Yesterday's accident in Phoenix reminds me of Tony.

After the crash, he could only move the muscles above his shoulders.
His neck was knotted with tension as he watched The Black Stallion
on the VCR in his room at the nursing home.

Len told me about the accident as we stood in my driveway in Los Altos
on a sunny afternoon after the daffodils had shriveled
and their leaves lay splayed open on the ground.

Tony and his cousin crashed on Skyline Boulevard on Christmas Eve.
They hadn't seen each other in years.
They ate Christmas dinner, then they went out. And crashed.

Tony's new girlfriend was angry. At everyone.
She poured gasoline all over the seats and dashboard of Len's car
and tried to set it on fire. It didn't burn like she'd planned, like a cartoon fire,
leaving just a bare frame, the shocks and hubcaps and a body panel or two.
The dull yellow Reliant was still all there, damaged and ugly.

Smoldering upholstery hung on the air around his house.

I think of this because Mark's niece called me this morning at 7:20 to tell me about
the accident near Phoenix 24 hours before.


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