Arian Knops


3 mins
July 6, 2021

Today’s story is about something that in this era’s misguided political correctness lunacy is hardly ever spoken about. That thing, and I will consider it a thing, rather than a human being is slobs. They have become normal as any trip to the local Wal-Mart will prove. My friend George calls them Wal-Martians. I’m quite sure he doesn’t mean to insult any real Martians but uses them only as a reference to people who don’t realize how their method of dress can be offensive or confusing to the more civilized of the human race. It seems to have become fashionable of late to be a slob.

Back in the time before all of this political correctness mania, that time being the 1950s and 60s, the behavior of someone like the present-day Wal-Martians would be considered abhorrent. Women, back in those more enlightened times wore dresses both to church and to go shopping, no shorts, flip flops or undersized tank-tops. Men wore suits or at least a button-down shirt if they accompanied a woman on her daily routine.  Since I lived through those times, I will tell you that it was much more pleasant to talk to a lady in a dress than to one wearing dirty undersized pajamas in a store. Do those people in the filthy jammies ever look in a mirror? Or, maybe in the house of slob’s, mirrors don’t reflect reality.

Okay I’m done ranting. This is a story about a guy I knew back in 1967. His real last name was Hawkinson, but his nickname was ‘Hawkie’.  I didn’t ever learn his given Christian name since everyone called him Hawkie.

Hawkie was a semi-supervisor at the telephone company. He was short, squat, usually unshaven and the owner of more pair of dirty long-johns and bib-overalls than perhaps any other person on earth. He was also a union member and therefore safely entrenched in his job.

Hawkie also chewed tobacco. This was the juice producing stuff like Beech-Nut, or Big Kick, or Union Workman.  These products, I believe, were made from a lower grade tobacco than that of smoking tobacco, or maybe it was from the field where a pack of feral dogs ran through urinating on all the plants. In plain English it was the worst tobacco out there and not even fit to burn.

Hawkie also drooled. Copiously. The tobacco juice more often than not found its way out of the edges of his mouth and onto his bib overall or his underlying long johns. Hawkie was also a multi-millionaire. He owned numerous industrial and high-end rental properties. But true to his nature he did not live in one of the upscale properties that he owned.  

He lived, along with his wife, in a ramshackle houseboat anchored in the Mississippi river in a part of the Twin Cities known as Pig’s Eye, also home to the sewage treatment plant. Winter, spring, summer, fall he lived there because the boat wasn’t taxed as a residence. His houseboat was the first one upstream from the discharge pipe of the sewage treatment plant.

Late one winter night when the temperature hovered in the twenty below zero range my partner, a guy named Shoop, and I happened to pass by Hawkie’s abode and noted that all the water above Hawkie’s house was frozen solid and the water from the edge of his houseboat down was melted. I had a hard time believing that someone would live like that. We were sure it was Hawkie’s place since the bent up 1951 Chevrolet he drove to work had its tank heater plugged into an extension cord that led to the house.

We were still restocking our truck the next morning when Hawkie walked in the door. Shoop cornered Hawkie when he came in and told him of our trip past his home in the middle of the night. He then told him that I was confused as to the reason for all the water being melted below the house since everything above the house was frozen solid. In his B.S. story Shoop then told Hawkie that we decided to more thoroughly inspect the area for the reason for the melting of the water. “Hawkie, by George,” he said, “we walked down by the river and there we saw your underwear hanging in the river and all the water below them was melted.  Doesn’t’ your wife have a washing machine?”

This article was orginally reported by
Arian Knops

Arian is a short story contributor to the Sentinel & Rural News. Arian has written two full-length thrillers which have received critical and popular acclaim. Arian lives in Bruce, WI, with his charming wife, Arlene.