Segment 9: The Man in the Truck

6 years ago

Blog Directory We walked across the street and to the left of the garage in front of the door where I’d seen a neighbor of J’s come outside onto his front lawn to call his grey Persian cat Perdy to come inside two nights before dinner on a Tuesday. And so I walked passed the chain link fence with its handle mutiliated the wrong way, its door opened and I sat down on the wet grass feeling the cold of it rise up through the pockets of my grey jean Army pants where my cigarettes were and so I took them out and lit one. And I offered one to J already knowing what’d he say and as I lit the end of mine and saw the smoke rise and fall into the back of the red hood from my Driven for Calfornia Livin’ sweatshirt, he pulled me up by my arm and told me to head straight back through the molch in the yard pointing to a corner where a scratched up blue and white mosaic birdbath leaned like tree roots were uplifting it and telling it it was uninvited. He told me later that he’d heard a car coming up the street which sounded like it was motoring slow enough to pull into the driveway. He didn’t want us to be seen. I was still smoking, looking out over his yard onto the other side where the neighbor to the back of J’s ’ rhodedenron’s lived and I watched the light on over the neighbor’s green pool and also in the kitchen where a grey-haired balding man stood at his sink peeling carrots into a colander. There was yellowish wall paper behind him and a round wooden chesnut table to the right where I could see a portable television from which static faded in out with a picture on the screen. When I didn’t answer J’s question about where I came from and when I stopped enmeshing into the dirt the marbled garden stones that sunk into the arch at my black strap shoe’s foot , I could hear an announcer say “8 pm Central Standard time/9 pm Easter Standard Time”. I recalled the same voice which had commentated over college football between Valporaiso and Indiana U at the Labor Day home game on Friday at the university. I touched the water in the birdbath and it felt around sixty-five degrees and I wondered if the blue jays I’d seen huddling around the crumbs of granola and a banana peel in our school parking lot next to Mr. Fendimore’s Datsun had gone away already and I wondered where to, maybe Georgia, Florida, Texas. Some sunny place. And then I sat myself down leaning against the cut out diamonds of the wrought iron fence and hearing the metal stretch when the middle of its belly bent inside out to its opposite side. “Where you from,” J asked again. I smoked a few times before I said that we’d moved from Kentucky four months ago and I went back there in my mind and pinched my arm to not think of the broken porch screen where the locuses used to come in and eat my mother’s alfalfa plants growing next to our lumber cut in a corner. J said that he’d had a brother who had just gotten married there and he said he went to their wedding in Elizabethtown which was in the north-central part of the state and I said I lived west of there in Henderson, right near the southern Indiana border. And then he asked me what there was to do so I brought up the stories about Amed who was the son of the assistant minister at our church of the Lutheran Saints and how I used to sneak out with him during my mom’s choir practice during when she never seemed as comforted as when she was flanked in a blanket- a saddle-tan robe with the white collar buttoned too tight around her neck singing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Maybe that’s why she gave me hard times when I came back from going to Plaster Lake with Amed, taking up smoking and walking into the marshes outside of the one story parish house where the pastor lived, to kick under the water for empty cans of beer so we could turn them in for change at the gas station for more Camel menthols. J was getting sick of all this smoke talk and he turned his head towards the garage like he was hoping his dad would come out of the splintered brown side door call for him, to give him an excuse to go inside. So I got up with my beige canvas bag slung heavy from the extra math workbook my teacher had told me to take home and study. And I walked ahead of J and up to the curb to stop and see who was opening the cedar cabinets over the outdated colored wall oven and I saw my pink towel over someone’s head and knew that it was Cathy. I turned to say goodbye to J who was standing in front of his open garage door where his mother or father could come out and pick a bone with him for still standing there with me. I walked over to my yard where I was bound to open up my Algebra workbook and prove everything negative about me that Mr. Fendimore had summed about me so far, and show him that he was wrong.

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