Dave sits in the front window of his second floor apartment near
Vernon and Crooks like a
Buddha, long fingers wrapped around one of the two plastic walkie talkies we
bought downtown in the cheap electronic store where the Rivoli Theater used to
Click, click, he flicks the switch, asking if anyone can hear him, trucks rolling by on their way towards Lakeview Avenue and the hill down Crooks Avenue that takes them back to the highway and beyond.
At the best of times, I barely hear him from my third floor bedroom in my house at the top of the hill, a desperate voice lost in a sea of static to which I can barely reply.
Dave needs to catch the truckers before they get over the hill. So he sits in wait, watching for the trucks when they cross
Avenue a block down from him and calls to them
until they pass out of reach. If they hear him they honk, the way they used to
before Dave got his small radio, when we stood on the corner and jerked our
arms at their approach, imitating how the truckers pull down on the cord inside
their cabs to set off the air horn.
Dave loves truckers more than he loves anyone, even his family, mother, brother, sister, father, and yells loudly when one of the truckers actually calls him back, the voice of a god rippling through the plastic grill of his cheap radio.
This doesn’t happen often, but the truckers all seem to know who he is when they come into the neighborhood, that kid with the cheap radio reaching out to them from someplace near and yet remote, someplace maybe they were when they were his age, a lost soul beyond a dashboard thick with cigarette burns and spilled coffee.
Dave dreams of a day when he can be out there like they are, moving along highways from one remote place to another, away from the remote place where he is currently trapped, that cheap plastic radio his only connection to an unreal world he hopes someday to make real.