The Trip, Part 1
Bend, Oregon, to Salt Lake City, Utah, to North Platte, Nebraska, to Fairview Heights, Illinois, to Beckley, West Virginia, to Florence, South Carolina.
Scene: The front yard of an old white house with a green door in Bend, Oregon. It's dark, and a silver Honda Civic parked askance in the driveway is equipped with racks and a black Yakima rocket box. It's stuffed to the window sills. Stuffed with bedding -- both human and dog -- with books, with clothes, with shoes, with snacks, a coolers, a laptop, and more. A man with a beard and a puffy jacket stands peering into the window of the car. Next to him stands a blond in a puffy jacket with a beanie pulled down to hear ears.
"What's that box for?"
"I'm taking two of our plants. The rest will stay here, but I can't let these two go."
"So two plants will ride in the back seat with the two dogs?"
"Two of each?"
"Huh. I guess so."
"Cool, so you're like the ark."
Scene: A truck stop in Wyoming. A silver Civic is parked out front, and two figety dogs hang their heads out the window, panting as passers by. A blond inside the truck stop walks past the diner, past the videos for sale, and pulls seven large bottles of Snapple Diet Peach Iced Tea out of the cooler, stacking them up in her arms. As she walks by the barber shop, she stares inside. After she buys her tea, she pulls out her phone.
So, when you were a trucker, did you ever get your hair cut at a truck stop? Because I swear I just saw a lady from town getting her hair did here. Getting the little blue puffball on her head trimmed. Is it really cheap or something?
Scene: Silver Honda Civic passes a sign on the interstate. Through her big, black sunglasses, the blond reads aloud the sign to the dogs passed out across their beds in the back seat.
"Continental Divide, elevation ... what did that say?"
The dogs don't move or open their eyes.
"Over seven thousand feet? Is that what it said? We're that high?"
"What the fuck is the Continental Divide, anyway?"
Scene: Silver Civic drives on an interstate in the dark, past the illuminated St. Louis Arch. She has a phone pressed to her ear and she seems amped, like maybe she's had too much caffeine.
"OK, so take 64? OK. That sounds good. Well, I'm just going to get to the other side of the city and then find a place to stay. I should hang up now, actually, I don't want to miss my exit. OK, love you, bye."
She tosses her phone onto the pile on the passenger seat, which includes pillows, empty water bottles and empty Diet Snapple Peach Iced Tea bottles, a purse, an over-sized, magazine-style map with the cover falling off, an empty plastic tub of macadamia nuts, several apple cores, a spill-proof mug and a tangle of wires running from her dash to the various small electronic devices piled in and among the junk.
She drives east, past the heart of the city, and sees a sign that reads "Lodging Next Exit."
When the exit comes, she turns on her blinker and takes the ramp. The lodging sign at the top of the ramp points left, she turns left. Crossing the bridge that passes over the interstate, she looks to the right, and sees a brightly-lit sign for "Larry Flynt's Hustler Club." She looks left. On the other side of the road, she sees "Miss Kitty's Showbar" written in hot pink neon.
The brake lights of the silver Civic don't illuminate as it flips a hasty U-turn.