D (not his real name) woke up early on Saturday morning.
There were so many things he had to do before heading uptown for work. Besides his regular ablutions, deciding on the best togs for that day's work, there was also breakfast and the daily newspaper to fetch for himself and his friend who lived a few blocks away. He always checked in on his friend in the mornings before heading off to his job. His friend was getting on in years, you see, and D always wanted to make sure he did not want for anything he did not have.
This morning, he found his friend in fine fettle, and, after sharing a warm breakfast with the gentleman and leaving his newspaper behind, he set off for work.
He made his way home and climbed into his pickup truck. If you live in the French Quarter, you will know that, at a time like this, you will want to pause and consider what it is you are about to do, how you are going to go about doing it, and then getting up off your duff and making it happen.
D's first thought was, Where did I leave my pickup truck last night?
He started his engine, pulled out of his parking spot, and proceeded down the street, keeping a sharp eye out for his truck. Not on this block.
He took a left at the first corner. No luck.
Another left at the next block. Nothing.
A left again, then two blocks. The pickup was not in sight.
Where could I have left it? he wondered.
He took another turn, a right, then another right, another yet again, and down for three blocks more. The pickup truck was not to be found.
He scrambled in his left pants pocket for his cell phone. He dialed the New Orleans Police Department's Eighth District.
"Do you have any reports of a stolen pickup truck?" he asked.
"No, sir. Do you wish to file a report?"
"Well, I can't find my truck this morning. I've looked all over a four block radius, and it's nowhere in sight."
"Have you tried the auto pound? Call them first. I'll get you the number."
He called, but his truck was not there either.
Panic was setting in. His skin felt clammy, beads of sweat were budding on his forehead. He pulled over to the side of the street and tried to consider what next to do.
He looked at the time. It was getting late. He had to be at work soon. What to do? He sorted his priorities and decided work was paramount. He'd look for the truck again later in the day.
He took a deep breath and pulled out back into traffic and made his way out of the Quarter and far away uptown.
His day was hectic, and, always, there in the forefront of his mind, was the fear he'd never find his vehicle when day was done.
Did his insurance cover theft? He wasn't sure. He'd have to check. And why his truck? It wasn't new. It was, by all manner of measure, an old Mississippi heap, its tires caked with red clay, grime on the windshield around the wipers' curves. It was a part of him, however, a chapter of his own personal history, written in steel and chrome. A great sadness clouded his day.
Finally, when work was done, he gathered his strength about him, making himself ready to resume his search. Without thinking, he headed out to the employees' parking lot.
The sight hit him like a strong wind in his face. There, right there, was his pickup truck, dusty, and with all its dings and dents in place. His truck.
It was only then, right there, that he remembered, realized, just how he'd conducted his frantic search eight hours before.
He swore he would never tell a soul.
Well, maybe his friend, the elderly gentleman he looked in on every day. He'd enjoy the story. And D could trust him to keep his confidence and never repeat the tale.
Yes, that would be a pleasant saga to recount to his friend over the next morning's coffee and sausage.
He smiled to himself and felt a warm flush of pleasure in the knowledge that he had such a trustworthy friend.
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