hard to get documents and stuff. You know. Drivers Licence, Rego papers, Roadworthy Certificate,” rattled off Jake.

“Yeah, Work Visa, Divorce Certificate, Marriage Certificate,” interrupted a smiling Eric as he continued with a flourish, “You want a wife?”

As I started to laugh, Jake came back with, ”They get you a cheap wife too. Nice and cheap. Not old. Not ugly. Well, not too old; not too ugly. Just right, to match your budget.”

“Now I’m scared you will send Home to do a deal with the Dubious Brothers on a car, and he will come back with a wife.”

“Or both,” they replied simultaneously.

“I don’t know if you guys frighten me or crack me up,” I concluded.

As our laughter began to die down, I directed my next question to both of them, ”I shouldn’t ask but is there anything the Dubious Bothers don’t do?”

“That’s where Jake comes in,” said Eric, “Doctor.”

I turned to face Jake who was now holding up a large, shiny spanner.

“OK,” I hesitated, “So you’re a Doctor now.”

“That’s right, yeah, I’m a surgeon,” was Jake’s less than convincing reply.

“So what sort of surgeon are you?”

“What do you mean?” replied Jake.

I seized the opening to quiz him. “Plastic surgeon? Gastric surgeon? Veterinary surgeon? What?”

“Amateur surgeon.” he said triumphantly holding up two large spanners, one in each hand.

I shook my head. “I don’t like the sound of that at all. Look, let’s get back to Home. I’ve got a different question now. Have either of you ever noticed that Home is Asian?” They both nodded.

“Can I ask you something? How does an Asian brother ever get a name like Home? I mean, during this whole conversation, he is Home. You never refer to him as “Home Boy” or “Homie” or anything like that, just Home.”

“Do you know what his real name is?” asked Eric.

“No. No, come to think of it, no, I don’t.”

“Well, I’ll tell you his name.”

“Spell it out,” chipped in Jake, helpfully.

“OK. You now how Asian people sometimes have three words in their name?” I nodded “Well, Home has three words, but I have to spell them out.”

“I’ll count ‘em down,” chanted Jake holding up one finger and calling, “First word.”

“T-A-I,” enunciated Eric.

“Second word,” yelled Jake now holding up two fingers.

”K-A-I.”

“Third and final word,” announced Jake officially.

“W-A-I,” said Eric.

”How would you pronounce that?” was Jake’s question.

“Um,” I started to fumble, “I’m not sure.”

Eric began to grin as he explained, “Well, when we were at school together, it came out as TAKEAWAY.”

Just as I started to get the joke, Jake blurted out, “But I’m the one who first changed his name to HOME DELIVERY!”

They both chuckled as Eric explained, “Which later just kind of abbreviated all by itself. And that’s how he became” he cued in Jake, but I saw it coming too so joined in the chorus, “A Man Called Home.”

Why would I trust these jokers to help me rebuild a muscle car engine? I thought to myself, but didn’t say out loud.


Barry O’Farrell (@BarryO_Tweet) is an Australian actor who sometimes writes. Barry’s stories have appeared in Cyclamens & Swords, The Flash Fiction Press, A Story In 100 Words, 101 Words, and 50 Word Stories. One of Barry’s short stories was runner up in the 2015 Arts Alliance competition.