He was getting paid to drive a truck from New Hampshire to California. It was a way to earn a few extra bucks, and while we spoke on the phone he described to me what he saw.
It inspired a piece I began, that was in an entirely new voice so foreign to my own.
I still dig it.
Burning with the lust for adventure, he visits volcanoes in California. Legs swinging, he sat beneath the hot springs liberated by volcanic oozes, magma, and geysers visualizing the boiling water beneath the ground. The lava erupting over one land; Part Wyoming, part Montana, and part Idaho. Fucking huge and out of control.
Mountains hold his gaze, and amid the floating wisps of twisted mariquana cigarettes he feels very much liberated by the open road. Gusts of wind meander in and out of his car windows softly humming over the sound of his world music. Cracking his knuckles to an invisible drumbeat, a mist of rain that he once tolerated begins to sprinkle upon his steering wheel. He’s been clutching the fourth joint of the evening between his forefinger and thumb. Surprisingly his fingertips are clean and uncinged; he’s been doing this for days without flaw. Through desolate highway roads, the soft music of Midwest nothingness, and the colors of sunrise and sunset blending into one even hue of grey.
For the last few hours the whoosh of passing cars has been amiss. Silently he aches for the metallic symphony of some other vehicle or the crushing presence of another pick up truck. In that moment he’s tempted to sway his steering wheel along with the escalating tempo of the chanting vocals in his car radio. Instead he settles on to casual head bopping. A ridiculous act that he secretly is thankful no one witnesses.
Purple skies turn a deep mauve, and from a very slight distance he sees the ominous shape of a buffalo; A comfort in the descending shadow of night. Clearly, the beast appreciates the quiet privacy of the road relieving itself in one still moment; Perfect for a single frame on Jeff’s camera. Slowing his truck to a smooth trailing glide, one soft click alerts the bull of his proximity. But he still finishes the job; the next stop is Nevada.
Stray, highway tires are aflame not too distant from the looming ashen edifice down the road. The ashenned brick, and thick black fence surrounding tells his intuition that it’s a prison. He thinks, making a few phone calls to pass the time wouldn’t be such a bad idea, might ease his nerves. With the exception that he’s called most everyone who would conceivably be awake at this point. Ah but text messages, his generation’s attempt at intimacy without the nuisance of actual voice on voice contact. They serve to pass the time; for the moment.
The hours of silence persist and permits paranoia to return to the scene, rendering him wary of any lurking bulls hiding in the shadow of the descending desert sun. Fatigue is barely replaced by caffeine pills, and he stares into that bucket seat between the passenger and driver with the longing for the warmth of a woman’s knee beneath his palm. It has been a long journey from adventure to the calming madness of solitude. Smothered by the silence of the open road he sifts his hand through the glove compartment in search of new tunes. Here is the point where he silently seeks a voice to join his journey on the silent road providing a roadblock of blood, sex and madness. His eyes flutter over the glare of his headlights though not from fatigue, but more a waking dream providing the great escape. The feat which has been so easily avoided begins to seep into his consciousness, and the realization of his final destination looms before him in the shape of a bird in flight.