One Day, Gallant Steals a Garbage Truck

He joyrides all over town, his head out the window,
his crisp side part suddenly askew, individual hairs
differentiating themselves in a way he never thought
possible. Who is he now, who is Gallant now, if he
does the bad thing, the big bad thing—not just
knocking over Mother’s vase or forgetting to take
the garbage out, but remembering how much he
always wanted to drive that garbage truck, the red,
rusty one that idles incongruously at the end of the
picture-perfect driveway? Goofus is nowhere to be
found—or blamed. For once, Goofus isn’t right in
the middle of it when the shit goes down. As a
matter of fact, at this moment, Goofus is busy
polishing Father’s shoes. He doesn’t even know
why. (It’s not like him, you might recall, to be
so industrious.) In a moment, he’ll let one shoe
fall, and then the other. In two moments, he’ll
be down the stairs, through the mawkish
front door, past the twee rosebushes, onto
the driveway, now strewn with other people’s
refuse. Brother! he’ll say. Brother, here I am.

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2 thoughts on “One Day, Gallant Steals a Garbage Truck

  1. Oh, man, I love this. Gallant finally snaps and gets to have a good time!

    I’d thought Goofus and Gallant were a thing of the past–until my mom gave my son a gift subscription to Highlights last year. I couldn’t believe those two were still taking up space in a children’s magazine. Your poem makes such a delicious reversal; I especially like “For once, Goofus isn’t right in / the middle of it when the shit goes down.” 🙂

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