Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scenes 6 & 7

Blinky shows up at Myron’s place around 8 with clothes in a grocery bag. Myron brings his stuff to the door in a hard plastic suitcase. They throw the luggage in the back of Myron’s 1986 Buick Century and close the trunk.

Myron has hardly slept. He’s anxious about the trip. He’s had more diarrhea.

Blinky is wearing a Turkish hat. He offers to drive.

“About where we’re going,” says Myron. “I want to go to Florida. I brought my suit.” Blinky notes this with a nod. “Just so you know,” continues Myron, “we’re not getting off the highway to look at dumb attractions. We need to make good time.”

“Why?” asks Blinky, simply.

“This is about Point A to Point B.” Myron whips out a map with a route marked in orange. It runs straight southeast, across to Chattanooga, Tennessee, then south to Atlanta, and on down to Florida.

“I’m open,” adds Myron, “about which side, once we get there. Gulf, or Atlantic. But I’m leaning Gulf.”

Blinky has looked at the map. “Mm-hmm,” he says.

“It’s my car,” says Myron. The meaning of this is unclear.

They get in the Buick and drive away, headed east. As the car passes over the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Myron is already drowsy.

They pass a four-door sedan with two people in it, a man and a woman. It’s on Myron’s side of the car. His eyelids are beginning to droop, but he notices them squabbling over the car radio. They can’t agree on a station. The odd thing to Myron, who’s now tumbling toward sleep, is that they’re wearing masks. They look like squids or something. Strange.

Now Myron is dreaming of the ocean.

As the onetime senior clerk at O P & Q slumbers, Blinky aims the rust-colored Buick east, toward Indianapolis.



Blinky is driving. Myron has napped intermittently. They’ve stopped for gas and food, and for Myron’s bowels, once. Things are firming up there.

The miles are rolling by.

They’re listening to a talk radio program hosted by a person with the last name of Colfax. He’s mixing some material about healthy lifestyles with some other stuff about not trusting the government to do anything. “Let’s talk a minute,” proposes Colfax, “about the radon crisis.”

“Can we listen to some music?” says Myron. Blinky reaches over and turns the dial in seach of tunes. The vast majority of what’s available is bad country-pop. He settles on oldies, Myron’s normal preference. His passenger grunts what sounds like approval.

Blinky glances over at Myron. He looks pale and uncomfortable. Blinky says, “Myron? Are you okay?” Myron is clenching his jaw.

“You want me to pull over?”

Myron nods. “Maybe a rest area.”

“Got it,” answers Blinky. Lately he’s been reading 400 billboards about the approach of an exit with a giant RV dealership. Now he’s on top of it. Blinky makes a decision to pull off the interstate. He decelerates and slides toward the exit, which curls gently off to the right. Blinky follows it, then slows and pauses to read at the T-shaped crossroads. There is a brown sign for some historical site, with an arrow to the left.

“Go right,” instructs Myron weakly. To the right lies the biblical supply of Winnebagos. But Blinky takes a sip of his sports activity drink and turns left.

“Come on!” Myron complains.

The car speeds past a few prim houses, a rusted trailer, an old yellow ceramic brick store. They drive by the turn to Arcadia. Next they pass a sign that says: GREENVILLE 4. Myron groans. “Go back to the exit. This is too far.”

“We’re almost there,” says Blinky, racing. Myron is looking up at the weave of the ceiling fabric, jiggling his knees, making low sounds. They come upon smattering of commercial properties and billboards. “Welcome to Greenville, Ohio” say the Rotarians and the Evening Optimists, in a big blue script.

Blinky follows a sign. He turns left onto the main drag, and left again, pulling up at a small open field, the size of several lots. A few houses flank the field, plus a laundromat. There’s a billboard with a Ford pickup truck, and a Catholic school nearby.

“They’ll have a bathroom in there,” says Blinky, pointing at the laundromat. Myron swears and exits the vehicle.

Blinky looks back at the field. There’s a huge chunk of pink granite mounted on a pedastal near a tree.

The signs have led him here.

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