Death and America and random asides…I wish there were only 500 words between me and the machine

The drive down I-80 hit like a fastball slipping up and in. I was too slow and it hit hard. Nothing but tall grass and drought-stunted corn stalks and farmers with python knuckles crackling through open roads in rust’d flat beds.

I unearthed the last of the Budweisers from under the duck-tape re-upholster’d seat and sent an empty predecessor out the window… following the cylinder with my third eye, up and out and there rests a half-drunk moon… armies of evil chasing knights of truth across the sub-lunar plains… hands away from the clutch and sending that first gulp, that perfect gulp, down my throat and into my hindbrain, praying the monkey stays shut down.

Cold cold cold.

Exit 137, maybe 173 (it had been a long week of speed and loose pussy and fuck else if I remember) and I peeled off the dragon of asphalt and settled into a parking lot for a magazine-cover diner, front page out of Sears’ Christmas Edition for the Midwest. Stainless steel panel’d exteriors, red-checkered drapes covering cut-out windows, burnt grease and diesel, the menu covers charred as well… I walked in and sat down and looked for a newspaper.

Six days on the road… I was ordering cheeseburgers and draft beers and reeling it all in like Doc on the hunt for octopi. The waitress was a fine piece of short-ciliated-blonde-hair’d ass and met my eyes early and hard…everything slamming into me. Hips, eyelashes, ruby red lipstick and matching nails…I thought about her toes, hiding beneath her white Keds…did they match up as well? I wanted to know.

“How’s everything treating you honey?”

“Couldn’t be better with you taking care of me, thank you so much. Can I get one more beer on top of this ice cream and apple crisp, I know I’m going to sleep in my car for a little while. And a slice of cheese if you don’t mind, goes great on a pie crust.” This was her entry point.

“Where you coming from? And cheese on the pie?” She purred up right next to the table, a pre-smile to her smile…not grossed out by the cheese…her thighs were shaven and silky and forbidden but within my arm’s reach.

“Absolutely cheese on the pie, please. Headed South, coming home from Chicago… for a little bit. How long have you been hustling around here?”

Deflection deflection deflection.

She smiled and shimmied, right thigh over left, insatiable and not even naked yet. “That’s a good question, but I’ve been here long enough to know not to answer those kinds of questions on a Saturday night, especially from city boys.” She paused and we smiled and she accepted me for a friend, of some kind. “I’m only twenty… been rafting down the river from Shelbyville my whole life, but I’ve been working here since I was fifteen. Family still makes a living on their cabins on the lake shore. My dad, mainly… been trying to get out since I started, to be honest, but it’s alright. I moved out and am in nursing school now.”

“Boyfriend?”

“Ex-husband.”

She blinked and blinked and I saw her pain ridden eyes with my own, bloodshot and scattered, and we met for an infinitely small second and then it evaporated. She meant it all, every nuance and lip tense and timid pause, but you would never be able to tell with of her motion picture beauty and the speed of time.

I had to alleviate. “Well, all in all sounds like you’re a lucky girl. I wish I had some beachfront property… all I see is rich people in cars and FaceBook followers. I don’t get any of it.”

“I mean there’s obviously nothing wrong with FaceBook... and there ain’t no beachfront on our lake.” Legs uncrossed and re-crossed across away, tan and smooth… the tab is torn off of the paper pad and she faded away before she left me to my cheese-less pie.

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