Monday, November 5, 2007

age: 78

location: Montana

Sometimes I wake up questioning my sanity. I hear dreams evolve from what you think of two hours prior to falling asleep. So when I wake up after dreaming of giraffes dying their fur brown while carrying a machine gun in their hand, I have reason to be worried.

It’s not just that. There’s an intense pain in my right index finger and my hip when I try to kneel or stand up or walk up or down stairs. Mentally, I’m not too well either. Sometimes, I find myself completely lost in my Montana home in which I’ve never moved out of. Suffice to say I think I am dying.

So the other day, I made a list of the things I want to do before I die. It was a short list, mainly because I don’t have many expectations for life, but a list nonetheless.

1 – Cheese fries. I want to try cheese fries.

2 – Meet a politician cop that I can respect.

3 – Find the best piece of literature ever written.

As you can see, I had a lot of work to do. I made it a little easier by changing the respectable politician to a respectable cop because I don’t have a lot of time, ya know? And it takes a lot of time to achieve the impossible.

The next morning, I call my friend May Atwood, whose husband owns a motorcycle, and I asked if she wanted to give it a spin with me. Maybe take a day trip, I said. Really, I just needed a way out of this town if I wanted to get my hands on some cheese fries.

May, being the doll that she is, agreed and picked me up. She rolled up in one of those bikes with handlebars real high, and I hopped on, and we set off in the wind. I felt just like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider except that May and me were two aging women with grey hair and a helluva slow metabolism.

You see, Montana isn’t home to many burger joints. Towns in general are scarce, and I can’t say I’ve had a yearning for anything different. I wouldn’t want to be driving through any other terrain except that of Montana’s.

May just kept driving, never looking back at me as to when she should stop. She’s a free spirit, that one. When I did see a fast food restaurant up in the distance, I had to tap her shoulder and ask if she was hungry cause I sure was, I said.

We pulled up to Mickey D’s and my legs were weak with anticipation. I went up to the nice young man at the counter and asked him very slowly if he had any cheese fries. “Cheese fries, hmm,” he said, “We don’t but I’m sure we could melt some cheese and put it with your fries.” My heart sank.

“Oh there is no need to do that.” And I turned around and left even before May walked in the door.

“I thought you were hungry,” she remarked.

“Oh this place is trash,” I said because if I was going to do this then I was sure as hell going to do it right.

We hopped back onto the bike and drove on ahead, leaving that so called fast food joint in the dust. The state was coming to an end though, not that Wyoming looked much different, but we were getting pretty far out there. You always think that you could just keep going and going before you realize at some point you have to turn around and go home. May would’ve kept going for days if I hadn’t suggested we go back.

What was I thinking, looking for cheese fries? Maybe I am going about this all wrong. Life is not a checklist. Still, I must carry on.

And that’s when I saw it! About 200 meters ahead. It had the lights on top and everything.

“Hey, May, why don’t we see what this baby can do!”

She revved up the engine and we were about going 100 mph when we passed the cop car. Sure enough, he came right up after us. May wasn’t the least bit fluster and then there I sat, more excited than when we went to Mickey Ds. I thought for sure this was a sign.

May lowered her sunglasses at the officer.

“Miss, do you know fast you were going?”

“Oh for god’s sake, we’re in the middle of nowhere,” she said.

“I’m going to need to see your license and registration.”

“Oh for god’s sake, I left it at home.”

I couldn’t even speak. I wanted to ask him of his family. And his career. And if he loved every moment of his life.

“I’m sorry miss but I need that license. I am going to have to right up two tickets.”

bastard.

You know what most people mutter under their breaths? Well, May says them out loud. I swear, she scared the shit out of that goody two shoes, play by the rules, son of a bitch. Still, he handed May the tickets and we sped off, getting home in no time.

By the time we reached my house, night had fallen. And when I mean night, I mean so black a light bulb is only glimmer, so silent the crickets make a melody, and so cold that no one would know its summer.

May and I said our goodbyes and as I watched her leave, I realized no one can come close to someone whom you’ve known your whole life, as I have with May. Regardless of whether or not you enjoy their company.

I sat on my porch that night to say my goodbyes. Sure, the trip was a bust. No cheese fries. No respectable cop. As for the best piece of literature, I would definitely have to say it would be this one.

Its really okay, though because you know what? Not once did I feel like dying and that’s the best way to go out.


2 comments:

david wesley said...

i really reallly liked this short story. it kept me involved. also, i love your use of language...it was so fancy-free and entertaining.

Thea said...

This is a wonderful story. Reminds me that we can only know about living if we know about dying. You seem to know a lot about both.

thea