Vicki spent the weekend packing up her things in preparation for her move. Monday morning she woke up with a feeling of release, surveyed the taped boxes arrayed neatly along the walls of her living room, and made her way to the Store 24 to buy the Globe for the last time. She skimmed its headlines and sipped her grapefruit juice contentedly. “Lots of Pulp”, “Boy, 2, Charged with Assault.”
Her boyfriend Bernie had left summarily two months before, leaving some old socks and a couple of CDs but no explanation. Vicki waited a month for a call or a letter or an email, but when nothing came she started looking for a smaller apartment (and found one quickly).
She spent the next month packing and throwing stuff out. Trash cans lined the street on that final Monday, punctuated by an empty one at the end of the row, an old one that Vicki simply wanted the men to take away. She’d marked it PLEASE TAKE THIS CAN. She watched as the men came by in the truck, one tossing the contents of can after can into the truck’s rear maw. When he got to the empty one, he paused. Vicki opened the window. He walked back to his perch on the back, and the driver drove on.
“Hey,” Vicki shouted. “Hey! You forgot that last can!”
“It’s already empty,” the man shouted back.
“But I want you to take the can,” Vicki shouted again. “Take the can.”
“We don’t busy ourselves with containers,” he called back, his voice already Dopplering a little. “We only take care of the inner parts, the mind, the soul. In the grand scheme of things, the containers fade to nothing anyway. It is a waste to tend to them.”
“Asshole,” Vicki shouted.
“Read Aquinas and Kierkegaard,” he shouted back.