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Cherry Wood

He sat down in a chair and patted the arm. Hmm. cherry wood good. He liked the deep, rich color, called it purplish. He was proud of this chair. He'd made it in the shop in the basement. The lighting there wasn't that good. Sometimes it would be a little damp when there was rain. Splotches on the back wall, mold in places. Hadn't been much rain recently so that hadn't been a problem. For him anyway. But for the farmers in that area the shortage of rain had been a problem. The water table was low. Water had been trucked in. A man named Harry drove one of the water trucks. He'd never driven a water truck before and noticed that he could feel the weight of his load shifting as the water sloshed from side to side and more so after he delivered half of it to the first customer. He noticed this at a freeway entrance as he rounded a petal of the cloverleaf. The freeway had been built five years before and since then not so much traffic through the now sleepy village where he'd been raised. His father ran a hardware store still. People passing through would stop and buy things there. They didn't just buy fruit and nuts at the stands once at town's edge. He remembered the woman who'd bought the bolt cutters. He was a teenager then and she a glamorous, buxom brunette. She was on her way to a friend's farm. The friends were out of town. She knew that. She'd used the bolt cutters to break the chain used to secure the gate. She was after a video tape they'd made together one night when there had been too much good wine, cocaine, and relaxing of boundaries. They said no one else would see it but there was that story about a video like that which had gotten out with embarrassing repercussions. She hadn't seen the movie but had read about it online. That was the day her computer had crashed. It crashed right in the middle of her reading about the movie. She'd decided at that moment not to get her computer fixed, to see to it that tape was destroyed. Get back into reading books. She put her computer in the trash receptical on the curb. The next day a garbage truck picked up the trash and that computer was crushed. It should have been at least recycled she later thought while reading a magazine article on the global trash problem. The garbage truck drove on. At the next home there was a large stuffed teddy bear sitting on top of the container. The garbage people both wanted it. They tossed a coin to see who would get it. As the coin spun in the air it caught rays from the sun which for a split second flashed in eye of a kid riding by on a bicycle. She didn't know where that glint had come from or what it was. She just shook her head in reaction and her bike wobbled ever so slightly. Her mother had bought that bike for her from a homeless person. She wondered if it was stolen. Then she felt bad about doubting the honesty of someone so down and out. She thought about the song, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and started humming it. Hours later she noticed she couldn't get the tune out of her head. She thought it wasn't such a bad song to have stuck in her head. The message wasn't cheery but it was often true. She thought about exceptions. People had been kind to her when she was a hitchhiking hippie. Her hair was long and braided then. A young black woman from Brazil had braided it. She'd come to America with her stepfather to visit Disneyland and the Grand Canyon at the age of sixteen and had run off when he was sleeping. For a while she lived with surfers on Venice beach. Her English was not so good but she learned quickly by necessity. She noticed she was more attracted to the women she hung out with than the men and wondered if that meant she would be a lesbian or if it were just a passing phenomenon. One woman she was attracted to played folk songs she'd never heard. The woman who played the guitar said she'd had it since she was in the ninth grade. She'd made good grades then but life had lost not all meaning but the meaning it had had up to that point when she was in high school. Her school was built back in the thirties by workers in the Civilian Conservation Corps. One student from that school whose father had been a corps member on that job had joined the California Conservation Corps and later became a bureaucrat in Sacramento issuing purchase orders for that program. At the end of the day he went home and made some tea. He was tired. He walked toward his chair, the chair he'd made. Hmm, cherry wood.