He heard the car next door. People were talking, the two doors shut, and the engine was turned on. It was loud; needed a muffler. Tires spun on gravel; seemed like they took off rather fast. He went to the front window; they were gone.

This was one of many noises that kept him awake that night. The fan spinning, toilet running, semis grunting on Lincoln Highway, a strong wind outside blowing over lawn furniture. He heard a dog barking too. Or, was that a coyote. They say there’s a pack that run late at night.

He stepped out into his garage for a cigarette. It was quiet. All noise had been cut off it seemed. The sound of nothing. It was almost solace. His wife came out to join him. The middle aged blonde took a drag from his smoke. She coughed.

You shouldn’t, he said. It’s not good for you, the old man took another drag. He laughed.

Do you remember the garage sales we used to have?, he nodded. So much stuff gone over the years. Stuff we didn’t need. Things no longer used. Just useless stuff. Old lawn mowers on their last legs, she laughed. I think we sold a Toro for twenty bucks, both shook their heads.

We had a wheelbarrow. An old wheelbarrow. Back when we did yard work. We won a prize when we first moved in as most improved property. Best looking yard. Some bullshit, he took another drag and handed it to her. Things don’t matter anymore do they? We let the grass grow, dandelions take over, paint to chip and peel, old windows; there’s a draft.

What’re you saying?

I don’t know. Just talk. Nothing but talk.

They heard the car next door pulling into the driveway. Doors shut. And voices whispering. Trucks continued down Lincoln Highway. And the coyote kept howling.



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