Thursday, September 23, 2010



Daniel lived out on the end of the neighborhood by the old entrance sign that read in cursive Covered Bridge, carved into thick chipping slabs of grey stubborn ply wood that were posted on either side of the road deep into the ground, below the soft top soil and into the Georgia red clay. Daniel made you ache, deeply in your stomach below your diaphragm, when you ever saw him. No one ever saw another member of Daniel’s family. Just Daniel, out in the garage working on his salvaged junker that he one day hauled up the bleached driveway and into the garage with a silver pickup that no one had ever seen before, or he would be working on his ’85 Honda Rebel propped on it‘s center kickstand. Walk along the sidewalk by the driveway and without any doubt you would see him under his precious metal, laying there with his legs bent up, knees swaying in the air, tweeking and wrenching at the bolts and the hardware. The intensity with which he worked put beads of sweat up above his brow that would periodically need to be wiped away as they irritated his lashes that would flap and flutter and the little droplets would roll off the sides of his forehead and get soaked up in his sideburns or pool up around his ear as he lay. He was always working so hard. He kept a look on his face from it. It was a look like looking far off at something. If you didn’t know any better you would think he were angry all the time. He had eyes like black diamonds. You only ever saw them far off because you never came close to Daniel but you could see them stuck back in their holes and they would flash in the light of the streetlamp if you caught them at the right time, staring back at you from under the thinned out shadows casting out from the spot where he lay under the car.
Most of the boys on the block were coming up through school all in the same grade but Daniel was different. He was a year above them and only a handful of kids in the neighborhood could say that they were in the same grade as him. When all the kids were getting on Mr. Peaveys bus in eighth grade Daniel sat out on the curb by his mailbox and waited for the high school bus which followed sometime after and was driven by somebody but no one knew who. You would look out the open sliding windows from the back seat and follow him, as he was looking down, with your eyes as the bus rattled and bounced and pulled away around the corner, never losing sight of him until he was swallowed up by the weeping willow that grew right up close to the street on the Garcia’s front lawn. It was the mystery, the consistent silence he kept that kept you thinking about him all the way to the school. Your thoughts could run away with any number of ideas about Daniel that would keep you working on it for a good while. Through all the years and all the kids that lived on Iroquois while Daniel was there you couldn’t find a soul who could say anything more about him than that he worked hard at the things he loved from what you could tell by walking by his garage.
A long time off, years and years later Daniel moved to California and took his rebuilt Camaro and his Honda Rebel with him too. He found a job working security at nights for one of the docks and he found a woman who he loved. After work one day he went home and hit her on the right side of her face, landing just over the temple, with a brick from their unfinished patio out back. He put pieces of her into different black heavy duty garbage bags and took them to the wooded path by the 605 Southbound freeway at El Dorado park in Long Beach and buried them there real shallow, maybe two or three feet under and maybe twenty yards off the bike path. The bags didn’t get dug out by the dogs until the following Friday and no one saw the pieces laying on the path until Saturday morning. That was the last thing anyone from the neighborhood ever knew of hard working Daniel.

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