The Man in the Truck: story

Blog DirectorySegment 11: The Man in the Truck I was ditching gym class again with Sheedy and we were outside under the bleachers sitting on the concrete and blowing our smoke towards the away team’s bleachers, by the round water tower. “I have to go see my special educator during fifth period.” I blew smoke out harder this time and drew spirals in the sand near my sneakers. I let Sheedy have my cigarette and I turned to her to get a look of approval while I grabbed my down jacket from next to hers and huddled in while the cold air went through the wind tunnel that was between the concession stand and the set of stairs that went up to the scoreboards and regular seats. She chewed her gum and blew it out after she handed me a cigarette, then took it out and stretched and smeared it on the first step to her left, rubbing off the dirt from the grovel afterwards. She unwrapped another stick of gum and chewed it down until she could talk. “Why are you going? Come with Dan and I after 2 we’re gonna go by his brother’s house and listen to their new song in the basement.” I put my hand on my chin and thought of the pink test forms I’d filled out last time and how I’d have to sit in the nook in the yellow school desk listening to the paraprofessional translate my evaluation and I thought of the questions they asked me about response time, ability to listen for extended periods of time, productivity with organization, keeping dates and time right, and issues with short-term memory loss. And I didn’t want them to bring my parents in for missing my appointment this time and I didn’t want to be asked to the principal’s office while at my locker at the end of school in front of the peachy girl from my French class. So I nixed on Sheedy for going to her brother’s friends house after school saying that I wanted to get this over with and then we heard the second bell ring after the first one for sixth period and we hid behind the door to the girl’s bathroom until we saw kids going back and forth so that we could mix with them and go our separate ways, me to Geometry. I hopped into the special educator's room right at 2:00 ,I put my backpack on the top of a desk near another one stood standing till she told me what to do. She was sitting at her desk writing something in pencil carefully thumping on a work packet and not looking out to the left of her window where I wanted to look out now, see the hot guys from the lacrosse team down below hitting each other with their sticks. I even leaned forward to get a better look out the window where I saw an '87 black Camaro fire its engine loud through the road making the kids move out of the way. I didn't want to face what was next: her going through my score results with a fine sharpened pencil showing me the good news first then explaining most of the bad. I already knew what I had to know. Wasn't that enough? How was this helping? I sat down myself because she hadn't said anything yet and I was already tired. I should have gone with Sheedy when she'd asked and skipped this period, even if I did end up in the principal's office for it. I took out my own pencil from my zipper pocket and started chewing on the eraser while I leaned against the wall. I wanted to wad it up in my mouth and spit it out of her, for making a mess of things like this. But she finally lifted her head with her cropped brown hair and looked over at me. She'd be alright if she added black mascara under her lids, was wearing a leather jacket, some black lipstick and had cigarette breath. I could give her the book I just bought, Patti Smith's autobiography of her time with her and Fred Sonic or Smith from MC5 so she could get closer from having less far to go, you know to being okay to be around. She waved me over to get nearer to her and she took out a cough drop from her desk like I'd seen her do before and I could hear how it knocked against her teeth in between her going through a play-by-play of my scores..I'd really rather have been home watching the commentator on ESPN draw white lassos around the Pacer's. I thought about Sheedy, about the basement, about what the guys were sounding like down there right now. I thought about whatever. I thought about where the lacrosse players were going, about if the peachy girl in my French class had gotten more close to our teacher, close, and when she, Ms. Amstrom told me she was going to go over my math results, I looked around her room for more inspiration. I thought of the picture I saw in her frame, of her two daughters in red, white, and blue shirts, the beach behind them and when Ms. Amstrom pointed to the data spreadsheet with fifteen out of thirty-five problems wrong, I drowned her out to think about what kind of beach house they rented in that picture. Was it a shack? Did she like to ruff it on her vacations? Was it a family's home, like was it a place she had in the family? Was she rich?Did she have an inheritance coming her way? I checked her out all over again just when she was showing me the comparables, showing me my scores compared on average with the other students in my class. She was wearing a cashemere sweater and nice pants but I still couldn't tell if she came from money yet. I looked down at her purse to see if it had a label on it, watched her to see if she studied me because that was always a sign that someone was rich, when they looked at people like they didn't take long enough to get dressed in the morning. She looked at me weirdly at some point and I thought "yes..this is a sign" but then I took that back when she asked if I really understood all this. I got on board though and I told her I scored in the 25th percentile in math right? And this got her going onto something else till I got back to looking for clues to see if she was rich again. I sat on the curb in front of my house even though I had the key to get in. I was waiting for J to pull up in his truck, anything to get my mind off from being sore about Ms. Amstrom and that meeting. Yeah so I'd heard what'd she'd said, how couldn't I have? Some information seeped in and now I couldn't get rid of it. I picked out my mathbook from the zipper pocket in my bag and I started to tear up as I turned the pages of it. I'd stayed after school a few times, I'd listened in class, I'd worked on the problems, taken extra time to. Why couldn't I figure this stuff out? Suddenly it occured to me. I could ask J. He was practically a mechanic, always fixing his car on the weekends, handy underneath the car and interested in knowing how come a carborator made funny sounds sometimes during the cold months in the winter. He'd be good in math. I studied the first problem in my workbook, "The radius of a circle is 3 centimers what is the circle's circumference? I remembered that you could find the circumference of a circle by using C=2 (pi)r so I plugged in the 3 times the two and got C=2(pi)(3)=6 and felt a little bit more better about myself and the day and my test results. Then I shivered, went home and dialed up J after my fingers thawed out and while I set the electric oven on high so that the tea kettle would boil. Segment 12: The Man in the Truck Stepped into a crowded bar drinking a ‘Roman holiday’ (sweet vermouth, maraschino cherries, soda water, rum, bitters, paper umbrella to top it off), and I bumped through a bunch of girls till I made my way through the front to hear the music without earplugs. Sheedy was supposed to arrive any minute and I looked back on and on at the back door where she was supposed to be coming through, combing my hair back from the when it smelled too much like cigarette smoke and pot. We’d hot boxed it in the bathroom of the basement downstairs from the gym during an assembly that Sheedy didn’t feel like going to and during a pep rally where I didn’t care about seeing my sister do flips in the air. The guys gave us a real run-down of their first play and I put one sneaker on the other while I tried to play back the song I’d heard earlier that day before shaking my glass full of ice and no water left and going back up to the bar to get another one for free. Sheedy showed up late, real late back behind the stage with her hair cut short now and black mixing with people she didn’t’ know till she could make it up to the bar for shots. I was on my third drink now, swinging back and forth on a stool, playing with my Minnie mouse scarf and untying the red threads and wrapping them around the chipped nail polish of my first finger counting down time till she said something. She asked me if I wanted to come back and sit on a black box back stage so we could drink Handy margaritas but I’d been making eye contact across the bar for a while and I wanted to up my chances that in another drink or so I’d go up to him and he’d take me for someone who he’d wanna spend time around. It was cold in here every time someone would open the entrance door and I seemed to be sitting right by it when people came through looking for people they knew in the crowds. I hopped into the special educator's room right at 2:00 ,I put my backpack on the top of a desk near another one stood standing till she told me what to do. She was sitting at her desk writing something in pencil carefully thumping on a work packet and not looking out to the left of her window where I wanted to look out now, see the hot guys from the lacrosse team down below hitting each other with their sticks. I even leaned forward to get a better look out the window where I saw an '87 black Camaro fire its engine loud through the road making the kids move out of the way. I didn't want to face what was next: her going through my score results with a fine sharpened pencil showing me the good news first then explaining most of the bad. I already knew what I had to know. Wasn't that enough? How was this helping? I sat down myself because she hadn't said anything yet and I was already tired. I should have gone with Sheedy when she'd asked and skipped this period, even if I did end up in the principal's office for it. I took out my own pencil from my zipper pocket and started chewing on the eraser while I leaned against the wall. I wanted to wad it up in my mouth and spit it out of her, for making a mess of things like this. But she finally lifted her head with her cropped brown hair and looked over at me. She'd be alright if she added black mascara under her lids, was wearing a leather jacket, some black lipstick and had cigarette breath. I could give her the book I just bought, Patti Smith's autobiography of her time with her and Fred Sonic or Smith from MC5 so she could get closer from having less far to go, you know to being okay to be around. She waved me over to get nearer to her and she took out a cough drop from her desk like I'd seen her do before and I could hear how it knocked against her teeth in between her going through a play-by-play of my scores..I'd really rather have been home watching the commentator on ESPN draw white lassos around the Pacer's. I thought about Sheedy, about the basement, about what the guys were sounding like down there right now. I thought about whatever. I thought about where the lacrosse players were going, about if the peachy girl in my French class had gotten more close to our teacher, close, and when she, Ms. Amstrom told me she was going to go over my math results, I looked around her room for more inspiration. I thought of the picture I saw in her frame, of her two daughters in red, white, and blue shirts, the beach behind them and when Ms. Amstrom pointed to the data spreadsheet with fifteen out of thirty-five problems wrong, I drowned her out to think about what kind of beach house they rented in that picture. Was it a shack? Did she like to rough it on her vacations? Was it a family's home, like was it a place she had in the family? Was she rich?Did she have an inheritance coming her way? I checked her out all over again just when she was showing me the comparables, showing me my scores compared on average with the other students in my class. She was wearing a cashemere sweater and nice pants but I still couldn't tell if she came from money yet. I looked down at her purse to see if it had a label on it, watched her to see if she studied me because that was always a sign that someone was rich, when they looked at people like they didn't take long enough to get dressed in the morning. She looked at me weirdly at some point and I thought "yes..this is a sign" but then I took that back when she asked if I really understood all this. I got on board though and I told her I scored in the 25th percentile in math right? And this got her going onto something else till I got back to looking for clues to see if she was rich again. I sat on the curb in front of my house even though I had the key to get in. I was waiting for J to pull up in his truck, anything to get my mind off from being sore about Ms. Amstrom and that meeting. Yeah so I'd heard what'd she'd said, how couldn't I have? Some information seeped in and now I couldn't get rid of it. I picked out my mathbook from the zipper pocket in my bag and I started to tear up as I turned the pages of it. I'd stayed after school a few times, I'd listened in class, I'd worked on the problems, taken extra time to. Why couldn't I figure this stuff out? Suddenly it occured to me. I could ask J. He was practically a mechanic, always fixing his car on the weekends, handy underneath the car and interested in knowing how come a carborator made funny sounds sometimes during the cold months in the winter. He'd be good in math. I studied the first problem in my workbook, "The radius of a circle is 3 centimers what is the circle's circumference? I remembered that you could find the circumference of a circle by using C=2 (pi)r so I plugged in the 3 times the two and got C=2(pi)(3)=6 and felt a little bit more better about myself and the day and my test results. Then I shivered, went home and dialed up J after my fingers thawed out and while I set the electric oven on high so that the tea kettle would boil. Segment 13: The Man in the Truck Stepped into a crowded bar drinking a ‘Roman holiday’ (sweet vermouth, maraschino cherries, soda water, rum, bitters, paper umbrella to top it off), and I bumped through a bunch of girls till I made my way through the front to hear the music without earplugs. Sheedy was supposed to arrive any minute and I looked back on and on at the back door where she was supposed to be coming through, combing my hair back from the when it smelled too much like cigarette smoke and pot. We’d hot boxed it in the bathroom of the basement downstairs from the gym during an assembly that Sheedy didn’t feel like going to and during a pep rally where I didn’t care about seeing my sister do flips in the air. The guys gave us a real run-down of their first play and I put one sneaker on the other while I tried to play back the song I’d heard earlier that day before shaking my glass full of ice and no water left and going back up to the bar to get another one for free. Sheedy showed up late, real late back behind the stage with her hair cut short now and black mixing with people she didn’t’ know till she could make it up to the bar for shots. I was on my third drink now, swinging back and forth on a stool, playing with my Minnie mouse scarf and untying the red threads and wrapping them around the chipped nail polish of my first finger counting down time till she said something. She asked me if I wanted to come back and sit on a black box back stage so we could drink Handy margaritas but I’d been making eye contact across the bar for a while and I wanted to up my chances that in another drink or so I’d go up to him and he’d take me for someone who he’d wanna spend time around. It was cold in here every time someone would open the entrance door and I seemed to be sitting right by it when people came through looking for people they knew in the crowds.

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