Monday, August 20, 2012


            They’re digging up the Parkinson’s yard next door. I don’t know why. Nobody tells me anything and I don’t ask.
            I heard the truck—or trucks—arrive this morning in the dark, not even 6 o’clock—and the huff and wheeze of air brakes, a clang, something metal unhitching or opening, more wheezing, more metal, a single man’s voice.
            When I finally got up to see who had started my morning so early—6:14—I saw two white panel trucks, back door lids up, empty insides gaping, right in the Parkinson’s yard on the grass. The sun was still rising and the garish lights from the Murphy’s deck art on the other side of the Parkinson’s blinded me. But the trucks looked empty and were next to a digger on skids—not skids—what do you call those things? Paul would know. Where is Paul when I need him?
            I called him. What do you call . . . I couldn’t think how to describe it. You know, I said, on the bottom of the machine that digs holes.
            What are you talking about? he said.
            I could tell I had waked him up, another sensible human being against rising before the sun is fully in the sky.
            So I told him the whole thing as best I could, still not 6:20 in the morning and no coffee in sight. I’d have to brush my teeth before I felt human, put the water on, find the coffee—it always migrated to the last place I looked in the refrigerator.
            Anyway I told Paul about the gaping white trucks and the digger thing, the one man’s voice, although now I couldn’t see a soul out there. That’s what they do, I told him, wake a person up, then crawl back in bed themselves. I’ve heard that trucks have beds behind the cab. They crawl back in bed with a smile on their faces. I can just see it. And they leave that digger thing . . .
            Paul interrupted me in the middle of my explaining the digger thing. It’s not skids on the bottom. Does it have long flat pads that move it along, roll it along, that can go anywhere, like a tank?
            That’s it. I didn’t say it to Paul, my job to protect him, but what a thought—tanks invading our neighborhood, my very yard, in the middle of the night. Somebody should do something.
            I’m talking, I said.
            Mother? he interrupted me, talking too loudly.  He can’t seem to remember to modulate his voice. They’re called treads, he said, tractor treads.
            Oh, right, I said. Thank you. I felt so much better. I like to know the right word for everything. What are you doing up so early? You need your eight hours, I said, then hung up quickly so he’d remember I wasn’t one of those mothers who nag.

© 2012 Kathleen Coskran