We knew they had no intention of stopping. Pretending to stop, the implication of intention to stop, teasing us. Then, screeching right through the stop sign. Skittering children and barking dogs.
At first the trucks were new, they came faster with a more regular frequency. They astounded us. Every five minutes. Robin-egg-blue and shiny oval tanks set upon red rimmed tires, the white writing within the oval deliberate and carefully designed. Someone actually cared to render an almost perfect art deco logo, as if to indicate the timelessness of progress. The rightness of it. Manure sucked from one great pit at the bottom of Massacre Hill driven and spit out six miles away. Over the town line. With immense urgency.
We were, as I said, astounded. Every five minutes one truck would go south and then another would go north and it went on all day with us trying to figure out how many actual trucks there were. Three miles south from the end of the bridge and maybe three miles north to the rented pasture land where the dumping was taking place, so six miles in all, divided by five minutes, no that’s not right, we needed a kid with calculus or something.
The smokestacks behind the cabs of the trucks weren’t so shiny after a day or two, all edged with black smoke, facing backwards, little puffs every so often of the fuck you variety. We thought it would stop. The pit was not infinite after all.
Someone said that they had to slow down and maybe alternate with a different route but they wouldn’t, there was pressure and slowing down through the village meant losing time, six minutes, seven minutes. Going around the town on the East Hill Road was out of the question. That would add hours, days.
Soon the robin-egg-blue was caked with the overflow of manure, although caked connotes something sweeter than this was, this nitrogen laced waste. People who hadn’t talked to each other in years would gather in astonishment, so much noise in this quiet little town of ours, so much shit.
Then it stopped. People like us, we all like to talk a lot but we don’t really do very much. The pit wasn’t empty, we all knew that. We wondered why the trucks stopped. But after a while we stopped too, and went on to think about other things.
From the collection of vignettes: “Overheard:Story/gesture”
Nina Gaby is a writer, visual artist, and psychiatric nurse practitioner living in central Vermont. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and periodicals, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as prose poetry and articles. Her first book, “Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women,” was published in 2015 by She Writes Press. Most recently her creative nonfiction has appeared on Kevin MD, in Intima: a Journal of Narrative Medicine, The Best of the Burlington Writer’s Workshop, and in “Mothering Through Darkness.” Her work is upcoming in the collections “Second Blooming” and “How Does That Make You Feel,” and her mixed media essay “When I Was Japanese” is a finalist in the Diagram Essay Contest for 2016 and will be published this summer. Gaby guest blogs on a number of sites including Brevity.com, the Central Vermont Medical Center blog, and infrequently on her own at www.ninagaby.com. Her sculptural porcelain is in the National Collection of the Renwick at the Smithsonian, and Arizona State University permanent collections. Gaby’s three dimensional memoir vessels explore transparency/translucency/ and opacity in mixed media including the written word and are frequently featured in regional exhibitions.