The Excess Cables

Of cables and consequences

It looked like an easy job, an easy job, that is, for experienced professionals. Clarence and Jed were anything but.

Experienced in nothing, amateurs in everything.

When Jed saw the low-hanging coiled cable, he had another so-called brilliant idea.

“Clarence, take a look around. What do you see?”

“That’s a loaded question, Jed. I see lots of things. I see a park, grass, trees…”

“No no no, ya bonehead,” Jed said. “Look up. What do you see?”

“Birds, cables, poles, clouds…”

“Stop right there. What did you say, cables? Look closer at the cables. Anything strange about them?”

Clarence scanned the electric and telephone wiring from pole to pole, and said, “No, just your garden-variety cabling.”

“Garden variety?” Jed said. “There’s no gardens around here. Let me spell it out for you, ya dimwit. See the cable? See the excess cable in a coiled loop hanging there right underneath the stretched out cable?”

“Sure. What of it?”

Jed said, “Now take a look at all of the coiled cable hanging down near each of the poles. Must be 100 or 200 yards of excess cable between each pole. We come here in the middle of the night with a long ladder, snip snip snip here and snip snip snip there in a dozen places or more, sell the excess cable, we’re in the money, my friend. In. The. Money.”

“Why the middle of the night? We can’t see anything then.”

“Uh, the cops for one, and nosy neighbors for another. Plus, nobody will notice their cable’s missing till the morning and then we’re long gone and counting all the dough. Capiche?”

“Where do we sell this cable to?”

“Do I have to spell everything out for you?”

“Yeah, sure, why not?”

“Inside those cables are copper wire. Extract the copper and sell it to a scrap metal store. Easy money.”

“If it’s so easy, why hasn’t anyone done it yet?”

“Because no one has come up with such a brilliant scheme like I have. Low hanging cable, get it?”

“Not really. It’s not like fruit where you can eat it. Wouldn’t it be easier just to get a job? I mean…”

“Bite your tongue, Clarence. I will not stoop to such mundane activities.”

“Yeah, but your last job got you two to four,” Clarence said.

“Very different. There were extenuating circumstances.”

“I don’t know what that means, but you tried to rob a bank in broad daylight.”

“See what I mean?” Jed said. “Completely different circumstances. This is in the middle of the night. No alarms. No armed security. No pesky bank tellers. Just you, me, a 30-foot ladder, and some wire cutters. That’s it.”

“And a truck to haul the ladder. And a place to sell the copper. And a way to get the copper out of the wire.”

“Yeah, I see what you mean. Hmm. Need to rethink this. What would I do without you, Buddy?”

“Another two to four probably.”


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