Skip to content

Roadwork

January 21, 2009
tags:

The opening paragraphs of a story I started long ago.

Roadwork

The girl sitting in the passenger seat hadn’t said a word since we left the last town behind. She split her time between picking at her nails, staring out the side window, and fiddling with the heater. I wondered if she would be so placid when we passed her turn-off and continued north. For now, we sat in a comfortable silence, trusted acquaintances if not friends. Her father was my boss, and she helped him with the books, just a temporary thing while she made the transition from college to the real world, whatever the hell that means. Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted my daughter hanging around the bunch of drunks and vagabonds her father dredged up for seasonal work, but she held her own.

I spent Mays through September working road construction and my winters driving snowplow for Hennepin County. That was my circuit for years. Build roads in the summer, plow them in the winter. It’s not a bad life for a young man. You make good money, have a lot of time off, travel the state. But we don’t stay young, and soon it becomes a transient, lonely life. You watch people live normal lives, drive to work, pack their families together and take trips to the lake, but you live at the boundaries, a highwayman of one sort or another.

That summer, I blasted rock and smoothed asphalt for a new highway tunnel on the north shore. The road curved past a hundred-fifty foot drop and a semi-truck would tumble off at least once a decade. Of course, whenever this happened people from the families of the drivers to the shipping company executives raised all holy hell, and it only took thirty years or so to get county, state, and federal approval for the tunnel. It was tough, dangerous work, carving through a thousand feet of solid rock. A man named Robert Crosby died. A thunder of boulders, come from the hillside, swept him over the edge, into the lake. It happened a couple weeks before the summer season was up, and everyday after I jumped at the sound of pebbles skittering down the cliff. We all called it a freak accident, nothing anybody could have done. A rumor even floated around that Crosby was the careless type and often a few sheets to the wind during his shift. I’d never seen any evidence of that, but such is the way men cope.

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. Caleb permalink
    February 6, 2009 7:15 pm

    Nice work brother,

    Let me see the rest when it’s done. I’m hooked.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Books Are Not A Luxury

Help America See Itself in Literature

Howlin' T-Wolf

Your Perspectives, Our Timberwolves

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Punch-Drunk Wolves

Muhammad/LaVine 2016

we hunted the mammoth

the new misogyny, tracked and mocked

Eric Clapp 4.0

Words About God, Life, and Coffee

KITCHEN CICI

Food Innovator, Clean Eater, Recipe Sharer. My kitchen is small but mighty.

Annotation Nation

Annotations of the writers, by the writers, for the writers...

divorcedivorced

How to get over adultery and divorce...

Simple Pleasures

Visual Poetry, Photography and Quotes

helobiae

a celebration of life

Suzie Speaks

The Adventures Of a Thirty-Something Life

eCharta

The blog

The Write Niche

For me, finding a niche has been like trying to choose a favorite among my own children. There are so many things I love to do, but one I'm passionate about and that's writing.

UMFA Blog

5000 Years of Human Creativity

The Neighborhood

Society online's creative conscious.

%d bloggers like this: