Saturday, November 10, 2007

~Start-up by Cynthia~

Driving home, I thought about the presentation I made to a potential client. The group included six men, three women; five gung-ho company people, two wanna-bes, two know-nothings. Nine skeptics. Nine people who could make or break me. Nine I needed.

As I was reassessing, and doubting, my effort to drum up more business, I saw a pick-up truck in front of me.

"No, it couldn't be. I haven't seen one of those in decades."

Speeding up, I got close enough to see it was the same kind of truck my father drove to take us fishing.

Suddenly, I was eight years old again. My father was starting the engine, my brother and I were sitting in the front seat with him. This truck was finicky; you had to start it just right, or else it defied you. After the third turn of the key, it sounded like it was ready to go. Instead, the cab of the truck filled with a thick, acrid smoke. We bailed, leaving the doors open to clear the air.

My father waited a few minutes and tried again. The truck started up fine.Looking at us, dad said, "See, just keep trying. It'll work."

We made it to our fishing spot. We were quiet as we watched the lines - didn't want to scare the fish away. But when dad cleaned the fish, he'd talk. That's when we learned about his childhood, his dreams, his real world, his way of getting by.Now, as I passed the pick-up truck, I didn't look at the driver. I wanted my father to be driving. One more time, I needed him to tell me, "It'll work."

***What fine work all writers did on this piece. Please read Cynthia's gorgeous piece, then continue on to the additional writers' pieces in the comments section.***

5 comments:

Dragon said...

I was conceived in that truck, or so Mom says, and Dad drove it 30 miles to the hospital while she labored to bring me into the world. By a matter of minutes, I was very nearly born in that truck, Mom says.

That truck rode our family from Oklahoma to the San Joaquim Valley, up to Alaska and down to Alabama. I learned to drive in that truck, learned to change the spark plugs and the oil. I learned to kiss in that truck, at the Thunder Plain Drive-In. Kiss, and more, with a string of honest, sweaty, dirt-under-the-nails, earnest boys.

I drove that truck to college, the two semesters I managed to get through, and to the the factory that scooped me up when academia spit me out. I drove that truck across the Mexican border to do things I never told you about, and I drove that truck to the station downtown to post your bail.

So don't tell me women don't know nothing about trucks. Take my heart, take the dog, take the collection of Franklin Mint Harley-Davidson collectible figurines, take all our friends. You're not getting my goddamn truck.

Cynthia said...

Driving home, I thought about the presentation I made to a potential client. The group included six men, three women; five gung-ho company people, two wanna-bes, two know-nothings. Nine skeptics. Nine people who could make or break me. Nine I needed.

As I was reassessing, and doubting, my effort to drum up more business, I saw a pick-up truck in front of me.

"No, it couldn't be. I haven't seen one of those in decades."

Speeding up, I got close enough to see it was the same kind of truck my father drove to take us fishing.

Suddenly, I was eight years old again. My father was starting the engine, my brother and I were sitting in the front seat with him. This truck was finicky; you had to start it just right, or else it defied you. After the third turn of the key, it sounded like it was ready to go. Instead, the cab of the truck filled with a thick, acrid smoke. We bailed, leaving the doors open to clear the air.

My father waited a few minutes and tried again. The truck started up fine.

Looking at us, dad said, "See, just keep trying. It'll work."

We made it to our fishing spot. We were quiet as we watched the lines - didn't want to scare the fish away. But when dad cleaned the fish, he'd talk. That's when we learned about his childhood, his dreams, his real world, his way of getting by.

Now, as I passed the pick-up truck, I didn't look at the driver. I wanted my father to be driving. One more time, I needed him to tell me, "It'll work."

Comrade Kevin said...

The South is full of dying customs. To wit, no glossy brochure pushing progress, progress, progress will advertise such affairs. Though it pain you, dare to navigate away from the beaten path onto the Road Not Taken Much Anymore. Kindly pull off the interstate onto old Highway 63 and you can observe one of these dying rituals of them before it evaporates into pleasant memory.

Channel your inner sociologist or anthropologist if the spirit moves you. For the time being at least, fall brings the ritual of the Saturday morning outdoor yard sale. Along with a good fifteen yards or so of moo-moos, one can observe the changing of the leaves, the inevitable dark, lingering shadows, and an analytical discussion of the athletic prowess of the latest crop of eighteen to twenty-two year olds in pads.

The orange truck catty-corned to row upon row of bad clothing strung up by bailing wire belongs to some artisan of antique automobiles. There's one in every small town. The irony is not lost of me that such vehicles get, at best, seven miles per gallon of gasoline.

Guy Anthony De Marco said...

Johnny pulled Lynda's hair. She turned around and smacked him. Everyone looked forward, but old Mr. Dingle kept driving, apparently not paying attention to the unruly schoolkids.

"He's probably listening to the Ipod he took from Cynthia last week," said Bobby. His friends all bobbed their heads, agreeing with the sage insight.

Johnny flicked a booger at the Ansille twins. They both stood up, a big no-no on Dingle's bus, and began to shout obscenities at Johnny's disgusting behavior.

Mr. Dingle didn't say a thing, and the kids became nervous. He just sat there, behind the wheel, his eyes squinting or closed -- they couldn't tell because the mirror was vibrating too much.

At the first stop, five sets of parents watched the yellow schoolbus careen past the corner. The windshield, cleaned personally by Mr. Dingus, perfectly reflected the blue skies and the incoming telephone pole as the bus went off the road, accompanied by a children's chorus of screams and crying.

Clarke O'Gara said...

Sophie’s Game

“What’s that Sophie?” She was stood by the window facing the car park looking at an old fashioned car.

”Time machine,” she said in her beautifully innocent voice, “got it from the future.” She has bipolar disorder and learning difficulties, a difficult combination, it was the fifth time she’d been sectioned and she was staying for a while.

”From the future? You’ve been to the future?”

”No silly,” she turned to me with her bright infantile smile and youthful eyes, she was 34 years old, “they sent it back.”

“Who?”

“Some people from the future, it’s a game for them.”

”Oh. Why does it look like a car?”

“So none will touch it.” She answered as if it was a stupid question.

”When are you going to use it?” I asked, I needed to get a bigger picture of her delusion, it could be important.

”Not for a long time, I have to get better first, but they can help me learn.”

The last comment threw me off my train of thought a bit, the patients often did this, said things that smacked you with their humanity. Good thing really, not enough people saw them as human enough.

”How did you get them to send it?”

”Buried a message in the ground asking them to send one,” My silence urged her to continue, I didn’t understand, “so when someone dug it up in the future they read my request and sent it back to me.”

”Oh,” I rolled the theory over in my mind, I wasn’t an expert in physics, was that even possible? “where did you bury it?”

”Can’t tell you, if you dig it up it won’t work. I had to plant eleven in total in different places, the others didn’t get there.”

”Didn’t get there?”

”To the future.”

Sophie hasn’t left us yet, she doesn’t feel well enough, but in the last two weeks I haven’t been able to find the owner of that car.