Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scene 14

The tension in the car is still pretty bad. Myron has stopped to buy a new map and some highlighters, none which Blinky is permitted to touch, back at the Nine Thousand RVs exit. Myron has a new itinerary planned, which involves traveling east on Interstate 70 as far as Interstate 75, near Dayton, which will take them south.

Blinky is back driving. Myron is staring at the map, as if by doing so he could control events on the territory described by it.

“You know,” says Blinky suddenly, “the Indians believed in spirit animals. Your spiritual self had an animal counterpart.” Myron looks out the window at a tomato farm. “So we have like a corresponding thing going with a given creature,” says Blinky. “I think that’s cool. Question.” Blinky looks over at Myron. “What do you think yours is?”

“My what.”

“Your spirit animal.”

“Aw Blink, I don’t know. Why didn’t you ask the goof in the Indian costume when you had the chance?”

“I think in your case, there’s an obvious answer: the beaver.”

“A beaver. I’m a beaver.”

“Yes,” answers Blinky. “One, they are dogged creatures. Like you. They do not give up. Second, they concentrate really hard on one single thing, which is they chew on trees. I think you’re a total tree chewer. And then they take those trees, and what do they do? This is three: they make dams. Which are what? Blockages. Am I right? So it’s obvious. Beavers.”

Blinky permits this to sink in.

Myron rubs his head. “I see.”

Point of fact, Myron’s recently interrupted office life has been extremely beaver-like. He knows this, even if he couldn’t have come up with a metaphor for it in a hundred years. Which he can’t, or couldn’t. He’s bad at metaphor.

“Now,” adds Blinky, “I will interject this.” He’s being serious and playful at the same time. “I will bring to your attention that you were just an extremely rude butthole back there, at the historical reenactment.”

Myron is silent. “Hysterical,” says Blinky. “Obnoxious. You were.”

“But,” continues Myron’s friend. “I will concede that, from your perspective, you were obnoxious for a point.”

“Thank you.”

“Which, when you think about it, maybe isn’t so beaver-like. Which brings us back. To that fact that maybe, in your case, the obvious answer is totally not the correct one.”

Myron is lost.

“Forget the beaver. You, my friend, are truly a more dominant animal. But you are only beginning to suspect this. I’m thinking maybe an elk. A buck of some sort. Seriously, you are one big buck, Myron.”

Myron is flattered by this. Antlers. Leadership. His mind is playing nature-film clips of dueling bucks.

“You just gotta get those antlers going.”

“What do you mean?”

The landscape slides by. Wet brown fields, isolated Victorian houses, most of them derelict. Signage.

“You know,” says Blinky, surveying the scene, “during the time of Little Turtle, I’ll bet all this was forested. Because the Mohicans were a woodland tribe.”

Myron sighs.

Blinky begins, “Can you imagine--”

Myron cuts him off. “Miami,” he says. “Little Turtle was a Miami chief.”

“No, I think it was Mohican.”

“I just read it on the marker.”

“He was definitely Mohican.”

Myron starts to lose it. “Blinky, it’s Miami! I can read!”

He’s quiet for a moment, but then he can’t help it. “I’m not even interested in this stuff, and I know the guy’s tribe! This is your problem! You read like every other word, and then you yak about it like you know something. Half that junk you watch on TV, and practically everything you read, it’s just people making things up! They don’t know! You don’t know! Have your ever checked a source in your life? Do you even know what a footnote IS? Beavers! Spirit animals! It’s all stupid!”

Myron’s arms are folded.

“Stupid? I’m stupid? You’re the one who’s gonna go from a wholesale clerk to like the vanquisher of a giant, powerful corporation, and I’m stupid!?”

Myron is unable to reply. He looks to his right, and spends the next several minutes reading signs. PROTECT YOUR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS. FAMILY BUFFET. REST AREA 1 MILE. Then, suddenly: “Pull off here. I gotta get out for a minute.”

“What is it with you and normal life?” demands Myron. “Why can’t you have a job and a house and not like your work? You do all this goofy exotic stuff.”

Blinky tries to respond. “Because,” he offers, “I have. . . a fervor. . . that I don’t know what to do with. I don’t like it, that all the milk comes in cartons. You can’t get honey, except in plastic containers. I want it from the bees, or like, right from the cow.” Blinky looks at his hands. “I don’t know. I want to fly, too.

“I want, like, a super-actual existence.”

Out of nowhere, the car begins to hiss. Smoke pours out from under the hood. The temperature gauge is buried in red. “Goddammit!” shouts Myron. Luckily, they’re on top of an exit. “Damn, damn, damn!” Myron guides the 1986 Buick Century onto the ramp, and coasts all the way into the Fuel King Myron is pounding on the steering column. “Why have a plan, if you don’t follow the plan! What is a plan for? An orderly result! Florida! It’s such a simple thing!” He’s winding himself up into a genuine tantrum. “I want my Goddamn plan back, Blink! I want it back!” He’s bellowing inside the car, which has come to a stop next to the gas pumps.

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