Waiting in traffic on the far left lane just after the 4th street exit. Honda Woman eats a salad out of one of those plastic "to go" containers. It looks like she is calm, but inside she is very angry ‘cause the traffic is so thick. She listens to A.M., the traffic "want INFO" station posted on the green and white signs across the Bay Bridge. She has that station programmed on her radio. She's headed toward the East Bay. Two homeless looking men speak to each other. They are in a flat bed truck, watching her. They can't escape. The driver of the truck is blasting Black Lodge Singers on his one speaker radio. They comment on the way she chews, with her mouth open. She is oblivious.
Marvin speaks first to Jimmy.
"Tell her yourself."
"If she could just stop for a minute. 37 seconds even."
"She looks like she's foaming huh. The way the dressing and that white stuff sort of looks like them chunks you throw up when you are little."
"Come on. You're going to make that stick on my head."
"Tell her yourself."
Jimmy climbs out of the truck. He is really tall and rail thin. Half his hair is tightly pulled back in a pony tale. The remainder hangs down to his belt line. He's got on old clean Wranglers and a pow wow shirt from 1983. It's faded big time, but clean. He walks up to the car slowly. The traffic has been at a stand still for 25 minutes. He over hears the woman's radio, a big rig has tipped over and they won't be moving for a while. He's getting kind of nauseated between all the exhaust, this lady's chewing and some fumes he can't identify. He walks just past her car and notices a few cheesy "Indian" novels on her back dash. This lady has something going on with skins, she appreciates their heritage. He can't figure out what to say anyway, so he walks back to the flat bed. She's still oblivious. He gets back on the truck.
"Come on, let's go."
"Go where man. This the only pony we're going to find out of here. What's your problem?" Marvin is funny and has energy for everything.
"It's a big rig mess, we ain't movin' for at least another 30 minutes, and I can’t be here with that woman."
"You think she's got 30 minutes worth of food left?"
"Shut up, Aeey. Let's go."
"We are going. To Sacramento. Now lay down if you have to. Look at the sky or something."
"Naw man, these chemicals are making me sick."
"So is that lady. You're all a mess ain't you."
He's got a smile in the words and the sweet way they slide right out. He gives Jimmy a funny eyebrow look. Honda Woman notices the two men having a talk in front of her. Indians. She can tell, the way they talk so lazily. Besides they got the hair, and she gives a little tap on her horn. They look up and she waves. One of those little "tooda loo" waves. Marvin acknowledges her with a head tip. Jimmy just drops his head down, like a marionette that just had the string cut loose.
"Now's your chance. Go tell her she's making you sick."
"Don't say a word."
"Here, I'll tell her."
Marvin jumps out so quickly Jimmy can't even think "Stop" let alone mouth it out. So he just keeps his head down figuring he don't need this image pinned to his head too. Marvin returns.
"She said she's sorry."
"For chewing like a pig."
Jimmy lies down on the flat bed, lays his arms across his belly and tries to picture quiet things. Like empty baby booties. Water glasses. The T.V. with the sound off. The house he grew up in at 4 AM. His first time waking up alone after Stevie. The road between cities. Driving with the windows up. He just started listing them out loud, to the sky's ears. Creating his own little fiberglass hard top. And finally they rode, through the bridge, the tunnel, out past the island, and onto 80. He didn't even know when they lost her. But her mouth kept eating at his brain.