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Bits and Pieces 1 - 5

By 

Kirk Gallardo

N

ot too much happens here. The busy streets are silent. The lifeless trees long gone. Somewhere far off, an impoverished man plays his trumpet to ease him from the realities of life. 

This isn't heaven. This is nowhere near hell despite being so desolate. This is, something else. 

As the night comes in, darkness encompasses all but the hints of small lights. Perhaps man should not have discovered fire after all, seeing that they're as reckless with it as they are creative. 

Up above, the clouds shine with an ethereal glow. Birds, or some other animals perhaps, make noise below. Whether they do so purposefully or only out of instinct isn't clear, but nonetheless they continue to chatter among themselves. 

Time here does not flow in the same sense as it does normally, but when has it ever really? As the moon fades into obscurity, light comes in. There are no silhouettes, only shadows that hide as the sun continues to creep. 

Behind the trees, a young couple walks on a path. Their outlines flickering between the foliage, sweet words being exchanged with every step they take. On a tree he carves a heart with their names on it proclaiming his love for her. 

The street come alive only moments later as men drive their cars to go to work. In the vicinity, the Italians argue with the Poles who argue with with Germans who argue with the Irish. The mixture of accented English boils to cacophony and the day has begun.

---

Oh, how time flies. The engines of trucks, the loading of fruits and vegetables into the markets are quite entertaining.The beautiful dance of crates and produce create the schedule that produce a source of food for many. Despite coming from different countries, these poor immigrants somehow manage to cooperate with one another to feed themselves and others. The voices of disagreement occur inside.

"And why not?"

"Not To-day"

"But why?"

"Nothing, don't worry yourself."

"Good-bye dear."

Though this isn't the place to discuss the matters of this couple, it should be worth noting that as of this moment, he has left. Not to work, not to go to a friend's, but to leave.

Not too much happens here. The streets are busy, the voices of accented English belong to the older gentlemen who once loaded crates off of trucks in their younger days. Today, larger trucks move about to bring produce for the populace. Conveyor belts and younger lads handle the moving. Across the street, a group of businessmen walk to discuss their plans.

"And you think that this will increase profits?"

"Oh yes, assuredly so. No one uses this part of the woods anymore. It is time for progress."

"He's right you know", one said as he knocked on the trees one by one, "Nobody has been here for -"

He stopped. His hand was on a heart shaped carving. Two sets of initials were inside. He sighed.

"What's the matter?"

"Oh, nothing. Just a bit of nostalgia is all."

---

Alas, the couple who once fought, fights no more. As the woman mourns her husband's passing, she is forced to move out of the apartment building she once grudgingly called home. Home would be everywhere now. The rolling hills of Ireland. The sands of Egypt. Any other place where she wanted to go. Everywhere that wasn't here. Below, the sounds of a conversation occur. Whoever these two are isn't relevant, nor are the topics that they discuss. Is anything ever truly relevant?

"Yeah, nothing like a cold beer."

"It's 20 degrees out."

"Nothing like a cold beer." said the first after a hearty gulp. "Say, whatever happened to them trees that used to be in the front?"

"What trees?"

"You know, them trees that used to stand in front of this apartment building."

"Oh, those trees."

"Yeah, them trees."

"What about them?"

"Like I's was saying, what happened to them trees?"

"Well, it looks like those trees were removed."

"I can see that obviously."

"Then why'd you ask?"

"You're a pain in the ass, you know that?"

"Yeah. But going back to those trees..."

"What about them trees?"

"You're the one asking."

"Eh, this beer don't taste too good no more."

And thus ends the night. Meaningless conversation from two individuals trying to create meaning out of their lives.

---

Time, being a linear model, is often taken for granted. Who else would have guessed that events need to have some correlation between one another in order for people to make sense of it? As all is silent for the night, the space where the trees used to be is illuminated. Gravel and machinery take place of the trees that were once there. As the darkness fades into shades of green; brown; red; and many other colors, the silhouettes of trees that no longer exist show themselves for a moment in time. The sounds of a trumpet play off in the distance, but no longer with the smoothness it once did. Instead, carefully played notes with even tones create a melody to a simple song. The new occupants of a room bicker inside as two children walk the sidewalks.

"And we can move the crib in here."

"Yes darling."

"-said that you shouldn't do that"

"says who? I can do whatever I want."

"No, you can't"

"Yes, I can."

"And the couch over here."

"Mm."

"And the dresser right next to our new bed."

"Anything you want dear."

"You said you can do anything you want?"

"Anything and everything that I want."

"Okay, I dare you to-"

"And someday our child will get to hear this wonderful radio"

"Oh absolutely."

Gunshots are heard down the street. Within minutes, someone contacts the police. The woman clutches on to her husband fearful for the potential future of their child. Her frame shrinking against the plain white walls that surround them. He tries to console her, but with no success. They discuss moving once again. Days later, the duo return.

"Boy that was fun!"

"You're telling me. You're not the one who had to light them."

"Yeah, but you're the one who said-"

As the sun sets, the clear notes of a trumpet ring again. This time, they sound of practice and confidence. Across the street, two firecrackers lay against the sidewalk unlit.

---

The room is empty. Empty as it's ever been. The empty lot slowly evolves with each day that passes. Asphalt neatly covers what once was ground. The holes dug for foundations long since built over by businessmen replacing other businessmen and other businessmen replacing them. For nostalgia's sake, these businessmen would walk alongside their failed projects, reminiscing on those grandiose schemes of long ago.

"Where do you think we went wrong?"

"We? We never even worked on the same project."

"Of course, but we both did have ideals to which we worked."

"Provided it gave us income."

"Of course."

"Now that I've taken a proper look at it, this wasn't feasible at all."

"We all dream big, we all dream big."

"Yes. It is unfortunate."

A building, now defunct of any practical function, switches hands between the Puerto Ricans, the Blacks, and various immigrants of another wave.

"Whatever happened to the American Dream?"

"What do you mean the American Dream?"

"The idea that somewhere, somehow, the average person could make something of himself."

"The house with the white picket fence, the 2.5 kids, and the gorgeous trophy wife?"

"Yeah," said the first as he imagined the would-be printing press of ten years ago, "What happened?"

Staring at the woods in which he left his mark many years ago, the second replied, "We woke up."

In that moment, that man seemed to realize a great sadness.

"Well, it's time to dream anew."

"I suppose. Or perhaps it's time to see that the world isn't what it used to be."

And with that, the two men parted.

Quiz question:

What happened to the American Dream?

Everyone stopped believing it

Everyone stopped believing it

No one wants a lifestyle with a white picket fence, the 2.5 kids, and the gorgeous trophy wife anymore.

No one wants a lifestyle with a white picket fence, the 2.5 kids, and the gorgeous trophy wife anymore.

We woke up

We woke up

No one is American anymore

No one is American anymore

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Issue 1

published 

September 22, 2017

Bits and Pieces 1 - 5 were written by Kirk Gallardo.

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

My boyfriend has straight

up asked me if I would say

yes if he proposed.

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Issue 1

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the Lit.cat archives.
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