Sunday, May 02, 2010

Spare Change

Last night: I parked my car in the lot next to my apartment building. My car has been broken in there already, windows smashed out, CDs stolen, belongings rifled. Along with my roommate's car. And my fiance's car. Market Square is a hot area for theft and vandalism lately, now that warm weather has moved in. A few weeks ago, the side of my building was tagged brusquely by 'ALOT,' a local graffiti artist or artists. The piece appeared to take all of 25 seconds. Surveying the neighborhood later, I found several other instances of ALOT on electrical control boxes, utility poles, and, unfortunately, on the neighboring Hansa Import Haus.

As I stepped out of my car, three teenaged boys walked past, carrying a couple pies from Pizza Hut over on W. 25th. I heard the jangle of spare change cast upon the sidewalk. The youths continued down Lorain. I watched as one of them withdrew more change from his pocket and chucked it at the feet of one of his companions. The jittering of change continued intermittantly, slowly fading as the trio proceeded westward. Looking down, I saw the group had thrown pennies and pennies alone, no nickels or dimes stood out in the amber streetlight. Curious that kids would be throwing money away, though I assumed it said more about the devaluation of currency more than anything. It did seem like an awfully lot of pennies though.

This afternoon: My fiance and I had just returned from the grocery store and were standing in the Dust Bowl, a trash-ridden brownfield next to my apartment. Alexandra spotted an empty jar sitting atop a pile of broken cement block. I went over and retrieved it. Taped on the outside of the jar were a couple of missing children bulletins. Two young girls, missing since late 2009, from the neighborhood, the community. I could have been a fund for the families, set beside a cash register on a local business. Naturally it was empty.

This evening I put the two occurrences together and imagined the three kids with the pizza having swiped it from a counter of the Pizza Hut or a convenient store nearby. Maybe they sifted out the silver change, maybe there were only pennies. Granted, this is merely speculation at this point, but the pieces dovetail nicely. I haven't checked to see if the change was still there, outside my apartment. On the way to the grocery store, a man waved hello then asked me for money. I should have pointed him in the direction of those kids.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Cormac McCarthy Conversation

I walked back from the break room with a copy of The Crossing tucked under one arm. Dave from the LatAm department stepped out of the newsroom and we crossed.

Youre reading The Crossing, he said.

I turned back.


You read All the Pretty Horses.


Youre going to read Cities of the Plain.


Dave nodded.


Good talk.