Monday, November 14, 2005

A Slice of Crunklenut

The late fall sun, rising over beloved Crunklenut, Texas, finds the sleepy little town reluctantly casting off the night's hopeful dreams and stretching into full wakefulness.

Down on the corner of 1st and Elm, at the Fallon's Full-Service Gas-n-Go, the smell of coffee drifts through the doorway of the back office and intertwines with the everpresent scent of old oil and stale gasoline. "Tweed" Fallon, feeling even older than usual this morning swings his bare feet over the edge of the sagging military-surplus cot and recoils, sucking in his breath and coming fully awake as they touch the frigid concrete floor. He massages his tightly-clenched eyes with stained fingers that long ago stopped coming fully clean and tries to recapture some of the previous night's dream. There was warm sunlight and youth, flowers and the soft smile of a young french woman whose face he couldn't quite make out. All the other details were quickly evaporating in the crystalline morning insinuating itself through the gap in the tattered blinds. Dust dances in the narrow beam, as it falls on stacks of old papers, oil-stained boxes of used engine parts and the collected miscellany of the past six decades. Sighing, he rises slowly from his lonley bed, straightens out his rumpled bed-clothes, and shuffles with another new and unfamiliar ache to the pot of coffee that awaits him on the automatic burner.


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