"Holy impossible Batman! Is that you Truck?" Adonis called as he sat atop a floating lilac cloud that bobbed up and down as it came near. "Truck!" He waved energetically.
Uncle Truck was seated on a rococo ivory bench which was atop another lilac cloud floating in Adonis's direction. Rubbing her eyes and blinking a few times, she could not decide if she was dreaming. "Am I dead?" She asked as Adonis's cloud collided into hers before the puffs merged into one foggy layer.
"No, you're not dead," Adonis supported himself with his cane as he climbed onto the bench. "You passed out. Did you hear about my gruesome demise?"
"Why, yes, yes I did."
"I did NOT see that coming! Woo! What a death!"
Uncle Truck had no idea how she was supposed to respond and just nodded.
"You shouldn't have been such a dumbass and gone out into the woodland by yourself when you can barely even walk!" A thin, elderly yet lovely Avocado came floating by them on another cloud.
"Woman! You're the one who died and didn't have
the nerve to tell anybody!"
"Humph!" Avocado humphed before floating away from the two of them, "And Truck, your black Grandmom and Granddad raised you better than that, yes we did! Don't you go drinking alcohol and hanging yourself from the ceiling ever again, you understand?"
"Yes, Avocado, I'm sorry."
Adonis shook his head in flabbergast, "That woman… mmm hmmm mmm…" he hung one arm around Uncle Truck, "But she is right, my chickadee. Why, Truck? Why did you do it?" Self-effacing, Uncle Truck's lower lip crept beneath her upper. "Why?"
"I hate her. She's been dead for years and I hate her. I don't want her to come back."
"Who? Truck, you're a nice girl, you shouldn't be talking like that about anyone."
"Adonis… there are things you don't know about me that I know would make you cringe. I've done things that would make Clara Bow blush."
"There are many, many reasons why I moved to Colorado… the biggest one, as stupid as it may sound, has to do with the type of person I was when I was a teenager, Adonis."
"Well, what was she like?"
"…she was fat. A solid one-hundred-and-twenty-five pounds."
"One-hundred-and-twenty-five?! Truck, come on!"
"I'm five feet tall… that's huge." Adonis disagreed, but let her continue. "My weight is creeping right back up there… I know I'm older now, I have curves and muscle tone that I didn't then… people tell me I look good… but that number, Adonis… I hate seeing that number on the scale… it makes me do things to myself. Old Trakina is dead and I want her to stay dead."
Adonis shrugged. "Well, so what? If you don't like a few pounds, there are other ways to get rid of it."
"It's not just that, Adonis… you see, I never had a lot of friends growing up. My personality was just as awkward as my twiggy arms and twiggy legs not matching up with my watery thighs and gut… nobody, NOBODY, talked to me for years."
"Well, fuck 'em!"
"Social isolation does things to you, Adonis." Her eyes became glossy as she struggled to continue. "Can you imagine… nobody acknowledges you… not at home, not at school, not ANYWHERE, for seventeen years… and then, THEN, boys start looking at you. They ignored my gut, they told me they liked my chest and they liked my face… from the age of seventeen up to present day, I have never been without a boyfriend. I am the loneliest person in the world, yet somehow never entirely alone... but nobody is ever going to use me again and I'll be damned if anybody here knows me for what I used to be known for out east… back then, I didn't care if I was being used. I knew I was being used… but I would have, and boy did I, given anything just to have a man close by." She turned to Adonis, teary-eyed, "You know what I really like about you, Adonis? If you ever had an issue with me, you forgot about it within a matter of minutes… it was either on behalf of the dementia, or because you cared about me enough to look past my flaws."
"It's the latter," Adonis assured her. "As well as the former."
"Well, that's not how the rest of the world works. You know just a few months before I made my way to Colorado… I was at an art festival with my at-the-time boyfriend… and then, I saw a pack of kids from my old high school, well into their early-twenties but just as disgusting as they were years back…" with memories surging back, Uncle Truck's demeanor quickly shifted from meek despair to cutting bitterness, "they wouldn't give a damn if they knew I've been celibate for years. They like to remember fat, loose Trakina. It's easy for them. Every bully loves an easy target… and I was the easiest of all, no pun intended." Tone softening again, she turned to Adonis, "I have my problems here, for sure. I bring myself everywhere I go, so it's inevitable. But I am at peace knowing that there is not a soul in Colorado who knows old, fat, loose…" her words faded as she shook her head. "And for the first time in my life, I met someone who was truly wonderful-"
"And that sons-a-bitch is a fool for hurting my beautiful Truck!"
"No, Adonis, you should have seen him…"
"I did see him! I saw him just as clearly as I saw you foaming at the mouth with candy-necklace beads! You upped your standards, I commend you for that - but any boy who lies to his woman is a rootin' tootin' lootin' doot!"
Uncle Truck had no response for Adonis's unusual classification for dishonest men. She did however, have another worry on her mind, "Sometimes I worry that I'm going to turn into Primrose Pellington."
"Puh!" Adonis was appalled, "I remember old Primrose Pellington! Nastiest girl in my Sunday school, she was!" With a twitch of her facial muscles and a flittering of the eyes, Uncle Truck explained that she'd had a long heart-to-heart with Primrose shortly before her sudden death and was told a different story. "Hell no! That was a girl named Skinrose Skellington always winning the have-a-heart award! Skinrose was a nice, nice girl."
"Adonis, of all the crazy tales you've told me throughout the years, expecting me to believe that there was actually a girl named Skinrose Skellington in your class, let alone anywhere in the world, is just downright silly."
"Avocado! Do you remember Skinrose Skellington from church?!"
From afar and out of sight, Avocado called, "Yeah, little freckle-faced girl! She was the kindliest girl in the neighborhood! Her husband was such a bastard though… running off with some seventeen-year-old student of his." Avocado paused for a bit as her cloud inched nearer, "And Primrose Pellington was alone forever because she was a nasty bitch."
"Always was!" Adonis claimed.
"Always was!" Avocado reaffirmed with raspy sass in her tone. "Some soft-spoken geek named Greenie had a crush on her all throughout her teen-years and she candidly hung around with him every day… she loudly insulted him and all of his kind gestures… all in hopes of making any guy who was even slightly cuter take notice and mistake her for being desirable enough to date despite all the expected abuse."
"She was awful to that Greenie!"
"Poor little Greenie…"
"Oh." Uncle Truck did not know this.
"Greenie liked to fix things. He was a mechanic and a therapist," Avocado continued. "A bachelor all his life, he believed Primrose to be his most sought-after challenge and he was determined to fix her. He brought her flowers every week for more than sixty years even though she would cuss him out, slam the door… throw a cat-paw-shaped salt shaker at him from time to time."
"The cat-paw salt and pepper set was the damned stupidest thing-" Adonis grumbled under his breath, bothered and shaking his head.
Uncle Truck entered the conversation again, "But why didn't I ever see Mr. Greenie if he left her flowers every week?"
"Well, that was until the accident." The accident? Uncle Truck was intrigued and asked Avocado to tell the story, her manner quickly changing from that of a concerned caregiver to that of her long-gone six-year-old self wanting to be read Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad". "The last time Greenie approached her was five years ago. Primrose Pellington was behind the wheel of her 1985 Yugo GV."
"The shit box!" Adonis interrupted again. He had no tolerance for hideous vehicles. Except for Trucks; Trucks were pretty cool.
"Anyway - Greenie was passing by; gift-wrapped bouquet of orange Gerber daisies in his hand… he noticed her in the parking lot and stopped in front of the hood… waved sincerely with the flowers flapping around, baby's breath slipping out of the sides… he shouted "Hello, beautiful," with a wrinkled smile." Then what happened? Uncle Truck's awestruck expression silently asked.
"Bitch ran his ass over!" Adonis snapped, not allowing any anticipation for the climax of the story.
"No!!!" Uncle Truck dramatically gasped, sincerely worried for the dedicated peach of an old man whom she never had the pleasure of knowing.
"Bitch ran him over!" Avocado reiterated. "And he didn't press any charges. He never even admitted to what had actually happened. When he called 911, he claimed that he was changing somebody's oil and motioning for the driver to move forward…" According to Greenie's account, the imaginary driver ended up rolling too far forward too fast and clipped him. Frantically, the panicking driver pulled a hit-and-run, screeching out of the parking lot before he could get a glimpse of the license plate. It all apparently happened so fast that Greenie didn't take note of the color, make, and model of the perpetrator's car nor did he recall what the driver looked like… the guy of interest was most certainly male though, not a homicidal old lady in any sense of the word. All the while, the paramedics stood in front of Primrose's car which had Greenie's Velcro-strapped left shoe lopsided between her front tires and his torn-apart bouquet of daisies splattered all over her windshield with his Denver Broncos cap disheveled somewhere in the pile of stems and petals.
"So wait! If she hated him so much, why was he her power of attorney?"
"Well, when she was diagnosed with dementia, her doctor asked if she had any family who could be put in charge when she could no longer make decisions for herself. She has no family… no family that likes her anyway. She knew none of her living cousins would step in… nor did she care. But when that doctor asked if she had any friends… wellllllllll, a chord was struck."
"Of course I have friends! Fuck you!" Primrose snarled as she glared at her "failed" cognitive assessment on the desk before her. She wrote "I don't know" for most of the questions, left a few blank, and scribbled "cunt" under What is Today's Date?. "Greenie! I have a friend named Greenie! That motherfucker can be my power of attorney!"
"Greenie decided he was no longer safe trying to fix something that was so far beyond repair. He still wanted her to be taken care of though, so he contacted a homecare agency to carry out his wish." Avocado shook her head, "He wrote her every day… she shredded every piece of mail unless it was from the scam lottery. Poor little Greenie." Avocado floated away.
Adonis, attempting to lighten the mood in the most inappropriate way possible, gave a glib, "And I hate to break it to you though, Truck, but there are more people in Colorado who know about your action-packed teen years than you realize."
A mortified Truck, who already had an information overload taking up too much space in her brain was hoping she'd misheard, gasped, "WHAT?!"
"Truck, not everybody from your high school stayed in Maryland after graduation, come on. Quite a few went onto Boulder, CSU, Regis, Metropolitan… and hey, word spreads fast! You're famous!" Limbs tingling and skin baking, Uncle Truck was at a loss for words, "Ha! Just kidding, Truck! You didn't seriously buy any of that did you?"
"Adonis, stop being an ass! Can't you tell the poor girl's been through enough?" Avocado sailed back toward them. She parked her cloud in front of a perturbed Truck, "Honey, don't you worry about him. He was the biggest whore in all of Colorado when he was seventeen."
"Yes, I was!"
"And look at how happy he is!"
"Yes, I am!"
"No need to worry about your past. Everybody has a past!"
"Sorry, Truck, I thought it would be funny."
"Because you're a dick," Avocado butted in with her aged yet feisty inner-city accent.
"But in all seriousness, Truck," Adonis wrapped his arm around her back and pulled her close to his pudgy side, "There are now two Coloradoans who do know what you used to be. And we're still here talking to you the same way we always have. You're still our Truck, our white grandchild, our favorite friend. And there's no dementia on Mount Olympus; we're not going to forget old Truck either. And nobody here cares."
Uncle Truck smiled and hugged Adonis. The remainder of the dream was spent listening to Adonis and Avocado yell at each other about whether or not the lead singer from Wild Cherry was a white man. They subsequently had a fight about the legitimacy of the three accounts of spontaneous combustion that had been reported over the last century. This was followed by a heated game of Frisbee that sent Adonis into a sore-loser tirade. He ended up turning his back on the girls and blanketing himself into a cloud like he was the ground beef rolled inside a toquito. The man gave Uncle Truck a snappish goodnight and ordered a cross "Don't touch me!" to Avocado when she attempted to pull him from his misty bed. It was just like the good old days at the Steele residence… Uncle Truck felt warm with nostalgia and completely forgot about her 9AM appointment with a hangover that awaited her at home.