I am flying down the highway that Ralph and I used to travel, groggy with humidity and third-shift obligations, on our early ay emm returns from work.
The sunroof is open, my window down, and my elbow is propped up on the door. My hand, fingers slightly splayed, is upright and barely cupped into the streaming wind. The air is moist and near-cold. I imagine it splintering through my palms and wrists, crucifying me. Crucifying me to this mountain.
Sometimes I think the red clay taste of this place, the sting of fire ants on naked toes, will never leave me.
Double lines, broad expanse of fields to my left, chicken houses and horse trailers and apologetic farms to my right.
A caution light, a sign with a large, stark black + and I swing into a right turn, slowing significantly. A pebbly road paved with what I’ve always referred to as ‘gravelcrete’ is seated between trees that could masquerade as rows of the blackest of monoliths if only their bumpy tops did not give them away. The sky above is still impossibly blue, even though the sun took its’ leave of the horizon two hours ago. It is strewn with bruised indigo clouds that don’t even pretend to be fluffy. They are as flat and as stretched as the road before me.
Hung low, hovering barely above creaking power lines is something that I immediately recognize as not a star. No star has a vivid ring of afterglow like that.
Is it Venus or Mercury? I was never any good at the planets; the one I am on is perplexing enough.
A left turn and another left turn finds me in a darkened rural parking lot. Car idling, I kill the exterior lights and mash one of the interiors, splashing light across my crotch and thighs. Her Automobile Holiness. Our Lady Of The Nighttime Park.
I’ve unbuckled my seat belt and am digging for my laminated and spiral-bound 5″ x 7″ notebook when a large truck pulls up and points it’s bulk at my door. Fucking cops and their obnoxious compulsion for shining the loudest light possible into your cranium….
I swivel my head to face the rumbling diesel monstrosity, keeping my body decidedly forward, and squint-scowl into the glare. I am hoping that Deppity Dawg is disconcertingly reminded of The Exorcist somewhere in the back of his Roscoe P. Brain.
After what seems to be a rather blinding eternity, boyfriend gets outta the light-bedecked truck and approaches my car. Never mind the fact that I am sitting in a circular sort of drive and am pointed toward the road, which would allow me to bolt at any second. Der. He asks me what I’m doing, and I vascillate between three responses:
1) Jump outta the car and wave my notebook, then eagerly open it and begin a dramatic reading from any of the notes/unfinished pieces there. Bow deeply and grandly upon completion.
2) Click away at my pen in a mad sort of fashion while staring straight ahead and tell him that I am busy composing my suicide note, after which I plan to plow a bullet through my grey meat with the big, BIG firearm currently under the passenger seat.
3) Tell him the truth.
I opt for number three, because if/when I go back to the big house, I want it to be because I was acting crazy for a valid reason and/or cause and not just being crazy for the sake of the in-your-face irreverency that I am so darned fond of. The last time I went to jail it was really no fucking fun, because all they let me and about 20 (standard overcrowdedness) other women do in the 20′ x 10′ common area was clean the shiny-painted cinderblock walls overandfuckingover for hours on end while listening to a cornpone gospel preaching station. (Some of the other chicks actually fought over the opportunity to clean the bathroom, I shit you NOT.) Not to mention the fact that when I was inprocessing, they couldn’t find matching duds in the appropriate sizes (laundry was out or somesuch), so I was walking around in an orange-striped top and green-striped bottoms (they color-code the stripes for the severity of your offense). I suppose this meant that I was mildly dangerous from the waist up. At any rate, I felt that I looked like a pack of motherfucking Fruit Stripe chewing gum. w00t!
So when Officer Howdy Doody asked me what I was doing, I simply told him that I was out for a drive and pulled over because I thought of something I needed to write down. Then I waved my notebook and pen for emphasis. He explained to me that there had been a lot of vandalism as of late (ehhh…hicksville and the kids want kicksville….ehhhh….) –why, some of it had occurred in that very lot– and they were “tryin’ to keep a handle on things and take note of comins and goins”. So of course he deems it necessary to see my license and I oblige.
He seems to be taken aback that the photo represents me with blue hair, so then I push my luck only a minute bit and direct his attention to where it states that I have blue hair and blonde eyes (I was a mischeivous, sneaky bastard at the DMV that day, lemme tell ya!). I then tell him that look simply did not work for me, and I decided to try things the other way around. He informs me that I look better with blonde hair and blue eyes. I tell him that my mother agrees wholeheartedly. I then offer to show him my favorite tattoo, but he declines and bids me a lovely evening, as he is comfortable that I am on the up-and-up.
After he drives away I settle in to capture brilliance on paper and then painfully realize that I cannot for the life of me remember the phrase that I pulled over to write.
For fuck’s sake.
I sigh and pull back onto the blacktop, but not before reminding myself to not bother about pulling over anymore. I should just keep on doing the knee-driving-at-90-MPH-and-furiously-scribbling thing that I have favored thus far.