I present my voice handle at a wide spot in the Road of Life. Guard shows himself and gives it an earball.
“See Walk?” he goes. “What’s that stand for?”
“We don’t stand for anything,” I says.
“Then maybe you should lighten up,” he goes. Female laughter coming out of the guardhouse might be real. If so, she might’ve got the joke.
Or she might just be using the x-ray vision on my Gaps. “Gotta stand for something,” Guard concludes, changing the cross of his boots on the La-Z-Boy so the Segway has to adjust slightly. Seems not to have noticed that I said “we.”
He mulls the phrase over a bit. “Sea Walk? See Wok?” He makes slanty eyes. “You one a them acronyms?”
I take a chance. “Stands for City Without Cars,” I says. If they have one of those brain scanners, it’ll be going it’s a good day to die but in second-coming bold.
“City without cars? That’s like having zero for a denominator,” he goes. I let my face do the level of perplexed that’s just enough so he can say what he wants to say about how he’s smarter than me, which is, “You do the math.”
“Does not compute,” his sidewinder pipes up. Life-like detachable retro georgebush head unit pops up and Beavis-and-Butthead-laughs back into the guardhouse at the implied chick. Guard shoves it back in his pants, fake-pretending to be annoyed.
“We ain’t gonna put a hitch in your giddyup, my man,” goes the Guard, overcome with his own generosity, “but that’s not saying you don’t look ridiculous.”
I’m not the only one who said “we,” is what I’m thinking as I shove off into The City on shank’s mare.
Numerator cars going by are green as battery nuclear and would be quiet if their denominators weren’t ratting loudly on them in voices fat with the new rubber-and-cadmium composites.
“Heel toe heel toe heel toe heel toe heel toe,” I says, getting a little clippety-clop going, lighting one line of iambic pentameter from the coals of the one before like I’m chain smoking. “we go we go we go we go we go.”
This must be what we stand for.
DAVID KER THOMSON lives in Oz, the name street people use for the area around Ossington subway station in Toronto. Oz is halfway between the equator and the North Pole. He can be reached at: Dave.firstname.lastname@example.org