what the fuck is this?

“This machine kills fascists” is what the guitar said on it, but it wasn’t about the machine at all.

In a field along the highway I saw an old man in overalls supplicate himself before a tractor like a good Muslim facing Mecca to pray. This was in South Dakota and he was facing north. Perhaps he is part of some old farmer cult. They pray to the tractors to ensure the crops and they sing lullabies to their hammers at night after their wives have gone to bed. The god that protects the crops is green and powerful. Their children construct gallows in the unending rain, just in case a sacrifice must be made. No stones are exchanged and no hymns are muttered through ragged teeth. Watching that man I thought of boxcars and my skin started to itch. I could feel the hum and buzz of the highway and it only half filled my blood. Martin Eden was out there somewhere, just beyond the horizon and purple skies filled with salt.

Now there are wolves in the forest and falcons circle constantly, unable to hear their masters. I am so far from the ocean and I can’t help wondering if it has filled with blood. I light a cigarette with the Zippo that rides in the passenger seat and try not to look at the yellow line. Do I turn back? It’s all still waiting for me, but I don’t think I can face it. The accelerator fits my boot so well, so I press down harder and drive toward what must be the sound of all the mermaids singing. Yes. I am running. The reason? Does there have to be a reason? Why the fuck do readers always look for deeper motives and subtext? Sometimes a story is just a story. This is one of those times.

When Sylvia Plath killed herself, Ted Hughes destroyed her final notebook. He said that he did this to protect the children. If you find this message in a bottle, don’t protect the children. Fuck them.

Hours on the highway and I could barely breathe. A blue sign informed me of food and lodging so I took the next exit and rolled up in front of a nasty motel. The desk clerk looked like she had been ripped out of a bad seventies horror movie, or maybe a snuff film. There was a jagged scar tracing a line down her forehead and no light in her eyes.

I asked her if there was a discount if I paid for a month in advance. She said yes, so I forked over the cash.

Single bed, bad art bolted to the wall, TV remote on a string so I can’t take it with me when I abandon this roach motel. The water in the bathroom tap is slightly yellow, but I don’t drink water anyway. My favorite liquids are all amber. There are vermiculate stains on the carpet. Something seems to be growing in the bathtub. This is perfect.

I unpack my few belongings: a couple changes of clothes, lots of socks, my dagger, a bottle of bourbon. Then I lay on the bed and wait for the phone to ring.

Thus ends chapter one.


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