12 December 2011

Preamble du Jour

Hunnycutt. Now there is a man's man. A man of the old school. A man who was never scared to carry his mother's purse in public and a man who never did mind having his underwear hanging out on a wash line so that it might dry in the noonday sun. So you say that dear Mrs. Jetski from across the street is looking at it and wondering what the stains are from? Never mind. Old Hunnycutt would flex his muscles and puff up like a salamander on methadone if you were to suggest a repeal of wash line aggression. “Harbor for a wayfarer,” he used to say when the pains began, “harbor for a wayfarer.”

Well, Hunnycutt stepped out into the street the other day, and he hollered “taxi” as loud as he could – for when he was a child he saw this in a cartoon, and for all his life he thought that if he hollered “taxi” anywhere he might be, well, he thought a taxi would show up. So Hunnycutt thought that one day he might step out onto a deserted street in Ryan, Iowa, or in Bend, Oregon, or in Marion, Arkansas, or in Mount Airy, North Carolina, and that he might holler out “taxi” and lo and behold there would be a taxi that would appear in just a matter of minutes. Well, old Hunnycutt wanted to test that theory – it is one of those “childhood theories” that you might hold onto. The same, in a sense, as believing that if you dig down in the sand on the beach and you keep digging deep enough that you are going to come out in China (like Hunnycutt's friend Piker believed). Or believing that your mom and dad will always be there to take care of you no matter what, and maybe that someday you would return to live in your parents' house and do the same things that your parents did and live a life just like theirs (like Hunnycutt's friend Borchardt believed). Everyone has at least one unrealistic “childhood theory” that he or she has held at some point early in life. Hunnycutt's theory just happened to deal with taxicabs.

So Hunycutt stepped out in the street the other day and he did just that. He hollered “taxi” as loud as he could, and he waited and waited, but no taxi pulled up. He wondered what he would do if, in fact, one showed up – would he get in and tell the driver to take him somewhere? Would he dash off and hide in the bushes? Would he deny having called for a taxi? Might he, in the end, just come clean with the taxi driver and tell him that he was simply testing a childhood theory? Hunnycutt just laughed, instead, and realized that his silly childhood theory had been just as unreasonable as old Borchardt's childhood theory had been. Hunnycutt shook his head and laughed, and went back inside the house where he settled down to a nice plate of eggs and cold, sliced veal kidneys.

Three minutes later a yellow taxicab pulled up in front of Hunnycutt's house. The driver looked from side to side a few times and, seeing no one, shrugged his shoulders and pulled away.

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