In the usual park playground etiquette for men accompanying kids, men don’t talk to other men. We might nod to one another as we each stand watch around the playground equipment to say, “Yes, I see you fellow man at the playground,” but we usually don’t converse. It’s a quiet elevator among dads and grandpas at the park. One man, though, . . .
Twenty-six years later I still remember a teenager dancing. He was maybe 13 or 14, and one glance told me he was not the coolest kid in the lunchroom. He had a few unshaven wispy whiskers and a ragged haircut, and his bland t-shirt and shorts weren’t from the expensive shop at the mall. We were at a festival in a park, and a few sat in a drum . . .
When I run, I play a little movie in my mind. Here’s the scene: I’m running the Olympic marathon, and I’m winning. I’m on the last mile or two, way ahead of the person in second place. I see the stadium growing larger with every step. Crowds of people are along the route, yelling for me, and I run with energy, with power. I don’t drag myself . . .
Ben held his drill to the mark in the siding where he was planning on attaching the first number, and he said to Charlie, who was holding a toy drill three feet below him, “Ok, it’s going to get loud.” He pulled the trigger on the drill and watched as drill dust rained down on his son Charlie.
Charlie asked, “What is that, Daddy?”. . .
“Can we help you carry this to your truck?” the clerk asked Ben after he paid $19.95 for the baby pool.
“No,” Ben said. “I’m gonna carry it.”
“You alright getting it to your truck, alone?’
“I don’t have a truck. I’m just going to carry it.”
“Carry it where?”
“Home,” Ben said, as he nudged the door . . .
(I started with the idea of a moody noir story of a guy who runs at night, but I ended with this. So--well--apologies in advance, I guess.)
Steve’s grandpa used to say, on days like this, that the air hangs on you like a fart in a hot elevator. Steve laughs, hearing his grandpa’s voice in his head, but he couldn’t help but think of a . . .
In March or April, if you tried to buy toilet paper, yeast, and sanitizer you probably found an empty shelf in the store. The COVID-19 quarantine sent people into a panic over these things, and they disappeared from stores. There’s another hard-to-find quarantine item that you wouldn’t guess: sidewalk chalk. If you tried to buy sidewalk chalk . . .