The rain and snow picked up in intensity, obscuring Rex’s view of the fallen log and Double-J’s effort to clear it. He heard the hydraulic winch lower its line wuuuur, chains dragging on the pavement schl-ting, the winch then pulling up uuuur; metal crushing into wood kulch, the hydraulics halting ur; the truck’s engine accelerating gulING, wood and metal dragging on pavement kulch-schl-ting, the orange lights of the truck pulling off to the left and reflecting off the now open pavement.
The officer stepped onto the road, kicked large delitrious pieces of bark and limbs from the road, then waved the van forward as he stepped off the road. Jimmy pulled on the van’s gear shift with tired resignation, like he was using a slot machine he knew wouldn’t pay. The van pulled forward (Jimmy not returning the officer’s wave as he passed), past the dismembered remnant of the log that now lay safely by the side of the road, where it would no doubt remain and decay until the next civil engineering project required its removal. Pulling up to where Double-J retrieved the van’s chains, the van stopped, Jimmy rolling down the window.
“You should be wearing a hat, young man.”
Double-J wiped thin black hair from his scalp, scowled back at Jimmy. “Not funny, pops.”
“Why weren’t you at practice tonight?” Coach Dan had told the team that Jimmy would be working with the epee and saber fencers, which given the size and inexperience of the Bark Bay High School fencing team meant he worked exclusively with Rex and Double-J, respectively.
The short teen shrugged, his visible displeasure at being expected to answer offset by the opportunity to speak his mind. “I was working.”
“You working next Tuesday?”
“Maybe. I kinda work whenever I’m available.”
Jimmy began rolling up his window. “Tell Lefty you’re not available next Tuesday.” The window closed, and the van proceeded down the road.