Putty Knife



  • Molded plastic handle
  • Flexible aluminum blade
  • Really easy to clean

In the long autumn of 2001, I worked for a finicky ponytailed carpenter, restoring a century-old Victorian mansion across from Buena Vista Park in San Francisco. This man owned several exotic South American stringed instruments, which he strummed thoughtfully from time to time. He also often wore a gauzy sort of shower cap—whether for fashion or function, I was never sure.

One day at break time someone yelled, “Ay, cabrones—café y donuts!” and that was pretty great. But otherwise the days were foggy and the work monotonous. I was largely incompetent, but I tried to do as I was told. Generally this consisted of pulling rusty nails. Other times I chiseled out spots of rotted wood. On some special occasions, I was assigned to fill in those newly dug holes, using a special hardening spackle polymer.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Eli Horowitz

Eli Horowitz spent Thanksgiving with his family in Virginia. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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