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Vinny's Car

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     Vinny stands on the curb, perched over his beat up Honda that he values tremendously because, from afar, it could almost pass as a vintage BMW. When he drives through the shattered road towards his shattered home, his shattered neighbors always come outside. The dogs snarl after his car because they think it’s a sputtering, gas leaking bear and the children patter after him because they love hearing the wheels squeal. He perches over his beat up gray Honda because he’s the only one in the group who has a car that, from afar with a tilted head and a slight squint, can resemble a vintage BMW.
      Vinny sees Joe go staggering by, shedding cigarette particles and dirt. Joe is always staggering somewhere, but towards no specifics. He staggers out of bed, past his deflated wife, into his clothes, through the door, to his truck, past a day wasted digging and pulling and heaving and hauling, and back again. Always staggering through his bland circle of life, occasionally staggering upon a full beer or paycheck to help him stagger a little faster. Vinny treats Joe with familiarity, but wastes on him no friendship. He knows that Joe trades spit for dialogue and beer for food. He acknowledges Joe’s existence, however staggering and predictable it may be, and acknowledges that one day Joe will simply spin from his current wheel of life into an equally one dimensional death. On his gravestone will be “J O E.” Bland and in all capital letters with no date of birth or date of death because Joe is destined to simply appear and disappear.

      Nikki’s or Crystal’s or Star’s nails drum on the windowsill of his car, long and red nails painted over with glittering glue. He saw one of them fall off yesterday, clattering to the floor like a plastic tooth. He remembered because it bothered him that all she did was stick it right back on. Vinny thought she’d be shocked, ashamed even, that this intimate nakedness was exposed and he, some man she met the night before, saw it. That her nails were little salmon stumps and her eyes were slits separated by a lump of nose and her hair was so dyed it was stunted and her chest sagged and her knees wobbled and she went home with some man she’d met the night before at a bar where she was sitting raking her long red nails through wavy blonde streaks batting her thick eyelashes and fingering the necklace hanging over her inviting breasts. But she somehow did not seem to mind that parts of her were falling away, parts that he associated with her identity but were not even hers. Now that he thought about it, her name did not bounce off the tongue when he looked at her because what mother would name her child Nikki or Crystal or Star. He thought “trash” and he wanted her out of his car because his car resembled a vintage BMW, if you glanced from afar with a tilted head, a slight squint, and nothing to compare with, and her sitting there made it look like a beat up Honda.




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