on the block

My neighbor used to be a fireman, and got retired when he fell through a roof. Tonight something is burning nearby, there are screaming trucks and strobing lights around the corner.

He’s out in front of his building, leaning on the fence. “Somebody’s going to work.”

There are people on any block who observe the comings and goings on the street, who keep its pulses. He is one of them, and at first I think he means me, that I’ve been going to an office.

“Every day now,” I say.

“No, I mean over there,” he says, pointing toward the trucks. He rocks back and forth on heels. “I miss it,” he says. “You smell that and the adrenaline gets going.”

Then he closes his eyes. “Smells like victory.”

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