Sunday, February 24, 2013

~ You used ~


It didn't use to be this way. Grandma says, she does, back when she was little, it wasn't just a joke. You could rent them at the hardware store--you know, to clear the yard. Rent them for 19.99 for the day. It wasn't something to be funny about. Get a chainsaw, get your terrace-work done. Get a chainsaw, be responsible. Get the association off your back about those creeper vines. Get some exercise. It wasn't something to be funny about.

So I might be a little emotional about it. All the letters from the association, but they just don't rent chainsaws anymore. Grandma says they used to, back before what happened. At the hardware store down on fifteenth, even. Am I supposed to use those clippers, or maybe this big pair of scissors? Nobody likes using scissors on plants. It doesn't match, like trying to draw on a tree with a crayon. You need a chainsaw to clear creepers; I'm sure of it. Yard work, hard work, ties and rails, out at the farm, down at the shipyard. Wherever you need. Chainsaws, always chainsaws. Just press the button and the work is done, problem solved. That's what Grandma says. You used to be able to rent them.

It's like a meatloaf sandwich you find on the subway. 2AM, empty car, the seats are all white plastic cushions and the siding's all green, peeling off, you know, like it's been peeling for years and doesn't intend to go no further. Even if you pull. So there we were, sitting on the bench, me and Grandma, next to this old Jamaican guy. I knew he was Jamaican 'cause that's what his shirt said. And this sandwich, down there on the floor of the car, which was mostly empty--the car, not the sandwich--while we rattled past stops and the day just got longer. There's this meatloaf sandwich, hot and rich, on toasted panini, with russian dressing just spilling out the sides and avocado chips sitting on the plate next to it like they belongs there.

One of those nice plates, it was on. The kind of plates you get at restaurants where they can survive bein' dropped on the floor. Even the plate still looked hot. Ready to serve. The whole car smelled like meatloaf, and we were all eyein' that sandwich. Hadn't eat in come seven hours, by then. So, would you eat that sandwich? We know it's okay, because Grandma did, but back then, that day, we didn't know, and I didn't trust it, so I didn't.

Okay, it's nothing like the sandwich, but I wanted to talk about that sandwich. Grandma tried it. We thought it was from Luigi's, or maybe from the devil. Left there halfway through a delivery--by a carrier from Luigi's, probably, pretty certain about it, except why would it be on a plate and not in a bag?--and the car's empty, no bums, so all this time passes and no one ever eats it. But then Grandma sees it, and she's brave, 'cause she's from the old times. It looks real good, those bites, and halfway through she offered it to me and the Jamaican guy, but I wouldn't try none, and neither would he. Not even the chips. Grandma had it gone by our stop. She left the plate on the seat. That'll throw the next guy, right?

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