Ronnie M. Adler

ancient graves

Garbage trucks had carried garbage, and school buses carried children. If it had been the other way around: if school buses had carried garbage and garbage trucks had carried children, we’d have had a different problem. But, thanks be to the dog of Egypt, they didn’t. They sounded, however, carrying the metal luggage of themselves up the hills, almost exactly the same before sunlight on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday morning. On Wednesday not: there were no garbage trucks running. The companies did not compete. Only buses. Which was strange for my little village. All the crows around there battled for scraps of road meat. Me, I never ate the stuff, didn’t touch any such carnage. The birds about they carried tufts of blue tarp strings to mend and to make their springtime nests. They didn’t care if it was synthetic plastic or organic twine, and neither did I. The lofty squirrels jumping from high tree limbs with their mouths full of last autumn’s leaves built their insulated empires expecting in their simple genes dearth and snow and sub-freezing temperatures. Any job I ever had had was lifting bales of trash from the roadside and heaving them into the back end of a truck, if I ever passed the test, which I did not. Too heavy. I wasn’t strong enough. But the gusto of anonymity, of nobody knowing me, it had appealed to me. As a former A+ student, with a traceable name, and higher degrees, I was not taken seriously enough, and subsequently by the short-arm of the government was fined by the courts 100,000 forints which I naturally refused to pay. In time, after many years, after strewing my trash out in the cobblestones along the curbside, I was ordered to be hanged by the feet until dead, against all reason, logic, and common sense—not on account of that per se, but on my perennial failure to ever have paid my taxes & flouting local ordinances.

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