TRUCK IN THE YARD            

JJ Koczan


            “Been here all mornin,” Dalia said.

            “How long you been watching it?” Travis wanted to know.

            She’d gotten up at six, like always, put the Sanka on, seen it out the kitchen window. She supposed she’d been there ever since.

            “Two hours,” he said.

            “Mr. Math…”

            Before them, in the middle of the big yard of their little house, with its left front tire run over Dalia’s little white garden fence, sat a fire-engine red Ford F-250, looking like a commercial for itself. Extended cab, extended bed. Whole darn thing was extended, or so thought Travis, who sat in the white wicker chair next to his wife’s, coffee cup in his hand. He was still in his pajama pants.

            “Whose do you suppose it is?” she asked.

            “Hell if I know. Beautiful truck. New. Hell of a thing to leave lying around someone’s property.”

            “When I first saw it, I thought we won the church raffle, but there’s no note on it or anything. I looked.”

            “Think those people’d knock.”

            They passed the next hour like this, in idle chatter about the truck in their yard, where it might have come from, whose it is, what they’d do with it. She kept watch and he kept watch of her keeping watch, commenting on her every move or twitch as people do who’ve been together most of their lives. Travis became indignant, wanted to call the police and file a complaint, wanted to see if the keys were in the truck so he could drive it into a ditch and leave it there. Dalia shushed him. Someone would be along.

            “Don’t fix our property,” he said, pointing to the little fence.

            All the while, the truck sat still as the high sun swept a loop around it and the flat Iowa plain on which it rested. The air was clear and just a little chilly on the tip of Dalia’s nose, but she made no move toward getting a sweater, and only got up once, to use the bathroom. Travis supposed he’d have to go into town and report it, the truck in his yard, and get someone out to tow it off. He was in a retiree’s hurry – stayed in his pajamas on the porch with Dalia.

            At 10:06, a figure appeared and walked quickly up the far end of the drive. The Wallace boy; pale, hands in his pockets, head down. Drunk of a father owned a couple hardware stores. There was one in town till the Home Depot. He made his way up to the porch and delivered two bags’ worth of shamed apologies.

            “You know how my daddy is when he gets goin,” he said.

            “It’s alright, boy, we know it’s not your fault,” Dalia sympathized.

            “Gonna have to get some of your daddy’s tools and fix up that fence,” said Travis.

            “Yessir,” said Wallace. “It’s Saturday. I’ll be back this afternoon.”

            “Love to your mom,” said Dalia.

            The Wallace boy nodded and walked to the truck, got in and drove away.


            One hundred years from now, there will be peace on this Earth. Love and kinship and wisdom will be endemic; the way hate, disease, greed, jealousy and ignorance have undone so many generations. All men and women will live together as equals, unable to imagine life any other way, and true, formless beauty will be their god. This will all happen. None of us now living will be here to see it.


            “Well,” said Dalia.

            “Guess that mystery’s solved,” said Travis, who adjusted himself in his pajamas and went inside, to sit on the couch and watch Sabado Gigante with the sound off.

            Dalia followed shortly behind and made him change the channel.


JJ Koczan is an ogre living under a bridge grumping his way around the South Shore of Massachusetts. He writes a lot. Some if it is bearable and most of it is about music no one has heard of. A collection of his short stories and poetry, titled Electroprofen, is due out this summer. He blogs at and tweets at @hptaskmaster.