Any "Star Wars" nerd will tell you that a tractor beam is "an invisible force beam that drags objects from place to place", but only I will tell you that those nerds are wrong.
Wrong wrong wrong.
A tractor beam does not necessarily have to be "invisible". In fact, a tractor beam can be quite visible. It can also have a black metallic finish with red decal racing stripes, and a pair of dangly black fuzzy dice.
The scene: 6am-Parkdale
The players: myself (B); early morning traffic; one guy having his morning coffee.
'Morning coffee' might not be totally true; someone as drunk as he was likely hadn't gone to sleep yet, making his coffee more of an apretif.
I pull up to a red light on Queen and begin waiting my turn. To my left I hear an un-Godly exclaimation, and turn to see this man eject himself from the greasy spoon he was sobering up in, still holding his cup of java, and begin across the street towards me.
The Ranchero had him locked in a tractor beam. I've seen it happen before.
Drunk A stumbled infront of a moving car, which honked, to which he saluted with an upturned middle finger, in turn spilling coffee on his own arm. He stumbled to an eerie stillness outside my passenger window, a watery thousand-yard stare fixed in my direction ("watery" because the cigarette in his mouth was issuing smoke into his eyes, imparing his admiring gaze).
A pursed his lips and plucked the cigarette from its resting place. Then, with the hand holding the cigarette, he placed it gently on the chrome moulding around the window and slowly began to trace its elegant curve. The expression on his faced matched one I'd seen in a movie from the Forties, where this guy watched the mirrored reflection of a woman in her bedroom putting on silk stockings. Forbidden sensual delight.
His caress went from the window moulding, to the chrome running the length of the cruck's box. The expression on his face made me thankful that the cruck stood just high enough to mask the erection surely straining his britches.
The light turned green, and like a stern father who's heart is hardened by the loss of a wife and now stands mute in the face of Aphrodites' work, I stepped on the pedal and demanded The Ranchero leave her lover behind.
The chrome sped out from under A's hand, and there was a second where he stood in the middle of the street as if the cruck was still there, purring underhand--then he looked up to the silhouette of his ever-fading love, staining his eyes to cut through the early morning smog of the city, wishing that life were different. Wishin' that things hadn't turned out like this--drunk in the morning, a daughter that doesn't speak to him, no hope of realising his full potential, AND A CAR HONKING ITS HORN.
My rear view-finder painted a picture of loss: A was fighting with the horn-blower, the spell of the Ranchero broken.
The bumper sticker on the car ahead? "You can have my Ranchero when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!" There's a little picture of a skelton with a Rebel flag waving in a wind of flames.