by Scott Daughtridge
He thought driving around with a wheelbarrow in the bed of his truck would make it look like he was a working, productive person with places to go and things to wheel around, not a drunk going anywhere but the docks. You know him, you’ve seen him wearing his ratty blue hat in his rusty truck with the broken rearview mirror and the brakes that squeal. His eyes sunk like stones, his mouth, brown and cracked like dried river bed. He spent ten years working for the lobster boats, not actually on the boats, no. He was the guy who put the small rubber bands around the claws. The lobsters ripped at his hands, threw his skin to the bottom of the tank and yelled inaudible oceanic obscenities at him. He asked everyone at the bar why they thought his blood was worthless, why his skin was not somewhere more fitting than the bottom of a lobster tank. Why not in a bubble bath or a silk suit or under a feather pillow? The bartender threw cigarette butts in his beer and told him that’s what he thought of his blood.
It wasn’t long after a police officer pulled him over to find out where he was going with a wheelbarrow at 3 a.m. that his ex-wife knew she’d made the right decision to leave and the warden knew the story of his scarred hands word for word.
Well, I saw him the other day driving the same truck, wearing the same scars. I got close and could hear him breathing. I could see myself in his clean mirror eyes. He told me to tell you that he found his answers and that he’d never be so low again.
The biographies of well known, influential people, often reveal that at one point or another they were neglected and despised by the world, left to die in the gutter. Then, something happens and they pick themselves up, find their way and start the slow ascent towards something new. They go about changing the world in one way or another. The guy in this piece is hope for all us losers out there. Maybe we won't be losers forever. Maybe, even after the bad shit has flown at us, we can find our way.
Scott Daughtridge is an emerging writer from Atlanta. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Curbside Splendor, Fringe Lit, Loose Change, Storychord, and BurnAway's Le Bulletin De Historique Fictif D'Atlanta collection. He is the creator of the Lostintheletters reading series in Atlanta and is a contributor for Vouched Books.