from "under the blue banner of heaven"
Sophia and I are driving to California. We left our hearts, and Sophias three favorite pairs of shoes, in Baltimore. We drove northeast through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. We glared, sleepy-eyed, through the gloaming deadlights of Chicago. We passed through the St Louis arches in a midday haze and looked up with certain awe. Sophia took pictures through the car window.
We have been, and not been in Kansas. We have born witness to the countys largest free standing cross. We have collected a lifes supply of hotel towels. We have stopped at numerous gas stations and spent thousand of dollars on coffee, Red Bull, and shot glasses that say rt. 66. Yesterday I even bought a Dont Mess with Texas t-shirt.
I want to say I am being filled with America. I want to say the hours of looking out the window into the ever expanding glory of the great American roadside have changed me. I want to say we went drinking with hobos and made some real noise in some real quiet railyard town. I want to say something about all these places weve passed — as if weve done something more than pass them — as if weve stayed long enough to spoon even the smallest mouthful of small-town American marrow into our expectant yapping jaws. I want to say a lot of things about a lot of things.
We stop sporadically in odd little random off-ramp hotels just outside the larger cities nearby to keep costs down. Right now Sophia is downstairs in the lobby asking for more towels. Everywhere we stop, she asks for towels. I fantasize about the secret nest of towels she must have amassed from here to Baltimore. By now, I figure shes probably accumulated about seven thousand five hundred and sixty four towels. My only hope is that she doesnt decide to use the towels against me. That would not be good. I figure I could handle at least three thousand four hundred and seventy three towels. But seven thousand five hundred and sixty four is certainly out of the question.
I smoke a joint in the bathroom while shes gone. This is my first joint since weve left, and Im thinking of proposing to it. In sickness and in health, in hotel bathrooms, for better or for worse, and long as you both should desire lucidity, for as long as you shall live on the run from adulthood, with this puff I thee wed.
When she comes back we order room service. I get three Heinekens and a turkey club. Sophia orders a garden salad, a tuna fish sandwich, a side order of onion rings, a fried apple blossom, a side of bread sticks, and a partridge in a pear tree. She is a petite size 2, but is apparently very upset about this.
I drink the better part of a bottle of wine waiting for the food. Sophia is engaged in a series of hunger sighs which are becoming magnified by the second, until I figure she must either cum magnificently or else inflate like a balloon and fly away at any given moment.
When the food gets here, I eat half a sandwich, drink the beers and smoke half a dozen more cigarettes.
Letterman is on. Im laying next to Sophia in a long king sized bed, stoned and incredibly drunk. She leans over and kisses me, but tells me she wont sleep with me. Her beach-ball brown eyes remain steady as she points out several no fly zones and presses me to continue. I pause.
Look, about how long does it usually take you to get off, I mean by yourself?
She doesnt pause, about two seconds.
My left hand caresses the fashionably choppy locks of brown hair on the back of her head and makes its way south. I throw suggestive breaths at all her secret bases. I polish her no fly zones with my tongue. I finger the air around all her forbidden holy fissures and softly trace every legal inch of her oversexed twenty two year old frame. Then I stand up.
Im going outside to have a cigarette outside. Have fun.
The back hallway leads straight out. I crawl down several flights of stairs and contemplate a thin strip of highway that breaks through all the smoke and leads away from all this. The cars dont know. The steak houses, pizza parlors, and foreign fast food joints dont know.
This cigarette in my hand just doesnt know. I myself dont even pretend to know. Im farther away from knowing than the birds that live on top of the shoeless telephone wires.
I crawl back upstairs. Sophia is busy washing up.
Did you have fun?
Yes, thank you. She kisses me tenderly for a fraction of a segment of a subdivision of a second.
We watch the rest of Letterman in a long king size bed. I pour a half an orange soda into a glass of tequila and ice, turn it all upside down and close my eyes.