/ poem and story / spencer summers

Spencer Summers

This is a story about a fictional character in Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. The intention was to write in the style of Vonnegut to introduce him - hope you enjoy!

While Dwayne idled in the Pontiac shop (as he often did), a familiar neighbor of his, Spencer Summers stepped in. This man was young, Dwayne thinks around 20 or so. It’s not so clear what he does for work but it is crystal clear, as is his face from blemishes, that his skin is the same color as Dwayne’s.

“Where you been keeping yourself Dwayne?” joked Spencer. They had only ever talked at the dealership, one of these times they discovered that they were neighbors. Another of these times Summers bought a car from Dwayne. At first he always used to come into the shop and talk nonstop about what kinda car he would get if he could get one. Spencer was one of those folks who couldn’t hold on to diddly-squat. He sometimes talked about driving down long roads in a sports car really fast, sometimes he wanted to ride around in an old cop car and make folks nervous they were gonna get a ticket.

roads were things people made to drive cars on, they looked a bit like this:

🚗  <<  🚗  <<
🚧  >>  🚧  >>

Spencer loved cars but even more than cars he loved driving. He felt like when he was driving he didn’t have to stand on his own two feet – the car did the standing for him. Even though he loved cars he never made enough money to purchase one, he had to borrow some money from the government. In the present country a lot of folks got a hold of things this way. They paid for cars, homes, and even schools with borrowed money and agreed to pay it back with interest, isn’t that interesting?

Dwayne didn’t think Spencer was very interesting. He sometimes looked very blank as if he saw some things but noticed nothing. “Maybe he’s just very calm” Dwayne suddenly thought. He knew that he didn’t like when Spencer spoke in platitudes, it didn’t give him a turn to talk. Platitudes are these expressions people used which are supposed to be so plain and obvious that they must be true. Something like “Time heals all wounds” or “patience is a virtue”.

After a couple more needless utterances, without saying anything Dwayne began walking to the back office of the dealership. To the rhythm of his own two feet bringing him to some much needed silence he said quietly “Well… such is life.”