Cars, Trains, and Smoke Rings
Flash Fiction Magazine 2016
August 20, 2016
Harvey and me sat on the roof of his building in the projects. We had to shimmy up a tree to the branches and then use them ladder-like to get past the second floor and onto the flat asphalt roof. We watched the cars go by on the turnpike and talked. Sometimes, a trucker would look our way, and one or both of us would raise our hand and pull it down in a yanking movement, and the trucker would do the same, blowing his air horn, and then we’d wave to each other.
“With all these cars going by on the turnpike, and if you think of all the turnpikes and roads in the world, it seems as if they wouldn’t miss one measly little car. Don’t you think?” I asked Harvey.
“You’re hung up on that,” Harvey says. “You’re only thirteen and can’t drive anyway.”
“That’s beside the point,” I say.
The train tracks are between his building and the turnpike, and we sometimes flatten pennies or bottle caps by laying them on the tracks. We do the whistle movement when the engineer looks our way, and usually they blow their horn and wave and laugh, since they’re slowing down to pull into the Bridgeport station.
Harvey points to a man walking down the street towards the building we’re on. “That’s the Puerto Rican guy who just moved in. Him and his wife live two doors down from me. He comes home every day for lunch. My mother says he gets more than lunch.”
We can hear Spanish voices from an open window, and we scurry over and lay down atop the building in the area of their bedroom and lean over when Harvey tells me it’s okay. The guy was on top of his wife humping away, her legs straight up in the air, and she’s yelling in Spanish, and all the time her eyes are open, and she’s chewing gum looking at us looking at her. Finally, she gives a yell and pounds his back with her fists, and he collapses on her as she chews away.
He rolls off and grabs a cigarette from the pack on the floor and lights up and lies on his back and blows smoke rings, as she turns her back to us and puts her arm over his chest. He looks at me and Harvey, our faces upside down, and blows a smoke ring in our direction and winks.