it’s as if there is no end. I thought graves were only six feet deep, but I just keep on falling, and falling.
I got pulled over today, with Bean on my way home from Carolyn’s after doing some food shopping. The officer took my ID, and went back to his motorcycle as I sat there, nothing I could do except sit there, motionless, in awe at how fast my life is crumbling around me.
I see the tow truck pull into position across Polk, waiting for a break in traffic on Hayes to back up to me. The officer comes back to the window. Bean’s her usual happy self, comes up to my window to get some attention from him.
I push her back.
“You have a suspended license.”
Yeah, I know. I have for years. Been doing pretty well, too – until you noticed
my reg tags don’t sit exactly right. Good fucking eyes, I’ll give ya that.
I get out of Marlena, he tells me to get anything important out of the car.
Good. I’m not going to jail. Thought I was for sure.
I open the trunk, get my tool box, three sacks of groceries, my skates, Dremel bit kit, laptop, a syrofoam lined box I picked up a while ago to send, believe it or not, yogurt to Cole, the nice paper I got more of to write letters south on, my car jack, and last, Bean. As the wrecker hooks it’s evil talons around Marlena’s unsuspecting front tires, I realize I will never see her again. I pull off the rear hubcap as a momento, to go on the wall next to the grill of Cherry Bomb, my previous 280 SE, a deep maroon ’70. Two years older than Marlena. At least I’ll have something to remember the fun I had in her – the songs I sang with Cole, the places I went with Jess, everywhere I went with Bean, watching her enjoy the wind and lean into the curves like a pro.
I watch her as she’s towed away, and look at all the stuff I have. I ask the cop if he could call a cab, and I guess he does. I’m makins sure Bean stays close, as it’s a busy street, lots of people are walking by, it’s cold and windy and she’s just a bit nervous. Doesn’t really get it.
“I called a cab for you – a De Soto.”
“Will they take dogs?”
“Sure – she’s a service dog, right?”
“Yeah. She keeps me sane.”
“Good. Just tell them that. She seems sweet.”
Damn skippy, Mr. Officer.
He’s a nice enough guy, just doing his job. We even traded
brief stories about riding in the rain. I told him about
the monsoons in Phoenix after he mentioned he just might make
it back before it opens up here. He talked about Nevada.
Of course, I’d rather he be doing his job with a drug dealer or
one of those people who can’t seem to realize their turn signal
has been on for the last three blocks. Or anyone driving a Hummer.
“She’s the best. Ever.”
“Remember – a De Soto!” as he rides away.
Okay, a De Soto cab. Whatever. I’ll take the first one I see. It’s cold. Bean doesn’t really seem to dig this too much, but she’s being cool, just laying as much in the way on the sidewalk as possible. Occasionally one of the few people still walking around make a wide berth into the street to avoid her, sometimes I need to hod her as people pass. I see the uneasiness in their eyes as they look at her. She’s not wearing her trademark smile.
I don’t know how much time is passing, as I don’t have a cell or a watch – but it’s getting darker. I’m getting doubtful. I haven’t seen one available cab go by. I look at my stuff laid out on the sidewalk, try to configure in my mind how to some way carry it all to get to a better corner, but there is just too much, and it is too heavy. I’m not one to be intimidated by weight – I used to be a mover, years ago – but there just doesn’t seem to be a way to make this work. It would be too akward, regardless.
I look at my stuff. Maybe if I…
I try it. no. That won’t work. I wish my skates had laces, then I could just tie them together, throw them over my shoulder, and figure out the rest.
They don’t. I wait. There has to be a cab coming up this street sometime, right? I mean fuck – it’s a main thoroughfare!
Fuck it. I’ll figure it out. I hate waiting, especially when the wait seems futile. I won’t. I need to move to a better place.
I look at my things for about the tenth time. No way I can carry all of it.
I can carry those two paper bags in one hand, the 40 or so pounds of tools in the other. The other plastic bak I can string through the strap on my laptop bag, and I can squeeze the dremel kit inside of that, I hope… Yes. The paper fits easily inside. All hail many pockets. The skates… Wait. If I snap together the buckles, sting them through the laptop bag in the back…
It works. Bulky, bouncing, heavy, the stap cutting into my shoulder, but hell. It works. I lean down to pick up the two paper bags, then the toolbox, making sure Bean stays near. I don’t really give a fuck too much about the jack at this point, and the styrofoam lined box – hell, I’ll find another one of those, she will get her yogurt, damnit – but Marlena’s hubcap. There isn’t any way. I try, though.
I trudge off, Bean unleashed but doing well, if a bit skittish, and we make to cross Polk, 1/2 block away. We make it, and wait for the light. there is still heavy traffic, and I’m terrified for Bean, but she’s responsive, and still aware enough to listen and respond. I find myself canting the mantra “With me. With ME!” as she knows that is her call to stay close to me. There is a car jutting way out into the crosswalk, and we squeeze by it, me limping along with my load, and her, nervous as hell and frightened by the noise and what she must hear in my voice, almost darting out into the traffic flowing quickly up Hayes. She barely made a move before I bellowed my command again, but I believe I saw it happening, and thank the Gods, whe looked up at me, trusting, and listened. She veered back to me, stayed as close to my side as possible, and when we reached the curb the first thing I did was open my toolbox again and try to find something – anything – that would be able to be used as a leash, for her comfort and safety, and for my life. If she got hurt or killed…
I dug around and found the only thing possiboe – the cord for my Dremel motor. I tied it to her, the motor in my hand so as not to make her more uncomfortable by it banging against her, and we hobbled on. She was definitely more
secure, pulling away and sniffing all that she could, while I struggled to maintain a gtrip on the handle of my toolbox and the Dremel, three fingers for the box, the two strongest for Bean.
We made it safely to Van Ness and Hayes, me figuring that there would be plenty of cabs on Van Ness.
Then it started to drizzle. Then, it started to rain.
We ducked under a doorway, hefting the paper bags and the laptop case (which was essentially open, due to the Dremel kit inside) making sure they ere going to stay as dry as possible. One of those DPT guys that direct traffic came up to me and asked how I carried all that stuff. I told him I was looking for a cab, shortly before he took off.
I waited. After the seventh try, someone walking by agreed to let me use his cell to call a cab, and I did. I don’t know his name, but I won’t forget his face. he stood by while I dialed information for the number to Veterans, Dialed the number, realized that his phone is based in 510, dialed again with 415, waied on hold, and finall got the dispatcher. Cab on Van Ness and Hayes! Northwest corner.
“Just a bit!”
After a while, I noticed that Opera Plaza had a thing going on, and while no available cabs were coming down this way, there was a steady flow of them turning the corner, just a block away.
There wasn’t any cab coming for me – or if ther was, fuck ’em.
Heft. The strap bites into my shoulder again, but now, cold and wet, I can barely feel it. I need to get Bean and me home!
We make it to the corner, cross without too much incedent. On the other corner, the golden one, I notice the sidewalk is soaked. Looking for a drier spot, I find none, and contemplate putting the paper bags down. No. I can’t. They’re already wet, and if they go…
I set the toolbox down, and put the paper bags on top of that. Good thing it’s a bit tool box. Bad thing it can hold so much weight.
Five available cabs go by, see me wave, slow down and speed off.
Finally, one stops, accepts Bean as long as she stays on the floor, and gives us a ride home. I look at the time when I walk in the door. 6:55pm. I look at the time the ticket – and summons to court – was written. 4:06pm.
So, gone. Marlena, my beautiful car that transported Bean, my friends and myself where we needed to go. Gone, the only souce of income I had, working for Carolyn, who was incredibly generous and an absolute sweetheart, and who I loved working for making her home int what we see it could be. Gone, the dreams I had of restoring Marlena one day, when things were better, Gone, the trips with Bean out to the Ocean, and anywhere beyond walking distance.
Gone, so much. It seems as if there is no end as to what can be taken away, and I’m growing weary of these life trials. I keep telling myself that tomorrow might be better, and i know it can. It’s the one and only thing that kept me alive in the past…
but where the fuck is tomorrow?
My court date, just to maliciously twist the blade inside, is set for February 14th. 8:00am
Oh, but wait. I already fucked anything good happening on that day up already.
Damn good thing a bottle of Single Malt was in one of the bags I carried around.