Truckers Steaming Through The Night

…shopping for used paperbacks at the Bookworm used book store on River Road in Beacon, just up the hill from Slappy Frank’s Pizza, where Bob once choked in the summer of ’79 on a piece of sausage, but he realized it and coughed it up into his mouth at the table before anyone realized, but for a moment he knew death and lack of air, the Bookworm also down the street from Moulah’s, the Bookworm that stank of dry rot, especially in the summer when the humidity was high, that was the same week that Bob started collecting comic books, buying them because his friends did at the Lucky 13 convenience store a few blocks from the neighborhood, Spider Woman was his first comic and he would sit in the neon green Seventies swivel chair his mother had set in front of the living room window on Richards Court, sit there and rock and drink powdered chocolate milk in a tall glass after school at O’Tooley, reading Spider Woman, Iron Man and the Uncanny X-Men, the issue when the X-Men are battling the Sentinels, number 142, the cover where Colossus is hurling Logan into the air with claws ready to strike, but he is blasted back by the Sentinel, reading that issue in Sally’s on River Road that winter, in the dark of winter evening in

… the fireworks at Samuels Park, also nearly before his memory began …

Illinois, after work his mother took them out for burgers and Bob brought his comics along, carrying them in his backgammon game that opened, closed and looked like a briefcase, carrying all his comics around in there until the collection outgrew the backgammon case, reading his first Iron Man issue while his mom worked out buying a new Burke Royal coupe, forest green, and Bob hunkered down in the back seat reading about Tony Stark, the dealership a few miles west of the Blackhawk Valley Mall, twice as far from the mall on New York Boulevard as the drive-in theater that sat along the train tracks, the theater where Bob had a laughing and giggling fit with Sister Lucy after seeing a rerelease of Pinocchio almost before he could remember in the early Seventies, the fireworks at Samuels Park, also nearly before his memory began, also the fireworks that blew up on the side of the Blackhawk River when he was older and his mother and Bob went down early and got good seats on the other bank before the sun set, joining the blocks-long march with thousands of other Beaconers that Fourth, blankets under their arms, the red plaid blanket that Bob’s father kept in the trunk of his many cars while Bob was growing up, the blanket that served cover over beach sand, park grass and kept Bob warm the winter, his father and mother tried to make it to Florida in the Sozialauto camper pop-top, but it broke down in the mountains of Kentucky in the night, but there was the blanket and propane heater to keep them warm as the truckers steamed on through the night…

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