The man rinses his truck with a hose and a spray nozzle. He circles the truck once, pays particular attention to the seams where metal meets metal, and to the gutter above the doors of the cab. He holds the nozzle close to the edges of the rubber around the windshield to remove the lodged grime. He sprays the grill and each hubcap in turn, he rinses the under-carriage and the wheel wells, the Chevrolet insignia, and the licence plate that identifies the truck as vintage 1949. Then he lowers the rear gate and washes wood chips from the box. Occasionally, he takes a slug of beer from the bottle on a table under the awning of the house, until the bottle is empty, which occurs precisely when the rinse is complete.
He goes to the refrigerator in the garage and grabs another bottle of beer and takes it out to the table, beside which sits a full pail of wash n’ wax and cold water. He takes a sponge-glove from the white plastic chair next to the table and drops it into the pail, then drinks a bit of beer. He walks with the pail to the driver’s side door of the cab. It takes him a half hour to sponge every inch of the truck, and rinse the soapy wash n’ wax mixture off with the hose. He moves the nozzle in a sweeping motion from the roof of the cab, along the sides, and then the rear gate. He likes the way the water cascades over the body of the truck, how the red paint seems almost liquid.
He sits on the plastic chair and downs half the beer. The afternoon is hot, the beer now tepid. He removes his short-sleeved shirt and hangs it over the back of the chair. He is tanned to just above his elbows, his face is brown from the sun, but his shoulders and torso are pale white. His fleshy belly folds over the waist of his pants. He takes two cloths from the table and buffs the truck until the sun passes between the big oak and the high wood fence. He stands back and regards the truck the way a man sees his reflection when shaving. The truck looks like a bright red candy in the late afternoon sun.
You can hear a gentle surf, a ferry has just arrived from the mainland and passed through the bay at the front of the property. This was his late father’s home. From his father he learned the inner workings of machines and how to make moonshine. He hated his father because, as an adopted child, a boy, he was meant to work hard - chop wood, clean the eaves, paint the fence - and if he didn’t do a good enough job, his father would use the belt. The truck makes him feel young without having to really think about it all. He finishes his beer and opens another.