Al Billings

Concrete boxes and trenches disfigure the grim spillways. The silvery sky above me beckons a team of giants who unfurl an enormous role of aluminum foil directly above me, draining the digital calories from my protesting camera.

I lean against my car and burn another cigarette while my wife visits a decrepit old friend whose wheezing, gasping roommates gaze into the dimming light of their rapidly evaporating lives, each of them shuffling through a tired charade conducted by the half-alive attendants and caregivers who clog the hallways with wheelchairs and passive-aggressive baby talk.

An aging Chicano biker tries to kick-start his Harley Sportster, but he can’t get his bike started right away and he loses the edgy menace he means to convey to me.

Suddenly, an enormous Santa Claus-red fire truck rumbles into the parking lot, a riot of primary colors burbling with washed and waxed authority. The firemen leap from the truck, shut it down and exchange a few comments. Ten minutes later they restart it and rumble away. I point my camera towards the berms and ditches that clog the drainage field, yearning for straight lines and perfect circles.

January 18, 2012 12:19 am

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