The Man in the Truck: Segment 25

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We were in English class one day when my teacher asked us to recite a lyrical ballad in the front of the class which we could sing as a song if we wanted to, or as a poem site-read from heart. I flipped through the text pages until I got to a Medieval Scottish one titled "Get Up and Bar the Door", a 45 –line poem next to a black and white drawing of a husband, and a wife with a turban wrapped around her head. I read the story twice: about a couple during Christmas time whose door keeps opening from the wind and who make a pact that the next one who talks has to get up and bar it. “Stubborn,” I said at my book, about the two of them. I recited that poem back and forth to myself pretty much through the whole day and thought about the robbers that I read about, who came in and threatened to kiss the wife, and about the husband who yelled “No!” and who had to be the one to give in and shut the door.

I’d gotten the first through the fifth line down to memory by the time I was ready for lunch and when Sheedy asked me if the moving company that my dad hired had found my Enrico Iglesias look-alike cover porn, I replied "It fell about the Martinmas time/And agay time it was then,/When our goodwife got puddings to make/And she boiled them in the pan." And when I skipped the bus to walk the two miles home, I’d managed to recite from heart a full nine stanzas from the top of my head. When I slammed the door after the lucky charm Welcome mat, I threw my bags and raincoat in the corner, my mother yelled at me for throwing my muddy sneaks in a pile towards the cuff of her beige coat and I replied "Then by there came two gentlemen,/At twelve o'clock at night, /And neither could see house nor hall/Nor coal nor candlelight.""

When I was staring at the ceiling lying underneath my grey comforter, watching the hall light from under the slit of my door and hearing the shower running and Dobsons's feet sliding on its porcelain I recited, "Then said the man unto the other/"Here man, take my knife! Do ye takk aff the auld man's beard/And I'll kiss the Goodwife!""" I looked at the green number on my Panasonic, “4: 55”, in my t-shirt and underwear and walked through the 66 degree house to get tang from the percolator pitcher and I sat down at the table staring out the window blinds on a chain that I opened to watch the sprinklers hit the bushes at 5am and I switched to OJ with ice.

I said to the bushes, "O up then started our goodman/An angry man was he;/"Will ye kiss my wife before my een/And scad me with pudding-bree?" I got my literature book, held the covers shut and looked up at the hanging light treatments ensconced in frosted pyramid shells. I recited in ten minutes with bumps here and there, the ten stanzas of the poem, but I had to turn and look on page 94 for the twelfth one, "Then up and started our goodwife/gied three skips on the floor/"Goodman you've spoken the foremost word/Get up and bar the door!"". I closed my book, checked out the plastic coverings that my mother had hung over her white cookbook shelf and I said towards my parent’s front door, "I can keep my mouth shut for pretty long, but Ill show you stubborn enough to not take me with you.”

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