It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted. I’ve been flooded with writing jobs lately, I’m revising one of my own books, and I’ve been sending out short fiction to journals, magazines, contests etc. etc. etc. So what I’m trying to say is this: sorry I’ve been silent here on the old blog.
Tonight I break my silence. The inspiration for the following fictional piece comes from a scrap of particle board I saw leaning against a road sign in my neighborhood. I picked the board up and snuck it into my trash a few weeks ago. For some reason, I’m not sure what, I started thinking about that board as I was driving home yesterday. So as an exercise in creating symbolism, I wrote this:
The board sits there leaning on the sign at the corner of Turkey Trot Lane and Red Fox Drive. A month or two ago it had appeared in that spot. The top of the board is jagged. There’s a screw sticking out of the bottom corner.
A month ago it looked old. “From a dresser?” a friend asked as I took the corner driving up Turkey Trot Lane. “Or a table,” I said.
It still looks old. But now it’s weathered and grey too. Maybe it’s been longer than a month or two. But I can’t remember when I first saw it.
Other cars pass the board. I watched a car pass it a day ago when I was walking up the hill. And cars driving in front of me—they pass it too.
Maybe the driver was thinking, the one driving in front of me yesterday, hey, someone should pick that up. Why doesn’t anyone pick that up? That never would’ve happened years ago. People leaving trash out on the road. No respect.
But he didn’t slow down. He didn’t stop.
Or maybe he didn’t see it at all. That’s more likely. He didn’t see it. Maybe he saw it a month or two ago when the board first showed up. But he doesn’t see it now. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t see it most days either. Today it caught my eye, but most days—
Anyway, I know I should pick it up. Some days, when I see it, I think to myself, just stop and pick it up. Put it in the dumpster. It’ll take a second—that’s it. It’ll only take a second. But then I take the turn up Turkey Trot and the board is gone. It’ll be there tomorrow, I think. Someone’ll get it.
So here I am today about to take the turn on Turkey Trot Lane. The board is there leaning against the sign. It leans there and I can’t help but make comparisons. It leans there like the dentist appointment I need to make. It leans there like some sad kid whose dad won’t come to see his baseball game. It leans there like global warming or carbon emissions. Maybe it leans it there like that extra ten or twenty pounds we all wear on our gut. Or maybe—I could go on and on but I think that’s enough.
As I approach the turn I slow down. I notice the board leaning against the sign. I take the turn. It’ll be there tomorrow. Someone’ll get it.