Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Cobbler

 I gathered my things to make the bus. I zipped my hooded sweatshirt 
and buttoned my jacket. I popped the collar to protect my exposed 
jugular. I could retract my head into the semi-circle it created if it 
got really cold. I covered my ears with large headphones. I never 
started the music. I crossed Ashland, eyes fixed on a tow truck. It 
was an old Ford F-450 diesel-heavy duty in its glory days. Its rear 
end was sunk to the street, with no vehicle in its vice. The hazards 
flashed and the rectangular three colored siren blurted its signal 
silently. The front end was pointed straight to the sky. Trying to get 
to heaven but gravity or fate pulled it the other way. It wanted to 
sink through the asphalt. The wheel wells were a foot and a half above 
the tops of the front tires. It was perfectly sloped at forty-five 
degrees-bumper to bumper. The driver wore a one-piece Carhartt that 
looked like it had been through a meat grinder and spit into a puddle 
of twelve day old piss. As he surveyed the relic for possible clues to 
its malfunction, he stopped, stooped, listened, and stared. I stared. 
I wondered what made the truck give up. I knew that it was the middle 
of the day. I knew that it was crucial for this man to have this truck 
in working order to survive. He wouldn't be driving that thing if it 
was not essential. It was a half-assed navy blue one ton with a faded 
orange pin striping. He found something. He re-positioned himself on 
his back and pulled himself under the slanted frame of the truck. I 
couldn't see the actual parts he was fidgeting with- I struggled to 
answer my curiosities. The bus was coming. I could see the highlighted 
letters streaming across its forehead. Its big bug eyes disguising the 
faceless silhouette of the driver. It was at the underpass. Four 
hundred yards from my stop. Two hundred fifty yards from the hazard. 
As the more agile cars darted and slipped alongside the trap created 
by the dead horse, the bus continued getting larger-showing both 
lenses of its square shaped sunglasses. The man in tan did the Chinese 
fire drill and tried to get it turn over. The headlights went on and 
it coughed coughed coughed and roared. It was awake-the bus didn't 
even slow. It was within fifty yards. As soon as he put it in gear, 
the music began that was a horn first. It had the cello next. Followed 
by the flute. It was now summer in California. The tow trucked 
transformed into an El Camino. The sun painted its quarter panel in 
its original midnight blue, emblazoned with a  clementine impasto. It 
wisp away down Ashland and brought the weather with it. The cold 
slapped me and the bus doors opened in front of me, revealing the true 
identity of the driver for the first and last time. I knew if I were 
to see that driver again, I would think that I may have rode with them 
before-but it was only a maybe and that I would never know. I never 
gave them that much acknowledgement. I would give them the same once 
over glance that they would return to me. I was on my way to the 

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