Change of address form

When I reached the truck I took Clyde King’s picture from my wallet, examining the address on the back.  250 Highway 98.  I pointed the truck south.  The old truck maxed out at forty-five so I drove slow, the wind hot through the window.  As I drove south on Highway 98 the city melted back and gave way to fields where black men worked without shirts.  A green-hided thickness crept wherever the land went untilled.   

I crested a slight hill and saw a gray scar on the green horizon—some sort of factory.  Ungainly contraptions and conveyors rose up to meet me.  Gray cylinders pierced the sky.  Clouds of dust shrouded what lay beneath.  Dust belched upward from unseen forces as conveyors and elevators moved in concert.  The air was loud with the incessant hammering of steel on steel.  I stopped at an unoccupied tollbooth, looking in through cyclone fence at the gaping monstrosity.  I leaned on the horn and a uniformed fellow came running from the bushes, just zipping up.  He came up to my window. 

‘How can I help you, sir?’

‘What’s the address here?’

‘250, sir.  Highway 98.’  He was a kid.  About my age. 

‘I’m looking for a farm at 250 .’

‘No farm here, sir—just us and the kudzu.’

‘What’s this place?’

‘Factory, sir.  Simpson’s Concrete and Supply.’

‘How long has it been here?’

‘Long as I can remember, sir.’  The boy smiled.  ‘Longer than we been alive.’

‘Any way I could get inside?’

‘No, I don’t think so.’

‘C’mon, I just want to take a peak.’

‘I’m sorry sir—it’s all off limits unless you’ve got a pass.’

‘I’d only be in there a minute.’

‘Wish I could, sir.’

I relented.  I pulled a three-point turn and headed for Poscataw.  Another clue?  I wasn’t sure. I had to keep digging.


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