I floated above the road from out of LipLock, Tejas earlier in the day and headed north, then east. I rumbled along with the roar of it all past that Tulia place again, into the belly of the Yellow City and then back out again like a screaming colon blow.
There was a place further down the road there that looked like some gleaming white Zionic temple minus Moroni but turned out to be some angelic rest stop – a sort of place for celestial evacuation I suppose. It was a high-tech joint with sliding doors, acid-high neon and brightly buffed tiles. The walls were decorated with all sorts of Americana logos and pop posters made to look like they sprang right out from the 1950s – they were going for the whole Route 66 celebratory theme, but an earth closet is still an earth closet and making pee is still making pee. I guess it was comforting enough for weary travelers and indeed kept very clean. I saw an immigrant from Nicaragua wildly mopping the floor with mad vigor and I sort of shook my head and laughed at the fact that Wild West rest stops are kept better looking than most of the towns and the cities – and I guess immigrants are fine in our country as long as they are cleaning up after our savage releases.
I stopped for the night in the town of El Torino, Oklahoma. Clint Eastwood was working the front desk of the glowing green hotel and he was kind of grumpy and called me a “punk.” There was a dirty steak place just down the road from where I was staying and I went there for some supper, as my lady friend Ms. Tinkachook says.
The hostess was a sad and desperate-looking white-skinned soul who didn’t smile much and merely mumbled. I followed her and she seated me in the section for all the lonely people who ate by themselves. The joint had been kicked around in the crotch a few times it seemed – a greasy sort of place with smudged windows and a smell more fit for a bowling alley than a restaurant. I felt the need for the animalistic Reverend Jim to be there with a big ol’ bottle of hand sanitizer to baptize me in, but like most men of Bog, he must have had his hands tied by other spiritual and cleansing emergencies.
The waitress chick was a spotted-owl kind of gal reeking of sad spirit and boredom. She strolled about the place with little sense of purpose and recited to all her tables the same rehearsed speech that lacked any sense of genuine care for her work, but I understood her malaise completely, even though I was convinced she hated me.
I ordered an 8 oz. top sirloin that looked pale and beaten but tasted good nonetheless when slathered with some sauce. I got fries too, a salad and some warm bread with cinnamon butter. The food was decent enough for what it was and anyways I was never one to complain in a restaurant. I never thought it wise to piss someone off who was handling my food. There was a table across the way from me with a couple of moms and their dirty kids plus a husband or boyfriend or two. They loudly bitched at the waitress about their steaks not being cooked as they wanted, and they passed their plates back to her and she humped off to the kitchen to turn them back in. I could imagine the cook growling and spitting on the meat or shoving it down his pants and jiggling around a bit to add some of his own spice and sizzle.
My steak was good, and I scarfed it down quickly. And that’s all I said: “It’s good. Thank you.” She smiled halfheartedly and I knew she had better problems than me.
But I had been there before too. I had my time – those days so completely overtaken by life’s strife that I could hardly move or utter a word. Those days of hurt – like a hatchet buried in my skull cap and someone cranking on the handle. There is a laundry list of agonies I have endured that I really don’t want to talk about now except to say it was all about busted up hearts and people dying in real bad ways and there were plenty of times I just wanted to snuff it as Alex DeLarge says. Lights out like a hammer to a lightbulb. No more pawing and panting at the stars like some broken bird who felt like he would never ever fly again. Hopefully I’ve come around to the other side of those ills and I will press on, for there is nothing left to do.