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Heavy Metal

 

by Christopher Chambers 

 

To avoid the Hernandez brothers, lean tough kids with scarred knuckles, reputations, and stolen cigarettes, I cut through the back lot of the local body shop on my way home from school, passed slow by the twisted wrecks and starred windshields, awed by the hard lines and the graceful curves where Detroitís finest met bridge abutments and telephone poles, the rorschachs of dried blood on cloth upholstery. An eye out for Carlos and Manuel, I pried free the chrome script Coupe de Ville and the bold V from a Caddyís trunk. The screwdriver slipped and my hand drove into the jagged sheet metal. The next day, too late for stitches, I had a start on my first scar. I returned to the scene and salvaged an armful of eight-track tapes from a burned-out Nova, labels charred, plastic cases deformed. But they still played. And that summer, my right hand taped and wrapped, I played catcher for the local Tigers, caught Manuelís wild fastball, listened to the tapes at night in headphones, a dead manís music channeling over and over. T. Rex and Nazareth resurrected. I worked on a hard throw to second, and learned the art of hot wire. Detroit won the Series that year, my throwing hand throbbed, the city burned. Manny and I played hard, shared smokes behind the dugout after games, played those tapes again and again and dreamt of high school ball, drivers licenses, the Big Leagues, and our own gleaming piece of some American Dream.

 


Christopher Chambers lives in New Orleans where he pitches and bats clean-up for the Ancient Mariners softball team.

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