thanks to Marian and The First Line

In Pigwell, time is not measured by days or weeks but by the number of eighteen wheelers that drive past my house.

I keep track of the seasons. Winter has 350,000 trucks rumbling past in the snow, the rattle of their chains, the slap of their wipers. Blood on the snow when one of them loses control, jackknifes across the road. Wail of sirens muted in the frozen air. Lean on the fence, slap gloves together, pass flasks from hand to hand.

“Bad one.”

“Yeah, pretty bad.”

“Worst I’ve ever seen.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. ’96 was worse, I guess.”

“I wasn’t here in ’96.”

“Oh, that’s right, you didn’t get here until, what, ’01? Something like that. Yeah, this is the worst since then, right enough.”

“Yeah, pretty bad.”

Summer. Too hot inside, too hot outside, tires sizzle on the asphault, road gators pop and crackle with spite, wait to get flung into some poor Ford Brougham’s undercarriage, wreak merry hell with his engine. Sit in the wind of the 600,000 semis going by. Too loud for conversation. Semaphores of hand and whiskey. Bottles thrown against wide metal flank of the trailers, sparkle in the long grass, dangerous flowers.