“They all look alike,” Cody said, glaring at the white pickup in Tina’s garage. “Well, gimme the key. I’ll reach in, throw it in neutral, and we can push it down the driveway.”
“We don’t have the key,” Tina said. “I flushed it down the toilet last night so it would stop bothering Kelly.” Kelly stood outside the garage, hugging herself and looking worried. “But it still bothers her.”
“Well shit, how are we gonna get it out of gear then?” Cody shook his head; his hair again fell across one eye. He swept it back. “Why don’t we just push on it? It might be out of gear already.”
“You think so?” Kelly asked.
“Might be worth a try.” He walked around to the front of the truck, leaned into the truck and pushed. “Oh, shut your pie hole, I don’t wanna be like you or anyone else,” Cody said to the truck. “Hey, I think it moved! C’mon guys, let’s shove this sucker out!” Tina joined him at the front of the truck. The two of them strained, and the truck started to roll. “Keep it going!” Cody spun around and put his back to the truck, pushing hard with his legs. The truck rolled out of the garage, onto the driveway, then gravity took over and it rolled faster, dropping Cody to the pavement. It rolled into the street, across, then hit the curb and rolled part way into the yard across the street.
“That oughtta do it,” Cody said, standing up and looking pleased with the minor mayhem. “I figure it’ll be gone in the morning.”
“Good,” Kelly said, glaring at the truck.
Cody jumped on his skateboard. “Where are you going?” Tina asked.
“Home, to get some tools. I want to have a look at what makes those things go.”
Tina and Kelly looked at each other as Cody rolled away. “He’s weird,” Kelly said. “But at least he’s not creepy. I’m not sure I’d date him though, even if he is the last boy on Earth.”
“We found one person,” Tina said, “and if we found one there’s bound to be more.”
Cody returned in about ten minutes, riding his “stunter” — a small bike with a tall seat post and handlebars — and carrying a tool bag slung over his shoulder. He rolled up the driveway then walked back down to the truck, now half in the street and half in the Gupta’s yard. Tina came out to watch, and thought about the Guptas for a moment — Indian immigrants, friendly enough in those brief encounters they had. They worked long hours and dreamed of taking their citizenship tests in a few more years. They must have driven away too — and what about their two children?
Cody reached a hand through the grille, felt around for a moment, then bent down and looked. “Where’s the hood latch on this stupid thing?” He stood and looked at the truck again. “Ah, crap!” he yelled, banging a ratchet on the pickup. “It’s all one piece! They didn’t even weld the hood shut, they just made it part of the body!”
“Yeah, you can’t get inside.” He turned away, looking disgusted, and walked up the driveway to his bicycle. “I guess I could get a blowtorch and try cutting it open, but I don’t care enough right now.
“Well, it’s been surreal. Guess I’ll go on back home. I’m on Crepe Myrtle if you need me — go back to Laurel Drive, turn right, follow it down to Crepe Myrtle, and turn right again. My place is on the left, the only one with lights. I might have the garage door open if I’ve been outside.”
“Do you want to stay for supper? You’ve been a really big help.”
“Nah. I appreciate the burgers, though. I get the idea that Kelly doesn’t want me around that much anyway. But that’s okay, I’ve never expected much of anything from people and I’m not gonna start now. Thanks again for the burgers.”
“Well, if you need us for any reason, you know where we are too. Let’s stay in touch, especially since there might not be more of us.”
“You really think that? I don’t. There’s gotta be more people out there. We just gotta find ’em.” Cody mounted his bike. “See you guys. Tomorrow sometime, I guess.” He rode away.
Conversations: Kelly Ball