By John Sangster
from time to time become needy, call out for attention. The stereo drops
the left speaker in mid-song causing Dylan to withdraw even further into
himself. You peek behind the components rack–a hopeless tangle of
wires — tap the side of the preamp: What is it? What do you want?
Dylan stays hidden, his disembodied voice croaking from a distant
corner. The toilet runs, you rattle the handle, shutting it up for now.
Why can’t you be like Andrews, across the street? your wife wants to
know. She’s in the kitchen and you can hear water dripping. You look
through the window. Andrews is in his garage, surrounded by tools and
machinery, tinkering with his outboard motor. It’s not enough that you
provide for your family. Why can’t objects just do their job? Reverse
gear is acting up, she tells you. Last week the bag boy and some
stranger had to push her out of the Safeway lot. Maybe it’s a sign, you
think . . . Across the street Andrews gives the outboard a rip — he’s
clamped it in a brown plastic garbage can and the hose is running on the
sidewalk. Maybe it’s a sign, maybe we aren’t meant to go backwards —
just straight ahead, no matter what. The outboard roars to life, all blue
smoke and gushing water, as Andrews guns it in the garbage can.
Copyright 2001 John Sangster