The Proud Byway

Bat Country is a Strange and Beautiful Place

To the well informed citizenry,

The morning was bright, not like yesterday. Yesterday morning I woke up with a gut still churning from many recent hours of abuse (a somewhat regular practice, I believe in a stout regimen of stress and frazzlement. The concept is called Stress inoculation theory simply stated: the ride needs to be a hard one if its gonna be worth a shit) booze, nicotine, marijuana smoked and edible, and 4 bowls of frosted flakes have taken their toll, but it’s time to hit the road.

The next 14 hours and 900 miles ahead of me would find me packed into a Honda sedan pulling a 10-foot long trailer, with two big ass crated science experiments (a side venture I’m working on with my friends regarding the nature of magic, science, and their co-minglings, also a cult in the making but I wont hold that against anyone), and my stomach felt like a rotten dumpster on fire that got pushed down a hill… as a former fireman I can say with some professional certainty that a “rolling dumpster fire” is the worst sort of dumpster fire. This trip was not gonna be an easy one but it was a good reason to get the hell out of the house.

President Donald F. Trump tells us that there is a pneumonia pandemic that has killed more than a hundred thousand people in the last 5 months. The world health community has come to the conclusion that it is time to halt the markets and “flatten the curve” by locking everyone inside...

I have spent every waking moment of my life- killing myself so that SOMEDAY I’ll be able to stay at home and fuck off all I want, and now that the government has told us all to stay home “for our sakes”, we’re supposed to just do it? Fuck You Don. I don’t trust you and I didn’t vote for you. I think you’re unqualified to be on TV. That being said, you are the President, so… as a civil servant, You work for me, go get me a glass of water and let the adults who don’t have dementia do the talking.

Listening to his apish rambling makes my stomach hurt worse than the box of frosted poison flakes I ate last night. He speaks about things that he knows nothing about, epidemiology for an example, and makes grandiose claims about his “plans” (there don’t appear to be any federal or global plans to help) to save the country valiantly on his white steed. He’s telling a dying population that everything is going to be okay, this is not true. It’s a bloodbath out here, in case you missed it (Growing up Next to Juarez Mexico, I am from El Paso Texas, where the battle of walmart was lost. Here bodies have never been in short supply, this is why it’s important to have somebody with some good sense in the oval office. Lives are on the line, and everybody knows that you can’t beat the tide, you gotta go with it… everybody that’s had their ass handed to them by a wave that is.

As a white man in America its not lost on me that my “rebellion” might just be privilege, but go fuck yourself, I’ve been broke a long time and the government “planning on sending out checks” just isn’t gonna do it for me. So for the time being, I’m asking any of my loved ones who I believe to be in danger, or who have the capacity to do so to stay at home, shelter in place. I am going to change the world for the better or die trying, feel free to get in my way if you think its wise.

I have an aunt who lives in the same city I do, every Tuesday we get together whenever my workday is done and we play cards and she’ll make us dinner. This is something that I have had to sacrifice, as my aunt has a compromised pulmonary system, the prime target for the disease currently ravaging the world. Because I love my aunt, I am willing to sacrifice seeing her. Regarding social distancing, I probably don’t want to be around you anyway. Keep it up, Stay 6 feet away from me, on second though better to make it 8.

…Back to my trip, I stop on my way out of town to grab a diet coke and fill up the FreeMobile’s gas tank. My vehicle has a name, FreeMobile (“Free” for short) like any good boat, named as such because it escaped communist china and helped me escape the black hole that is my hometown, though not without some tremendous casualties. I-10 and I are deeply acquainted, having been on the road my entire life, beginning when I was 10 years old playing 120 baseball games a year, through a decade of blue collar labor throughout Texas, and now that my collar has been clean frictioned off, I don’t feel particularly obliged to wear a shirt whilst driving.

My first stop is in the middle of nowhere. Calexico is a “shithole” run by the cartel, this seems obvious at first glance. Everyone there has the same look, it’s the look of a criminal, somebody who is there to get the job done at any cost… just as long as its almost worth it. It’s the same look that you get when you work in the back of an ambulance or when you leave your family to work in midland. The soul of these men is buried deep inside them where it is safe, somewhere it cant be seen at a casual distance. The reason for this is obvious, society has raised them up to be warriors, athletes, gladiators, and then told them that they don’t belong.

“You? You cant make a living here, you’re not even wearing a suit! How will people know they can trust you if you don’t have on a tie?”

“Well, what if we take the time to get to know eachother?”

“You make my point for me sir, how can you work if youre spending all of your time jabbering away at everyone? No, sales is all that matters. You do not have the correct ingredients for a comfortable living. If you want to make some money, I recommend you go kill yourself in a sewer, we’ll give your widow and kids a hundred thousand cash, over 30 years, 30% will go to the government”

Go fuck yourself. Fucking rotarian bastards.

Maybe I’m just jealous that I’m broke and others arent, honestly I don’t know. I’ve never thought of myself as one who “fancy’s money”, that doesn’t mean I don’t love to spend it.

On the first leg of the drive I listened to a podcast between the Bald and Powerful Joe Rogan and Eric Weinstein, A public intellectual, Harvard guy, and public decenter. Their discussion ambled through the regular myriad of rogan-y topics, maybe he talked about chimpanzees or something for a little while and they eventually moved on to the substantive topics regarding Eric’s main project, The Portal, where he (Eric) endeavors to explore the source code of existence, he asks the question

“What happens when we observe the source code?”

My answer is this:

“when we observe things, we change them, they change us, and we gain a new perspective”

Problem solved. Now that the unified theory of physics has been handled back to the task at hand here in the real world. How the hell am I going to get all the way to California and back without some new apocalyptic terror ruining my vibe?

I turn off of I-10 and the world becomes bigger as the traffic slows to a contemptible 70 mph on this Arizona backroad, the fear starts to sink in. It’s been ages since yellow stone exploded, LA is primed for the big one, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is a childish tyrant with nuclear weapons, our guy is too though so I guess that’s nothing new. What is new, is the draconian stay at home orders.

“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE??!!! Can’t you damn kids think of ANYONE but yourself?”

“We’re not kids anymore grandpa, we’re men who have had surgeries, fought plenty of our own battles, and the time has come for you to sit down and hand over the keys”

The first delivery goes off without a hitch, 4 hours into the trip. The last time I was this far south some cop pulled me over and took my driver’s license because my registration had been expired for a year and then my alternator died 100 miles from home after convincing the officer to let me go, that I was going to call somebody to pick me up. Karma for lying I guess.

I’ll remedy this whole thing when they make it easier for people on-the-go to go to a mechanic, stop by the DMV, or when they add more hours to the day, which might not be too far away… Some of these damn quarantine hours show just how malleable time can be. Comparatively, barring death, this trip was destined to be a success.

The drive to LA is uneventful, I’m listening to an audiobook now, the honorable Rev. HST’s The Proud Highway, the cab of this ungodly vessel is filled with smoke and rage. I scream into the highway about time being fake, or at best, an emergent property of matter existng in changing states.

Second drop goes off without a hitch, its time to get a burger and go home. 8 more hours left. My back is killing me, I light up a blunt.

***

Raoul Duke, Thompson’s “character” from his Las Vegas Escapades, known far and wide for his devilish behavior and razor sharp tongue Appears to be driving the vehicle now. The smoking gun, in human form, comes to life as the sun goes down.

We’re back in bat country now and anything is possible these days.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m not surprised.” Duke Says, He must be expressing his anger in different ways these days, less verbal I suppose… the vehicle accelerates and he lays on the horn.

“I wasn’t either, but Donald Fucking Trump? Maybe in a way this is like the cremation of the American dream” From the passenger seat the ride is much easier.

“Maybe the damned thing just wasn’t quite dead. If it wasn’t dead then, it is now”, Duke says as he chases downs his heart medication with Chivas, and lights a cigarette, the reflection of the cherry reflects off his sunglasses.

The view from the passenger seat is much better, and it’s about damn time somebody else drove. Only 2 and a half more hours, I call my wife. Raoul leans into the steering wheel as he passes in between two semi trucks going opposite directions… pulling a trailer this is normally inadvisable, but given that the Honda’s average width is considerably less widthy than say, an F-150 (the American towing vehicle of choice, I will get some push back from this but that’s fine) so I wasn’t worried in the slightest. The stars seem calm, and watchful as I doze off to sleep.

Duke wakes me up with a stomp on the brakes and a sharp right. As we pull onto a dirt patch about the size of a football field he reaches into the back seat and opens up a beer, he lights another cigarette and clamps down on the E break without putting the car in park.

“I’m getting out” Duke Says, “I’ve had enough for now”

I understand, I drive the rest of the way home by myself, again, safely. The tires managed to stay on the FreeMobile today, not for lack of effort though. I’ll give it another go when I’m well rested and have had some time to drink up (and subequently sleep off) a trips worth of spirits.

Relentlessly,
Evan Carter
Writer

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Evan Carter

Evan Carter

Never send to know for whom the bells tolls, it tolls for thee.