Published in Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review,
Vol. 4, Issue 2, Fall 2016

Cover Art by Bill Harris, Rearview Mirror


It’s 110 degrees and the air is weighed down by a blanket of humidity, when it’s just barely June, meaning this day could never lead anywhere good. The uneven dirt road goes on forever, a washed-out brown line looping in and through itself. I keep cranking the AC for some cold relief, until the knob pops right off. Eight hours of solid driving through the drudging plains of Kansas and Missouri, seeing the same flat fields that are fifty shades of brown with a little peppering of green, a sign that everything is struggling to survive from here out over the next thousand miles. Not a single car on the stretch of road that lies ahead, nor a single cloud separating the scorching sunlight and me. A true deserted place, forgotten and locked away.

The way is too familiar. I slow the car down as it hits the unpaved gravel roads outside of Redmonton, the nearest civilization with a 24-hour diner and a decent gas station that in the least carries miniature Jim Beam under a buck, which is basic enough to survive a trip back home.

Read the full story here (digital edition – see page 55)