Eli S. Evans | Ace’s Mango Truck

His name was Ace, and he drove a mango truck. With a wife and a couple of parakeets in their cages and a nice little place not too far from the beach in San Diego for all of them to call home, Ace’s life would have been pretty cool, too, if only it hadn’t been for his neighbor, you know the one – “Nessellbush!”

That’s what Ace would hiss through gritted teeth every morning during breakfast, over and over again between bites of bacon, biscuits, bagels, buttered toast, and blueberry pancakes. Then, when he was finished hissing, but before he headed off to the Coachella Valley to retrieve his daily freight of mangos, he would growl like an angry dog: “Grrr. Grrr!” And while growling thusly, Ace would stare unblinking out the east-facing kitchen window toward his neighbor’s house. He never actually saw the man on those mornings, and that was probably for the best, because in all likelihood seeing him only would have made things worse. What I mean is that if the very thought of Nessellbush caused Ace to hiss like a snake and growl like an angry dog, imagine what the sight of him could have done. He might have roared like a lion or, worse yet, gone stark raving mad like another one of their neighbors, Jason Russell, the activist filmmaker better known as “the naked masturbator of 2012.”

Speaking of 2012, back in 2012 Ace and Nessellbush had been the best of friends, real bosom buddies and all that. But then what had happened had happened: Nessellbush had said the thing he’d said, Ace had responded in the manner in which he’d responded, and the rest, as they say, is history, even if most everyone agreed it was really nothing more than a simple misunderstanding that would have been as easy as apple pie to clear up if only the two of them hadn’t lost their heads.

“Maybe you should walk over there and set this thing between the two of you straight,” Ace’s wife would, in this vein, many mornings suggest to her hissing, growling spouse. And not merely because she was sick of hearing about that damned Nessellbush – it was also that she missed the quiet hours to herself she was once afforded by activities such as candlepin bowling (just say the words “double deadwood in the gutter” in front of either of them and watch how their faces twist and contort into an expression of nostalgia mixed with rage) in which the former friends had once regularly participated together.

Sadly, Ace didn’t have time for clearing up misunderstandings – or settling scores, as the case may have been – because he was always too busy explaining to people that when he said he drove a “mango truck,” no, he did not mean that what he did was drive an unusually large mango that had been hollowed out and transformed into a truck via the installation of an engine and chassis, as well as various other modifications.

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