Sunday Light and Word – Town Like This

Abe 9

 

 

Youth will have you believe in nonsense. I thought I had it rough. But I did not have it rough. I had a car to ride around in. It was new enough and not mine, but the insurance would cover me. And I rode it to town every night waiting for the cool air of sundown to come up to me like a stray cat before I headed back to the house. They had me living with the family, the owners, because the bunkhouse hands would have chewed me up. I didn’t know it. So, I took the line they drew in the sand, a difference, a way to remember I’d been born better than those other hands. It was a mistake to think like that.

None of that matters in the bright fluorescent nothingness of Town. Town brings you down to equal opportunites right fast. Town is a cash only kind of thrill. You smoke Marlboros, you drink Pearl or Bud and when it’s time to go you get. Brown, white, the mother with the hardest work ethic has the most respect. That might not be true of other places, places catering to the provenance and skin tone and gender, but this wasn’t that kind of place. This was a low down joint for ranch hands and if you were part of the carousel, you were judged by callouses and makeshift engineering capabilities. For instance, if you could rewire an F 150 with a role of duct tape, some speaker wire and a pair of fence cutters, then the canned beers raised to you. And eventually the Town turns to something else. The stock yards grow, the oil derricks hit and the Town becomes a City. Anonymity comes up in between the grasses. Murders. Towers. Public transportation. Back when I knew it, it was a borrowed car kind of place.

 
by Hank Cherry

 

About Hank Cherry

Hank Cherry works as a photographer, filmmaker and writer in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Slake, Southwestern American Literature, Poydras Review, and The Los Angeles Review of Books and he writes a column about the history of jazz for Offbeat. He is in post production on his first full-length documentary.
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