I stopped to investigate our neighborhood’s typewriter repair shop. My true destination was the pet shop, but I had to stop and take a breath of typewriter ink and tune my ears to the clack of worn metal keys, and meet the man whose touch and tinker kept these machines purring out a dance of words, a scripture of one’s desires, fantasys and fears.
Ruben Jesse Flores passed away last week. Memorial posters with his aged face dot the windows, alongside La Opinion’s Sunday front page feature on Mr. Flores from December 2004.
Today the shop is closed and as I stand there translating the
feature, an older man, in his 50’s or 60’s maybe, walks up to the door and sets down his typewriter case to peer inside. The case is yellowed and gray in places, but it looks as though it would sustain an atom bomb, typewriter nestled tightly inside. I couldn’t tell what brand it was.
I gently said, “he passed away last week,” and showed him the posters. He drifted over to the newspaper article. It didn’t seem like he could read it. He stepped away, walked back to the door of the Typewriter Shop, read the sign and said “that’s him.”
He started to walk away, and I trailed behind and asked if he had been there before. No. I asked if he lived around here. Pasadena. “There’s an typewriter shop in North Hollywood,” I recall aloud. It’s been ages since I’ve been past that one though; is it still there? Will Highland Park’s Typewriter Shop be forever closed with the death of Mr. Flores?
Type in Peace Mr. Flores.