Friday, January 16, 2015

Stuff in My Drawers Day

As I'm hairline-deep in proposals and deliverables today, enjoy this "mood essay" I wrote twenty years ago for 12th Grade English class. I got an A, because my teacher was an easier grader than I ever was.

It was a worthless space of cracked pavement. The angry orange sun glared defiantly through the smog-ridden skies, casting harsh shadows behind prickly weeds that prodded their way through potholes in the disjunct concrete. A mangy grey alley cat with half an ear evaded the afternoon heat by squatting beneath the black and rust-crusted garbage bin. The warped lid hung by a single aged hinge, dragging across the ground. The stench of rotting meat and four-month-old vegetables permeated the air and hung like a bloated cadaver in the stifling suffocation of summer weather.

It was a worthless space of cracked pavement next to a peeling, wooden door with two broken locks. Above the door hung a sign with "GROCERY" stenciled on it in faded careless lettering. A cobwebbed assortment of metal scraps trailed from a sunburnt hook, created to jangle like a banshee in the wind (if there had been wind). The grimy brick walls and rough concrete ledges were the home to random splotches of graffiti and rodent excrement.

The day passed in monotony. Dirty buses and cars drove by, leaving their marks with cigarette butts, wasted newspapers, and styrofoam cups filled with tepid coffee. The stray cat made half-hearted attempts to maul the rodents which hung from some animal's entrails in the garbage bin. The squealing door never opened; the wind chimes were flaccid. The day passed in monotony.

At seven o' clock, an unshaven man drove up in a protesting, cumbersome vehicle. "WASTE MANAGEMENT" was scrawled across the dented side panels and scraps of breakfast and soft drink containers dominated the cramped darkness in the back. As the man in dingy red coveralls came to a stop, his tires jarred in a pothole and a half-torn black garbage bag was catapulted out of his truck and scattered across the cracked pavement. The man, who reeked of beer and pork rinds, flipped a ground cigarette butt out the window and his eyes indolently took in the overflowing garbage bin.

And when the light turned green, he drove on.

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