A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || November 16, 2010 || 1:11 pm

It is dark, but early yet: Only nine or thereabouts?  It is misty and it would be tomb-dark save for the half-moon and I am more or less in the middle of nowhere, winding into curves and stretches of unknown. Every forty miles or so there is a place in the road with an ancient brick store, a steepled church and (most likely) some railroad track. Some of these places have the luxury of a flashing yellow light hovering over the road like a specter. Where are the wires? Well, they go away in the night. They rest; those wires can afford to rest in the dark in a place like this.  They come back in the morning. Until then, the yellow light haunts the air twenty feet above the road, a warning.

Why the hell would anyone need to yield? No one ever travels here. I am here by happenstance, by the impetuous taking of a side road to see where I might end up if I shaved the corner off of the route that is considered safe and sure. LaGrange, Georgia is somewhere ahead and if all goes well I will be there by ten or so. If all does not go well I have blankets and a couple bottles of water in the back of the car. There may be a stray beer back there, too. I have a gigantic metal flashlight, a notebook, some trail mix in a basket next to the seat. Hell, I could stay here –hidden– for a couple of days should I need to.

(and by ‘need’ I mean fuck civilization –my version of it, anyway– I am going to pull a camp chair out of my trunk, set it in the middle of a field, crack this beer and hum a few bars about that banner what’s spangled with stars)

I am in a place where most strangers would be afraid. That is no boast, just a testament to how the South sings to my bones, calls them according to name, recognizing them and where they ultimately belong. Yeah, the South gets all in these bones of mine and of course they are compelled to sing back. We woo one another, me and these red dirt places, and I am never Not Home no matter where I might find myself (as long as I am) zipped up below the Mason-Dixon.

The deep blat of a train’s horn rockets up out of nowhere, upending my reverie. Whereisit, where! isthattrain rattles through my brain, which is suddenly at attention and mashing all the levers, working the gears. My eyes are wide and searching, my foot comes off the accelerator, I use every sense I can to suss out where the train might be and whether or not I am blindly ambling into its path. There are no warning lights here, no protective candystriped arms to save me from myself. I’m left to my own devices or stupidity, whichever manages to win out first.

Devices, it turns out, are triumphant again. That, or I’m one of those fools that God has snatched up out of her own way time and time again. Sometimes I wonder why He doesn’t tire of my foolishness and say, “Welp, if she’s THAT DETERMINED to die, I’ma just go on and let her.” Maybe it’s because I have a purpose and try to live accordingly, even if I don’t necessarily know what that purpose is.

Because I defeat the train and because my adrenaline is still a little up, I accelerate into darkness which is once again comfortable. It’s not long before I find myself in a series of curves that wind upward. At the apogee of one there is an average ranch-style house that is just like all the others save for the sign out front:

MISS CARLA

PALM READER

It has the obligatory mystical red hand anchoring its center.

I’ve never been to a palm reader, never snuck off into the woods to some old Sayer’s house to have a wart spoken off and my future spoken to. I’ve never visited the gypsy tent at the carnival, though I have once or twice been tempted by the theatrics of it. At those moments I was always sitting on a poor spell and felt the need to be flung around the Tilt-A-Whirl was greater than my need to hear what the fortunes might have in store for me.

One time, though,  this boy read my cards and also my palm in the back of a smoky bar; he was earnest and quiet and I trusted him: What could it hurt?. This was the second time we’d ever spoken in my life and turns out he was pretty dead on in the big scheme of things and he rather read my mail. I never saw him again after that, but not on purpose. Things just work out like that, you know?

For the barest of moments I think of pulling over, because I want to walk up onto Miss Carla’s porch and knock on the door so that I can say,

“My palm is not made of stone. What if anything it says to you can be altered by my shaving a corner off a safe route, by taking a right turn? What if my palm’s just faking left?

“Isn’t the thirty bucks that someone is gonna hand you to tell them where they’re going better spent on gas to get there?”

7 worked it out »

  1. Ellly Lou 11.16.2010

    Beautiful and made my brain itch. But in the good way. Maybe rather than gas, the palm reader would be more like new bulbs for your headlights so you could see in the dark.

     
  2. ramble 11.16.2010

    Heh. I’ve often wondered how I escaped the path of an oncoming fire truck/car/crushing thing when I didn’t really deserve to. Maybe it’s more fun that way. Cosmic prank!

     
  3. TwoBusy 11.17.2010

    “the yellow light haunts the air twenty feet above the road, a warning”

    Mmm, that’s good.

     
  4. Deb Rox 11.17.2010

    Red dirt girl. Is it that this dirt enters the air, making our lungs unhappy to live without it? Something.

     
  5. roderickm 11.18.2010

    I love to read you.

     
  6. schmutzie 11.19.2010
     
  7. Cheryl 11.20.2010

    Sheer brilliance dances around in your head. Nice to see it in print.

    I feel this way riding around in the dark along the coast. The sound and scent of the ocean are my red dirt.

     

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