Paving the dirt road in the village of Pardeaux


The thickness of the morning hangs black kite heavy

in the barrels of fog masks that inhabit nearly the

entirety of the Village of Pardeaux. And I was hired

by Henry Foster, along with others, to pave the dirt road

that zig-zags haphazardly through the Village of Pardeaux

in the parish of Leopold proper in which I'd never been

before. I took to the task mainly because that type of

work had dried up in Virginia, and there were certain

other matters there that I was needing to escape from, so

I rushed down south before Henry Foster could give the

job promised to some other out of work vagabond type

who's availability wasn't hindered by travel time, but I got

to the lodging quarters the night before Henry's crew

was ready to head out to the site. Everything was

going swimmingly that first day, as we made headway

from the outskirts of the village toward the interior at

a somewhat steady pace, yet the second day, man it

was something'. Hotter than the sun's waiting room,

with the heavy morning fog straying deep into the

woods on either side of where the project was pushing

toward, and just before lunch break I heard several

pings echo off the flattener that I was steering

to level the asphalt slab. Initially, I shrugged it

off as the machine was simply working so hard in

the heat that the barrings were wearing thin, though I

knew that sound relatively well, and this was somehow

different from what little I was able to discern over the

belching of the motor. I looked around cautiously, and

idled the throttle to make sense of it all when another

string of a more pelting nature shot out to reverberate

off of the dense forest that I was now surrounded by.

The pings got more consistent after my initial shut down,

to the extent that I scanned in all directions for some

sort of cause. At first I saw nothing tangible to explain

the noises, though they continued undeterred. After

nearly five minutes of this, I got off the flattener

to explore the woodline, and a few feet beyond. A narrow

ditch divided the road from the woods which troubled me

quite a bit. Then a barrage of substantial sized rocks

fell at my feet, with one catching me square in the

stomach. A parcel of woods directly in front of me

swayed momentarily, as another round of rocks chipped

the paint off places on the flattener. I high-tailed

that thing out of there, backing the monster at speeds

I never thought it could go, as a collection of people came

out of the woods into the clearing. Tossing rocks as far

as they could throw, and I caught up to Henry Foster eating

lunch in a diner, telling him that getting' hit with rocks

in the stomach was where I drew the line, and hitched it

back to Virginia with nothing' to show for my troubles.