Las Vegas

17 November 2009 § Leave a comment

For five minutes I flipped through the pages of an address book to determine just how old it was. It took me three of those minutes to think of looking up people I actually knew, and the last two minutes were spent flipping through every address I had over the course of a few years of my childhood. It was not a short list. Carl, Dusty, Aliak, Daryl, it was a list of pet names or streets and courts and avenues, dead rats or cowhands in old Westerns – filmed in Italy or written in South Dakota, depicting Dodge or Tuscon, Idaho, Alaska. I wanted no part of it.

I used to get off on nostalgia – it made me feel like I belonged somewhere, like I had somewhere to return to, to call home, to sleep and die – and having visited most of these places again, followed by leaving them again, quickly, because the dust behind the car was catching up to me, going to consume that little Japanese import in tumbleweeds, I ripped the rearview mirror from the glass like it insulted me, tossed it in the backseat. Never know when I might need it later. I stuck my head out the window at eighty miles an hour and looked back that way. It was less surreal, and  convinced me that I was going bonkers: yes, that’s the word, I couldn’t get it out of my head for days – after stopping at a rest area somewhere on I-25 near Las Vegas, smoking the last bit of weed I’d gotten back in Florida. It was rotten, and smelled terrible, but eight hundred miles of driving that day and I needed some sleep. The tractor trailer parked in front of me sat there with the engine running. One hit, two hit, ambulance lights and sirens all around. What the fuck is going on? Can’t a kid on a road trip just smoke a bit and sleep at a rest stop in the desert? This is America!

The colors were magical. My eyelids were convulsing, the seat had turned to stone. I shifted gears. Down. Down. Second. Where are the keys? My hand was paralyzed, and I was going to crash into some ravine and all that would happen is three juniper trees would be aflame for a couple of minutes, and the orange blaze would blend into the night air with the glow that was Albuquerque, hours away, but Santa Fe was behind the mountains still, oh those lovely mountains, I will get lost in you once again, let me find this barbed wire fencing, just wait a second. The truck made his exit. Where does he think he’s going? Now I’m by myself, and the lights won’t turn on. I won’t let them. Where did the cop go? Bonkers.

Sex doesn’t get you this high, I thought, and I wondered what altitude I was at. Must be the elevation, the lack of oxygen, three trees were trying to kill me and I would draw and fire faster than they would swallow an old wagon wheel – I was safe. Yellows and Pinks and Reds and Oranges – those hippy dreams were real, maybe those guys knew something after all – they had experienced this, but were there hippies in Florida? Where do they live now? All in Colorado, right? They must congregate like the religions do, there is safety in numbers, so all y’all startin’ a cult, be sho’ to keep that woman barefoot and in a family way, alright now? Even when she’s chopping wood and cleaning the stables. No sense in drying out the hide if she’s up to her duty tonight. Maybe the older kids’ll join in, and maybe down the road we’ll all be in some magazine! Well, I never!

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