May 8, 2007

Ball Bearings Part Two: We Ran


There was a man outside of our house with dark features and a taco for a right hand and we knew him-- the jags of cuts on his face were familiar to us, but fear completely eradicates memory-- but he was beating on our door looking for our mother. I gathered my sister in my arms and we ran. I, of course did the running. She was quiet and her face, when I could get a look at it every so often, was completely calm. I was praying.

His hand was a parody of a tale by the time I knew him. It was crafted of a hardened taco. The tale was all wehite whales and winter's freeze; a religious arc and a fastidious fandango of angry women seeking revenge. He lost that hand twelve separate ways asfar as I knew. My mother seemed cautious talking about him-- guarded as if she knew the real story. He would tip his cap as he circled our street. Every now and again, my father and I would be on the porch cracking tacos, and he would say "Smells like ball-bearings to me these days." My dad would normally reply, "Evening, Joe. It goes doesn't it?" "It does, sir. It certainly does."

I asked him what happened to his hand once. he sneered at me and said, "Wherwithall came and climed her for it's collection plate, boy. Get on, now. The woman awaits."

I remembered that as I ran, baby sister in hand. A man with a taco hand isn't so feared in daylight, of course. His predicament was the dominant force in me going back in the dark, though. I removed him from his life and mine. I decided there was no way he would defeat us. I would stand triumphantly in front of him and claim, right on the front steps, that my sister and I were very much in charge of our lives. He had no right to scare us. He needed to take his old scary hand and get on his damn self.

When I got back, my father was on the porch. He was drinking wheat germ beer with the old man. They were talking. I walked upstairs and put my sister in her crib. She cried when i walked away from her-- as if she were just getting used to my awkward teenage gait. I walked out to the porch. My dad handed me my first germ beer of my life. I looked at the old man. "I ain't meant nothin'. Just lost my way for a minute. She never really did nothing wrong." My dad piped up, "Joe, time for us to get on with it, no?" Joe got up, pressing on his actual hand to rise with knees cracking. He craned his neck toward my parents' bedroom. "Do apologize, now. I ain't... well, you know." "All will be forgiven, Joe. Get on, now."

My parents' light was on. My dad and I finished our germ beer. It tasted like old bread. I wasn't scared, per se, but I was still shaking from the effect. My father walked inside and I followed. His back's curvature sagging him slowly to the ground, he still could straighten up and look menacing. That's what I imagined us doing when Joe began beating-- looking quite bothered as if we were not to be disturbed. A disturbance was nothing but a minor annoyance to the men of the house while the women were supine and scared awaiting us to return.

We didn't see Joe for awhile and when we did, he was quieter and less creepy than I remembered, to be sure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that cartoon woman and or monkey/taco...what is it? where can i find it?
tell me more! - amy
i'll return thanks!