Ragtop by Rick Hartwell


Rick Hartwell

Spirits of the night, stealing a replacement ragtop for an old
Bug-Eyed Sprite. Just too damn cold for pedestrian morality!
Dave drives slowly by, lights out, casing the place, circling
Twice around the block to check it all out. Ben and I bail
Out to steal the convertible top from a rich man’s car
Parked in a rich man’s driveway in front of a rich man’s house,
Convinced his insurance will pay up and the snow will stop
Before morning. Christ it’s cold, but we heat up running
Down the block, conspicuous as all hell on the snowy street,
Rolled ragtop trundled between us, and dive into the back seat,
Headed for the Sprite hidden in the bowels back at Dave’s garage.

Old ripped-top duct-taped to the frame until we drive out of town,
Ten miles southwest of Spokane, and switch the tops. Old tatters
Buried at a pullout under mud and dead leaves and newborn snow.

Feeling the heat swell and fill the car, we warm up towards Seattle.

About the Author

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher who lives in Moreno Valley, California, with his wife of almost thirty-five years (poor soul—her, not him), their disabled daughter, one of their sons and his ex-wife (?) and two children, Rick and Sally’s grandchildren, and ten cats! Yes, ten. Don’t ask. Rick has had articles, stories, poetry, or memoirs published in Educational Leadership, English Journal, California English, Kappa Delta Pi Record, The Voice, Sunspots, Once Upon A Time, and Vietnam Magazine; and, online at The National Gallery of Writing, www.galleryofwriting.org, Raphael’s Village, The Foundling Review, Lowestoft Chronicle, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina: Anointed: A Devotional Anthology, http://neosalexandria.wordpress.com.