The soda can rumbles in the bowels,
tumbling into the gaping mouth
into which I enter a hand
to protrude my sugar rush.
sssni-kah, then the slurp of an obnoxiously pleasing sip.
I let the carbonation tickle my tongue,
reveling in the effervescent sensation.
The smell of old tires,
malodorous oil and gasoline,
and stale cigarettes fill the air.
My vexatious sips go unperturbing the dense atmosphere
that thickens outside the small air-conditioned office
and into the gas station,
where the mutters and sputters of drills,
the squeaking and squawking of rotors and axles,
the interjections of swears and grunts
fill the air.
I peek through the dirty smudgy glass window in the door
to see grimy overalled ants meandering
under the body of our red mini-van
hiked up into the air like a figure skater,
suspended by the rusty clawed accompanist,
not a tremor of strain, unflinching,
letting the greasy men crawl underneath, hiking up her skirt
to examine her anatomy.
I walk outside and sit on a dusty tire stacked with others
on the side of the building--
some growing forlorn in tall grass
weaving in and out of the aperturous rim,
the fingers latching onto fissures and pulling it down
into the hungry earth.
Another slurp and I set the can down
to step onto my skateboard--
rolling across the gritty pavement,
snapping ollies and pop-shuv-its
to add my timbre to the cacophony
leaping out of the open garage doors.
I look over to the barbershop adjacent to the station--
The off-white single room squat allowing the cylindrical swirl
perpetually pirouetting atop the door-frame
to dazzle in a placid manner.
It is there I get my close trims
and pull a lollipop from the cavernous bowl
sitting atop the counter.
The barber, working silently behind his dull gray mustache
and dull gray eyes.
Outside the barbershop to the left,
Leicester Highway ambles onward,
diverging at a fork just ahead of the lot,
and the road adjacent that winds down my neighborhood,
I've never embarked down either divergent,
and I wonder which one is the less traveled.
(Frost, guide me.)
I go to the mailbox teetering on the edge of the highway
and hastily grab our mail,
the wind slapping at my ass as the cars whisk by
in their infinitesimal haste.
I feel like time slows once you step onto Juno Drive.
I turn around and saunter back to the station to see Billy,
my Working-Class Hero,
who I mostly see strolling up to the driver's side window
of our dull red mini-van
to loosely rest his arms crossed atop the window frame,
resting his sweaty forehead on his sticky hairy forearms.
his blackened hands with his greasy smile
behind a scruffy scattered beard caked with dirt and grime,
atop a dark red leather face--
but eyes bright and merry.
His laugh, a phlegmy two-pack-a-day sputter
hacking and pummeling through the van,
all the way to me in the backseat peeking around mom's shoulders
to catch a look at this superhero anomaly.
And his southern drawl wrenching out of lungs
caked in tar and exhaust fumes,
that torpid slur that executes like the garbled hum
of an Oldsmobile engine chugging restlessly--
His laugh, an engine that won't turn over, sputtering to life
but falling right back down into the dirt,
lying on the oil-stained cold concrete floors dirty boots slipping over
and sticking too like wads of gum.
The charismatic mechanic who knew the answer to all things,
always ready to flash me that crooked greasy smile
stretching across his ruddy leather face.
I step back onto my skateboard, with soda in hand,
mail in the other,
and silently say goodbye to my Greasy Eden
before making my way down Juno Drive
towards the first house on the left,
following the road as it snakes past the trees,
alongside the creek, around the bend,
and out of sight.