He turned his five-year-old head
quickly when the strange scraping sound
intruded. The august sun caught the blond strands of boyhair when he looked towards the corner where his dog
stood barking, already long-privy to the event.
The street cleaner was just a sliver of yellow between the succession of high thick hedges that ran the length of the block, but as its noises grew, so did his expectations. Was it possible his sister didn’t even hear the glorious clatter? She was still arranging her dolls as he made his move, across the sidewalk and onto the curb. How many of those twigs and maple tree helicopters come to earth would disappear in a few slivers of time?
The behemoth approached. His dog stood stock-still, no longer barking at the intruder, content rather to wonder as the boy himself did. He wondered at the size of the machine and at its profusion of water hoses and steel brushes, and he wondered whether he could get a small one to clean up his room.
He found the sound of the cleaning varied in intensity if he leapt up and down to see the man behind the dirt-arced windshield. He waved as he leapt and the man waved back. He turned to his sister, excited, but it was as if she were somewhere else. The yellow monster didn’t interest her. It had a license plate on the back, he noticed, and it was, at that, a lot like a car.
The clatter receded and he decided not to run alongside the machine. After all, if you’ve seen one street cleaner, you’ve seen one street cleaner.
And besides, it missed a spot.