Two Tractors

A Short Story by Korea J. Brownstein

John woke up to the call of the rooster. He stretched his toes, slipped them into his green fluffy house shoes, stretched his back, frowned, and reached for his green flannel shirt hanging off the edge of the bed. He stood up, smoothed his red striped boxers, and squinted into the bright sunlight when he opened the blinds. He turned towards the bedroom door forgetting his flannel green pants as the smell of bacon and eggs and cinnamon toast made their way to his nose. The floor creaked as he kissed his wife good morning. The uneven chair he sat down in leaned slightly to the left as they began to eat in silence.

He heard the mailman pull up. He opened the door with a loud creak, squinted his eyes as he put his hand over his forehead and grabbed his cane by the railing. Slowly he left the front porch and began to walk down the gravel road over taken by weeds. He walked by an apple tree and plucked a plump red granny smith apple. The juice from it ran down his chin. He opened the mailbox and sifted through the bills and ad papers.

On his walk back, he could see the bright red barn with blooming tulips all around it across a small shimmering lake. As he walked on the gravel road back home, he heard a baaaaa by the barn and began walking towards the boardwalk that led to it. All of his sheep were gathered by the lake drinking its clear crisp water. The boardwalk led him to a small narrow bridge that was just a few feet above the water. He saw a school of salmon swimming through its current. Attached to the bridge’s railing were two fishing rods both a deep copper color and both beginning to chip. He gently ran his fingers over the one on the left. He picked it up and pretended to go fishing. With a deep sigh, he put it back and continued on the path towards the bright red farm.

When he reached the barn, he touched the worn wood beneath the red paint and rubbed his hands against the hot brass door knobs. He pulled the big heavy doors open and a wave of dust fluttered into the air. The dust settled on the corroded horse stable and cob webs filled the hay. He jumped as a deep black blur ran past him out the doors with a deeply distressed purr. Next to the stable leaned a blue bicycle and blue tricycle with airless wheels and spokes poking out. A fly filled web covered them both with the carcass of the black widow. A busted football and broken baseball bat lean against a crack in the wooden wall of what used to be the pony’s stall.

The bright blue tractor and deep green tractor sat side by side. The rusted keys in the blue and green tractors were turned slightly clockwise as if to start an ignition that never began. Two gas cans sat side by side nearby reeking of gas. Both cans were corroding, rusting into a reddish brown color. A crumpled yellowed piece of paper lay on the dusty ground near the gas cans. Uncle Sam’s picture was still prominent on the envelope the letter was torn from. It lay between the cans.

A loud caw startled him as two crows flew past his head and out of the barn. The rest of the crows cluttered together disturbing the dust as they looking down at him from their perch on the large wooden beam. The barn slightly shook as he heard a loud scream from the side of the barn. All the crows flew out the barn and began circling in the sky. He swiftly turned around and stumbled as he attempted to leave the barn. He fell to the ground with a thud, relocating dirt and old hay across the floor. He struggled to his knees and reached for his cane. He helped himself up using both the cane and the white worm stained pillar overridden with termites that held up the barn. Then he left.

His eyes stung as he blinked a few times trying to regain his sight as the bright sunlight entered into him. He shielded his eyes with his left hand as he began to look around. Off in the distance was a coyote carrying a sheep leaving a trail of red stained grass and sheds of soft wool.

He heard his wife call to him in a worried voice. He did not respond, but sighed deeply and began to walk on towards the house. From the distance he could see she was waving his green flannel pants he had left behind.

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