Cappuccino skies stretch above the Mojave moonscape. Old cars appear like dying fish, their open-hoods gasping along the roadside and there is a warmth I just know is going to leave grains of sand in my nostrils. I am driving, here, amidst the solitary houses that suggest some folks were unhappy earlier in their lives, and staring out at the balding hilltops and the cacti throwing off a resemblance to garden gnomes with unruly Mohawks.
Halfway through the desert, one feels the emancipation of an empty car, the enjoyment of fucking-up song lyrics mingled with an embarrassed giggle and the liberated yelp of freedom. At infrequent intervals, I succumb to the sort of irrational competitiveness one feels when passed by another driver on the open highway. Adorned in moccasins, a solitary Navajo strolls I-15 with the reckless nonchalance associated with Earth’s children. I wave, and smile, and feel guilty. Pornographic clouds put a skidmark to my thoughts. The consequence of an open window, my left ear is wind-numb and a clock tick of raindrops is starting upon my windshield.
Five hours ago I stood among six twenty-somethings hunched over a Craps table and wondering why the nineteen-year-old dice-roller with the fourteen-dollar shoes and the Target-purchased t-shirt was signing a 10K marker and tossing down black chips with the kind of unbridled responsibility one finds of youth in a brothel, followed by repeated calls for straight-shot alcohol (little bastard actually stuck the $100 chip tip into her g-string) and an appeal for an upgrade to “something larger for the effort.” Now, I am driving, and my left arm has developed the type of tan that takes some work and the blurring glass is making me hesitate like one unsure of freeway speeds.
Snarling motorcycles pass as sunset’s embers fade into the nocturnal shimmering of oncoming headlights. I am headed home, vacating the city of open-addiction and unparalleled vice for the materialistic trenches of the pathologically accommodating. Winning sounds different on the coast.
An orange glow appears on the horizon. In the rearview mirror, dust clouds disappear. A cold pillow beckons. I have my father’s eyes and my grandfather’s dreams.