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The Impossible

From the Evening Star, September 25, 1913. By Walt Mason.

My well had sort o’ lost its grip, the water smelled like paint; and every time I took a sip it nearly made me faint. I asked Jim Wax to fix the same, and offered him the mon (repairing cisterns is his game); he said, “It can’t be done.” He had a hundred reasons why repairs could not be made; and while three hours were dragging by those reasons he displayed.  A gorgeous web of sophistry and argument he spun, all ending with the stern decree: “It simply can’t be done.” And then Bill Bulger bowled along; I stopped him at my gate, and told him that my well was wrong, and would he make it straight? Bill Bulger squinted down the well, and asked when it was built, and said it had an ancient smell that made his whiskers wilt. “Your blamed old well needs cleaning out,” he said, with genial laugh; “I reckon it will cost about two dollars and a half.” “Go to it, then, my friend,” said I, “and you shall have the mon; I’m glad you do not tell me why the derned job can’t be done.” Bill Bulger always has a job, he earns the shining dimes; and I have never heard him sob a bit about hard times. Around Jim Wax dark troubles lurk, he’s the afflicted one; he’s always up against some work that simply can’t be done.

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