This morning when I think I’m leaving for work I step outside into a paper storm. It’s trash day.
Yes, that’s right. Some (not so) nice person went rummaging through our trash/recycling bin between 7 and 7:30 a.m. this morning, broke open a bag filled with the discards from my desk cleaning, and rejected them again — all over the street.
Sailing down our block and half the next one in the wind of rush hour traffic are: Trampoline postcards, a print-out from a PDF of Kate Wilhelm’s Storyteller (from before it came out), various chapters of Aztec Dance Tunes, and other miscellaneous crap (an old computer manual, CD-ROMs, old floppy disks, etc.). I would have taken a picture, but we had a limited time window in which to clean up the mess before the actual garbage guys showed.
Armed with trash bags, Mr. Rowe and I canvassed the blocks, as if participating in a litter clean-up game show of some kind. The neighbors came out and helped with the worst of it, then had to leave for work. Half-way down the block, I happen on a clutch of pages from my novel.
Let me tell you, there’s nothing like picking up an early draft of your book off the street to put things in perspective. While I’m having this little moment, two ladies approach with armfuls of paper. Not realizing they have actually wandered into an indie movie scene wrought with ironic symbolism, they assume it’s the end of Wonder Boys. Or so it seems at first.
"You must be a teacher," says one.
"Yes," I lie, because it seems the most efficient response.
The gap-toothed blonde hands me a huge stack of my novel.
"This is all trash," I tell her. "Someone dumped it out a few minutes ago."
"Oh," she says. "I thought it was something important."
Her friend says, "I thought it was trash."
"It is," I agree, and send them on their way.
(But, hey, they both came back to help. Faith in human nature and all that.)
Christopher sends the following note:
Found a few minutes ago blown up against the architecture firm next to JONK down on Third Street.
A single piece of paper, BLANK, except for a header reading: Bond: Aztec Dance Tunes: 66.