Dancing with Garbage under Full Moon Light
It was 4AM 1993, I was in the truck yard. I sat in the office/lobby with a cup of house coffee, that made me wince at every sip: pure acid! But it was cold that morning - and the coffee felt good and covered the sweet, rotting smell of garbage in the air.
Outside, the wind was sharp cutting to the bone, a nice Alaskan cold front was on us. I looked around the room. There hunched over the tables was the crew, already beaten by the year. We looked like a pro-football team - that had lost every game! Nothing but taped fingers, back braces, knee braces and faces tanned, dried with lips blistering. No! one moved! The wind howled outside, pieces of paper whirled in the air by the door. I held my right knee, I tore something there in the knee: my meniscus. I had two fingers duck taped, for I nearly ripped them off on bad throw.
The clock on the wall went - tick, tick, tick. I started to drift into dreams: I saw a collage of women's bodies and the ocean. I saw an image of woman I loved coming out at me: she spoke in the dream - "you are asleep Andrew. You are at work! Wake up!"
"Wake the F...up you lazy dog! You son of bitch! Wake wake the F, up! "
I opened my eyes and there was Matt my bosses face screaming at me an inch from it, with his spit coming out. I looked at him with a cold stare. "What it is Matt you need to say?" I said with slow bitter tone.
"You are with Frank today, Sleep on your own time, a - hole!" and then he turned to the group and yelled:
- "I will have arses moving right (F)ing now! You people - get out there! Let's get this F(ing) morning moving!
Many of the men sat motionless and just sipped their coffee, a few got up walked out. "What your wife leave you Matt! She finally get sane?" I heard Bob Demarco say. Matt turned on him and said - why you SOB...!!
Bam! The front Door suddenly flew open!
"Good Morning everyone! It is me, old Franky; I am here! What! No one happy to see Franky! Come on boys show me some love!"
He put out his hands - massive hands that were yellow and thick. I looked at him, he was a big Italian about 45, with a hooked nose, he had to be about 5'11 and 230. His stomach was hanging out over his pants, over his belt. "Mark baby, he yelled out, give me a hug - 20 years now we been doing this! Come give Franky some love!"
" Shout your pie hole Frank!" And get the hell out in the field! By the way here for you today, I am giving you the Kid to work with - enjoy your F(ing) day! He stormed off!
"What Baby!? Frank called after him, You love me enough to give me the young back! I feel loved, but first, I must bare a child in the bathroom!" He walked past me whistling and stopped and said, don't worry kid - old Franky has got you!"
I sank into my seat as the men got up an left - laughing at Frank and their eyes glowing at me: "Have fun with Frank Andrew - its going to be a learning experience!"
I was F(ed) - everyone knew he had broken a year ago after his wife died - gone full monkey Sh....! Now he was back, with some kind of wild arse attitude which meant to me-suicidal ideation!
10 minutes later, he came out of the head: whistling and Mark came out yelling:
"What the f, is wrong with you! You think we got all day here!?"
"Wow, Matt baby, I just gave birth to twins- it was a delicate but messy operation, here shake my hand!" He reached out towards Matt. Matt looked at them with disgust.
"Get out of my F(ing) yard and get your fat Italian arse on the road!" He said with face leaning toward Frank.
"Hey! Kid! Let us go! Time to leave before Matt gets his panties in bunch!" He said with a horse voice. Mark turned around and Frank smiled with his big hands out before him wiggling his fingers - and then stuck his tongue out! Mark shook his head walked off.
I followed him to the rig. We got through the inspection: breaks,lights, blade, and got on the road. We headed to 880 down the Alameda. The wind was blowing hard, I could see trees swaying back and forth. In the South East sky, the full moon was glowing. My hands were numb already. I was thinking about Kissing a woman I loved under such moon in the mountains, where I had lived: I remember how true it is, when you love a women her mouth taste just like wine - to honey suckle! O, the warmth and softness of her flesh and the sent of Vanilla and flowers, and the crickets where out singing! I held that memory has the engine shook the cab, and vibrated through me.
"Holy Sh....t, Kid!! Do you you see it! Do you see it! The moon baby! O, you are going to learn to-dance with Garbage under moonlight-with old Frankly! I am telling you kid - I am the best - you are so lucky we going to dance under moonlight with Garbage!!!!" HAAAA!! HA! HAA! HA! Yeah!!
The rig's front end suddenly jumped up as Frank Floored it. I sat with one hand out in front of me on the dash board because passengers in Garbage rigs only get a foam seat, and the rigs only have springs, no shocks - so you bounce and get jar around. The engine roared - Frank was screaming as we headed down the Freeway ramp! I felt the front end of the rig go up and then bam! We came down, so hard sparks flew out from under neath us: the effect was like someone had shoved my guts into my lower half and that same time, someone had smacked my balls with a ping pong paddle!
I screamed out- "What the F - are you doing you miserable SOB! Jesus!"
"O, kid! Frank yelled out. You like that! Did it hurt??! It always hurts kid! Hurts! Hurts! Hurts. HAAA!, HA! I will make you a man out here kid - come and laugh baby - are you balls still with us! HA!! I bet they hurt man! Got spanked!"
Right there, my mind went tribal male. I was thinking. I am kill this man! I going to beat his head into the rig when it stops! I am going - smash him with garbage can - SOB! No good Crazy arse *()^&&*)!
"Do you see it kid! O, werewolf's of London: Do you see old Long Cheney Dancing with the Queen- doing the werewolf's of London!!! O, ow, baby, baby under moonlight!!
I looked at him as he sang - and thought - 'I am dead. I am F(ing) dead - he will kill us both!' I should just walk away when we get to the first can! 3 months with him no way! I will jump a f(en) bridge first!"
We came to the first set of cans. I hopped out. I throw them in the hopper ( that is the tail end of the Rig) and got onto the back of the truck standing plate, Frank was still singing. The wind was cutting through me, my fingers hurt from the cold and my face felt like it was going to fall off! I could see the through the Santa Clara Valley by that moonlight. I was thinking about how they said looking into her caused you to go mad, and I felt like I was drifting into her - into the air, but the scent of the garbage, the sound of Frank Screaming over the engine - O, Werewolves of London! Kept me down in hell.
At one point, Frank jumped out of the rig and ran across the street and just screamed AAHHHASS - Moon BABY!!! HHAAAA! I am dancing with moonlight!!!. I could see his face filled with delight but ultimate sorrow. I never saw anything like that really. He stood there screaming...I waited for it to end! I could hear old songs playing in my head - I was trying to put this into context:
- Walk into splintered sunlight
- Inch your way through dead dreams
- to another land
- Maybe you're tired and broken
- Your tongue is twisted
- with words half spoken
- and thoughts unclear
- What do you want me to do
- to do for you to see you through
- A box of rain will ease the pain
Without warning he started to dance and jump with his hands going up to the moon and sky. I was feeling my heart beat really fast. I could just jump in the rig and go, but he was into some kind of catharsis - primal scream, and I was to be the witness...The moon light, and the sound of the engine and his screaming - then Frank ran over to me grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "You see Kid! We are Dancing under moon light with Garbage!!" He jumped into the cab; I jumped on the back of the rig, and we road on - with the light of the moon beaming down, leaves flying by me - and Frank Screaming out! I was sure I was going to die that day. I heard this song in my head as I held on for life:
I was a dam builder. Across the river deep and wide.
Where steel and water did collide
A place called Boulder on the wild Colorado.I slipped and fell into the wet concrete below
They buried me in that great tomb that knows no soundBut I am still around..I'll always be around..and around and around and around and around
I fly a starship across the Universe divide
And when I reach the other sideI'll find a place to rest my spirit if I canPerhaps I may become a highwayman againOr I may simply be a single drop of rain But I will remain
And I'll be back again, and again and again and again and again..
We went down our route with me throwing and him driving, and screaming for 2 hours. I was breathing heard, I could feel my knee throbbing, my back stiffening.
Then we came to a part where you have to play leap frog. That is where a man runs a head with a wheeled big garbage can called a tooter, (to empty smaller cans into) as the other man throws from where the truck stopped. Once the man in the back throws his garbage ( he is always first to finish) he jumps in the rig and drives to where the other man up ahead is. Then you switch - the man driving runs ahead to empty cans with a tooter or huge wheeled garbage can! There is no time to talk at this point, so I was cool with that - but I watched up-head - Frank never wore gloves! That is why his hands where yellow.
The sun was up then, the wind had died down. We were making our way down a working class street. When Frank stopped and said, "Hey Kid! Look! Someone threw out a Pizza - with only 3 slices gone. He took the pizza out of the boxes and started to eat it while looking at me with wild eyes! Then stopped his eating and rubbed his stomach. You want some kid? Come on it is good! You can't let garbage scare you!"
I Stared at him in shock. I knew that every unspeakable thing goes in a garbage can-nasty! He kept gesturing for me to come gets some as the oil from the Pizza ran down his face. I just walked away - and down the street and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. I was thinking: this M(fer)! He is gone, poof! All his circuits, all!! - His whole f(en) mind-smoked!
"You know my wife died year and half ago! I miss her. I remember I used to watch her breath at night and I used-O, god, I used to love to watch her put on her cloths and talk with her at the end of the day."
I felt the engine roar and the rig lift up, I looked over at him, he was crying. "O sh… I thought, here it comes — where all going die!"
"Don't you get it kid, I loved her! She used rub my back in the morning and feed me. I would bring her home flowers and things. How can you live alone?! How can you take not loving a person!!?"
We where going really fast, then, the rig was bouncing up and down, cars up ahead scrambled to get out of the way. He put his head on the steering wheel and cried. I was holding on to the door - trying to stay in my seat!
"Frank man I yelled out, love comes in many forms - man! You can love! you can always."
"NO! NO! not like the love of woman-never! Never!" Frank sobbed over the wheel.
The truck was shaking and bouncing - I was holding on best I could - I could see it coming! He was weeping on the wheel! Suddenly, my head slammed against the window of the door as we hit huge pot hole. I screamed out, Back this bitch off! Back it off! End it Frank! Get your F(en) head up off the wheel! Snap out of it! Snap out of it! - I reached over grabbed his shoulder and he looked at me and backed off the peddle. His face was soaked in tears.
We drove on in silence. I could feel my adrenaline surging through my veins. I thought, how could one live alone. Yet, I was there, that I felt lonely not alone was easy for me besides, I had loved the sea and the mountains and books. I loved my friends. I had my family. But to be without a woman hurt, it always hurts, but the wrong women was like living in garbage dump of bad emotions. I looked at my hands they were swollen. Frank, was lucky, maybe, he needed to love on high level all the time, all his antics and posturing was his hurt and fear and loss: he was grieving - in a man's world-a world of hardness and bitterness — where you can show no weakness, ever or you are dead!
Finally Frank, said. "Promise me Andrew. You want tell the guys I cried! Don't tell them that or I lost control! Please, Please don't do that!"
"No, one will ever know Frank, I swear by it! But I will never piss behind the blade where you go!"
"HA! Frank Said. Deal!" and he reached his hand over to me, and I shock that yellow meat claw and smiled at him .
At the Yard, I got out of the Rig, and said on leaving — "It is the lucky Frank - that need to love so much, the lucky!