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Aluminum '91

Aluminum '91

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Published by: stumbleupon on Aug 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Michael J. Rumpf Aluminum ‘91
IDewey and Joe the Cannon were just about through for the day,working their way up Germantown Avenue towards home, ignoring thebeeping horns as they cleared the two-lane street of any aluminum cansthey happened to find, and it was no great surprise that Joe was gettinga little distracted.He had found a worn tennis ball a couple of blocks down, andhad bounced it off every flat surface he could find until he had been joined by a playful black and brown mutt. Two streets later, the dog andthe ball were gone. These were just the preliminaries though to hisfavorite distraction: the grills on the 2500 block. They had just appeared one summer’s day: three large barbecuesets arranged along the sidewalk in front of an old boarded-upstorefront. Columns of white smoke chugged into the air overhead fromthree blackened chimneys, while three large men, wrapped in whiteaprons, worked their magic below. They were experts all: the one on theend bravely popping the hatch to his barbecue and immediately
disappearing behind a wall of smoke; to his right, wielding a large bentpaint brush, the guy in the middle was skillfully splashing a dark redsauce out of a plastic, baby blue pitcher across his rib-jammed, hissinggrill; the tall fellow next to him confidently loaded a pair of pink andwhite racks of meat on his through a curtain of shimmering heat. Joewould have stood there all day if Dewey had let him.Dewey straightened up with a grimace and deposited foursquashed cans into his cart. He saw that he had lost Joe again. He slidthe toothpick in his mouth forward, holding it with two fingers, andshook his head.“This weekend.” Dewey inhaled the rich smoky fumes. “Thisweekend Joe,” he said louder, “we’re going to buy us some of them ribs.A slab a piece. Yeah.” He removed the toothpick. “I’ve been tastingthem all month.” This had gotten Joe’s attention.“A whole slab...?”“Uh huh.” Dewey shook the cans down in the trash bag with hisfree hand and adjusted the neck. He coughed, but, to his relief, he didn’tdo it again. “Let’s go.” They wheeled their dented metal carts past the snaking line of people crowding the uneven sidewalk: couples, trios and quartets of allages talking about the day’s events or catching up with people theyhadn’t seen in weeks, their children playing in and around the line. Upfront, a gray-haired woman and a stocky bearded man were collectingmoney and handing out stained brown paper bags from inside an old
garden shed. Joe stared back like a child who doesn’t want to leave aplayground. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun.Dewey didn’t look back. He could still smell the ribs, but he knewthey would have to wait. Just three more days, he figured. They had tostick to their plan. Their big plan. He had been drilling that into Joe’shead all month.It would be their reward for all their hard work. It would be a wayof celebrating. That’s why Dewey didn’t want to cash in all the cans andmetal they had collected so far. He wanted to bring it all in at once. Itwould be a bigger payday that way.And then…then Dewey and Joe the Cannon would never pick upanother man’s trash again.II Joe couldn’t believe their luck. They were on the home stretch,had just started up the block where they lived, when they noticed a longtrail of cans in the street. He laughed out loud as he picked up an armfulfrom the trolley tracks. “They must have spilled out of the back of atrash truck or something.” He tossed them into a bag. “Can you believeit Dewey? It’s like a sign or something.” Joe bent over for more.“Well…” Dewey scratched his beard as he studied the line of blue and red and green cans. “I
admit it seems providential.” The toothpick fell from Dewey’s lips as he realized the trail ended

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