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by Paul Beckman

“Hi.”

“Hi back.”

“I live down the street and have a few little jobs I need taking care of and haven’t been able to find a handyman. Are you available after finishing hanging the sign you’re working on?”

“It’s not my field. Handyman is not my field.”

“What is your field?”

“I’m a problem solver. People come to me with a problem and I help them solve it.”

“Are you a shrink?”

“Not in the formal sense of the word. I’m a problem solver.”

“Is there a degree for this?”

“Life experience, common sense and street smarts are the things required for what I do.”

“Do you need a license from the state?”

“No. There are so few of us they haven’t gotten around to taxing us yet.”

“So let me get this straight — you just rode into town, rented this place and you’re going to put up a Problem Solver sign.”

“That comes pretty close to summing it up.”

“Have you had this business in other places before?”

“Yes, several times.”

“Were you successful?”

“Yes, very. I’m good at what I do.”

“Then why did you move?”

“Boredom, ready for a change of pace and place.”

“So you shuttered the doors, took down your sign and left?”

“Not exactly.”

“Then what?”

“I sold my practice and moved on to open a new one.”

“And one day you’ll sell this and move on?”

“It’s possible but you never know.”

“How much do you charge to solve a problem?”

“It’s like many other practices — sometimes by the job and sometimes by the hour. It all depends on the problem.”

“Well, like my needing a handyman say?”

“It’s not quite that simple to give you an answer now.”

“There’s something fishy here.”

“What do you mean?”

“This doesn’t smell right to me.”

“Are you saying that I don’t pass the standard smell test?”

“Yes. I guess that’s what I’m saying. I’m having a problem wrapping my head around this whole concept.”

“You’re also having a problem finding a handyman.”

“True, but that doesn’t change my problem with what you purport to do.”

“Here. Take my card and make an appointment and we can get that problem solved for you.”


Paul Beckman used to be a pin setter and many other things. These days he’s a Zeyde who writes, travels and takes pictures both above and beneath the water. He collects memories and punchboards. Some publishing credits: Pank, Connotation Press, Journal of Microliterature, Litro, Boston Literary Magazine, The Connecticut Review and other fine magazines online and in print. His new flash story collection, Peek, from Big Table Publishing, came out in February 2015 weighing in at 65 stories and 117 pages. It can be purchased from his published story website www.paulbeckmanstories.com or from Amazon.

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