Wednesday, June 09, 2004

It was on the night that Ryan announced he was leaving town that I started really thinking about it all, and came to the conclusion, finally, that that was just what I was to stop doing, thinking so damn much.

"South Carolina," He told me, "Tomorrow morning. I'll see you many years from now, when we've both grown old and tired of the impotency of our lives."

It was like he'd poisoned me that moment, while I sat and thought about how truly I hated Maine and Maine winters and Maine towns and Maine boredom. Maine Me. I wanted to be South Carolina Me. Louisiana Me. New York Me.

Point of fact, I didn't really want to be me at all anymore.

And within a few minutes, I knew that what had to change was thinking so many damn things through. A resolve that I'd never known before was in me, but suddenly and without any real sensation to it. I just was, and differently than I had been before.

So I stood up from the porch, after Ryan had walked away, and went upstairs to my room, and kissed my husband, and walked out. Down Vining to Rt. 196, to the Big Apple.

It was late and warm outside, and whether the cashier would have rather been sleeping or partying, I didn't venture a guess, but it didn't take any thinking to know she didn't want to be sitting at a register, chewing her gum and finishing the Sun Journal word search the last shift had started. I had no mind for her problems or my own as I poured myself a Slush Puppy and, sipping it, walked right out of the store.

"Hey!" I heard her call behind me, "Where are you going with that?"

I had no idea.



A few hours later I'm on the Alfred Plourde Parkway trying to thumb a ride before it catches the Turnpike. I have no idea if I'm at the Northbound or Southbound entrance, and my Slush Puppy has melted and what's left has no flavor-- I shouldn't have stolen a large, but I don't care. Truth be told, I didn't even like Ryan that much: Just another guy from my graduating class, one I had sort of a vaguely friendly relationship with. We'd planned to move to New York together after graduation, the way I'd planned to travel Europe with Elizabeth Connor (Whom I almost hate, come to think of it) and promised Shawn Starcevic I'd have sex with him when he (I?) turned twenty-one. Half-witted promises that I would have made good on if I had ever really thought they were anymore serious than I was. Either way, it was before massage school, before marriage, before the suicide attempts and the self-loathing and the Slush Puppy-- way before the Slush Puppy. Now it didn't matter, because Ryan was no more an influence on my decisions than Zack was, and Zack was no more in control than I. Now the only thing that mattered was thumbing a ride.

A couple of teenaged boys in a pimped-out neon blared their horn as they passed, but didn't stop. "Jerk!" I whaled at the driver, and I hocked my Slush cup at them-- the blue remainder slashed on the white paint-- I heard a barely-audible noise indicating anger, and wondered if they'd stop, but they sped on, perhaps afraid that an angry, frazzled-looking woman at the side of the road might be a little too much for them-- they were neither right nor wrong, if that was the case. I probably could have managed something they couldn't have dealt with, some seething comment that hit them where it hurt-- the 500 dollar spoiler on their 95 Dodge-- but I wasn't frazzled. I wasn't even angry. Just sick of holding the cup.


It's been a few more hours when the rig pulls over. "Hop in," says a large trucker with a large smell.

He tells me his story, and he seems nice enough-- how he met his wife in a Memphis strip club, but she wasn't a stripper, just a patron looking for a cheap place to drink. His two kids, the one who had died of SIDS-- It would have seemed sad, if there'd been any feeling at all in me, that the child was ironically named Sid, but at the moment he said it, I smirked, then wondered if he'd seen it He was originally from Georgia, and when I asked what he was doing all the way up here, he just laughed the way one laughs at something truly, truly gone wrong in their life, shook his head slowly, and said "Honey, I haven't got the damndest idea." I believed that.

It didn't worry me when he took out a flask and took a healthy swig, but I passed when he offered me some, anyway. "Don't like the taste." I said. "We'll take of that, Honey. I know a place."

I guess it was New Hampshire somewhere, we got off the interstate and into a town with a name that began with a G or maybe a Q, and we drove through the part with the little houses till we came to a part with a little bar. I followed him in and he ordered me something blue-- having noted that my lips and tongue were stained blue from the Slush. He said I wouldn't be able to taste the alcohol in it, and he was wrong, but he didn't seem to notice that I didn't drink more than half of it as he went through Molson after Molson. He paid and I checked my pocket for a tip, but he insisted that he'd take care of it, so I told him I was off to the Ladies room and I stopped off at some sort of gift-shop-esque counter in the corner. I stole a roadmap and a pen (with the things that go back in forth in the water) for myself, but I saw a swiss army knife that I thought Zack would like and I paid for that-- I'd send it to him if I ever ended up at a place with stamps. Then I went to the bathroom and rejoined Mike. That was his name, just so you know.

In the truck, I fell asleep but woke up not too much later. Maybe subconsciously I was worried about hitchiking in a big rig with a drunken stranger, even if it hadn't occured to me not to get in. Or maybe it was just that I felt the truck slow down and stop.

I sat up to see that we were parked at the side of a dirty little road somewhere, and Mike was staring at me. "How you going to pay for the ride, Honey?" He asked me, slurring his speech. "Uhm...thank you?" I said, with more sarcasm than fear. "That's not going to be quite good enough," he said, leering. He reached over and put his hand on my upper thigh. I hit it away and he replaced it, and I looked up to see his sick little sneer.

I guess I could have just hit him off and walked away, and he probably wouldn't have been able to so much as get out of the truck to chase me without landing on his drunken face and knocking himself unconscious. That would have worked out fine, I guess. But I took out the knife and stabbed him instead.

I didn't pussyfoot around with his leg or anything. Straight into his eye. Twisted it a little, pulled it out, and went for the other one. He screamed a little-- maybe not. I wasn't paying too much attention.

Leaning over him as he was dying, I opened the driver-side door. The fucker hadn't even buckled his safety belt, so he fell easily to the ground, with a little shove. I sat for a minute, deciding that perhaps a moment's contemplation was appropriate at this point, and the realization came to me that I didn't know what the cargo was.

I went around to the back of the truck and opened it. Meat. Going inside, I realized it was packed Canadian beef products-- illegal to the US Since an outbreak of Mad Cow disease in Saskatchewan. Mike, Mike, Mike.

I went back around to the front of the truck, stepped over Mike's corpse, climbed into the driver's seat and started the truck. Off to Canada, then, I guess. I didn't want to be accessory to illegal meat smuggling, after all.


---


Dedicated to Ryan, who really is leaving town Tomorrow morning.

On with it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Shawn said...

lol @ having sex with me, btw im 23 and i am sexy as you predicted. good job!

5:26 PM  
Blogger Linda Hildonen said...

Well, you were a good-looking kid. Where are you now?

6:16 PM  
Blogger OmegaPhantomX said...

Grand Forks, ND, terrible.

8:35 PM  

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