Purdy, by Adam Bucholz

            Jim got up. He put his robe on and walked down the hallway past the dog. The animal snored. You could see her eyeballs move under her eyelids. A dog dreaming in the hallway ain’t a bad thing, Jim might’ve thought had he hung around and assessed the beast, but Jim was in the kitchen frying eggs on the General Electric stove.

            While the eggs crackled, Jim pulled the pepper and salt from the cupboard. He put them down, grabbed the oven mitt hanging from the tequila-bottle-fridge magnet and walked back towards the stove. Jim watched the pair of yokes change from yellow to pink. He slid his weathered hand in the mitt, took hold of the cast iron pan and spun his way towards the table.

            He tilted the pan over the plate so the eggs would slide off but they didn’t. He tilted it more and more but the eggs hung to the pan like a baby to a boob. He looked around for a fork or knife, something within arm’s reach he could use to scrape the eggs off the goddamned cast iron but there was nothing.

            Jim flipped the pan right side up and walked towards the silverware drawer that was once full of silverware but was now full of plastic McDonald’s knives and Taco Bell sporks. At the time his wife Sue had left him, Jim didn’t have any money but he did have silverware and a refurbed fifty-four Ford. With the blessing of a judge, Sue took the truck and the spoons and the knives and the forks. She went to Tucson, married a Mexican and had another kid, Shelby, the half-sister of Jim’s sixteen year old son, Little Teddy.

            Jim grabbed a spork and, pan in hand, headed back to the plate. He scraped off the eggs. The fiery-eyed yokes glared back at him, angry at being dislodged from their warm cast iron bed. With his wife and her bullshit in the back of his mind, Jim stared the eggs down. Under his gaze the left yoke broke and bled yellow over the thin, cool porcelain plate.

            Ten minutes later, Jim was done eating. He sat on the front stoop of the house smoking a menthol cigarette. He watched the five-fifteen sky give way to the five-sixteen sky. The air was cold and Jim could see his breath. Fag to his lips, he took a drag, blew it out and watched it float away, presumably to Tucson.

            Jim looked at his watch. It was five-twenty. He stood up and walked down the stoop’s concrete steps. He stopped, took one last pull off the Newport and snuffed it out on the asphalt driveway. He put the butt in his pocket because he didn’t want Little Teddy to see it.

            Jim made his way to the side of the garage. Detached from the house, it sat at the back of the lot. He opened the door, walked through the workshop and shimmied his way in between the sheetrockless wall and “Purdy,” Jim’s big rig. The garage was dark, poorly lit, but the truck glowed purple. It was a mean truck.

            A single green LED light glowed on the wall. Jim pressed it. The garage opener’s motor growled as it hauled up the door. Jim watched the dim morning light spill on the truck. Purdy seemed to smile as she looked down the driveway towards the road and the world.

            The door was fully open and Jim hopped in Purdy’s cab. He started her up, grabbed his log book from the glove compartment and stepped out. While the truck idled a voice came through its speakers. The radio was on and someone was talking about something or other but Jim didn’t hear it. He was half way down the driveway walking westward.

            Two plastic wrapped newspapers sat motionless about five feet from the street. Jim picked them up, turned round and headed back east. Jim slid the Financial Times out of its bag and looked over the pink paper’s headlines but found nothing of interest. “This is Teddy’s paper. I can’t get into this shit,” he thought. He looked up at the idling truck and could see that she was ready.

            He walked up the stoop of the house and opened the door. He stepped inside, set the papers on the counter and considered lifting another Newport from Kara’s purse. Kara was Little Teddy’s girlfriend, and she had spent the night but Jim thought the better of it. He left her purse and her cigarettes alone and stepped outside and into the humming truck.

            He lifted the brakes, put Purdy in gear and inched out the garage and onto the asphalt. Half way down the driveway the lowest branch of the big front yard pine blessed Purdy’s crown. “Five miles to the trailer and about a thousand to the coast,” thought Jim.

            Jim stopped the truck at the end of the driveway. He spun the radio dial, found an old country station and turned the treble up. He looked up the street and down it. No one to the right and nobody to the left. He pulled his foot off the brake and turned Purdy south.

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