Journal 2
Day 17
Quartzsite to Vicksburg Junction
today: 26 cumulative: 327

The day starts out, like everyday, with a search for food. Tables at the bakery are labeled. The B.S. table, the impossible table, the grouch table, the dreamer table, and the really deep B.S. table. I don’t think many people chose the table by their name, two blue haired grandmas are at the B.S. table. I would like to be at the dreamers table, it has the best view, but it is taken, so I take the only other table suitable for me; the really deep B.S. table. Another sign at my table says “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”

Across the street a school bus pulls up covered with rainbow colored squares, each containing homemade scriptures. “Grandmas and Grandpas are sinners too.” “The Pope is the shepherd of Satan’s flock.” “The dirty cloth of the preacher hides the golden fleece of the lamb.” The driver’s name is Robus. Used to be a preacher on the Indian Reservations. He tells me I am a sinner, I’ve got demons, he already knows my story, something happened to me as a child, my parents didn’t love me, I was abused, I started taking drugs to take away the pain. Projecting his own sad life onto mine. He tells me that god created the world in 6 days, that I need to read an older version of the Bible, at least a hundred years old, got one on the dash board he says, new ones are crap; dirty preachers, read the real words, get on the train son. “You men you never done Crystal Meth?” he asks. “No, sir.” “You’re a good hippie boy, stay away from that one. Now go out there and talk to Jesus!”

Tells me to watch out for baby eaters, referring to the Indian reservations. “Desert’s full of baby eaters, sexers, and human sacrifice. There’s a bunch of savages in this desert, and they’ll suck you in with their drugs, and you know you’re headed the wrong way with that devil goddess (referring to my Buddha shirt), when are you going to listen to that voice in your head that tells you you’re a sinner.” I tell him that I am proud to be a savage, that I will be quite at home in the desert, he does not believe me, maybe I look too clean, he thinks there is still hope for me. He is wrong. I don’t want to step back down the ladder to play his game. I have been entertained but now it’s time to go.

A whole day hiding in the shade. As the sun sets I prepare to leave town. An ice pick in my leg, an electric current, muscle seizes. I fall to the ground. I've never had a problem with this leg before. I try to walk it off and it comes again, so much pain that I fall down. The people outside the market make wide circles to avoid me, like I am a rabid dog. I can't take another day off here. Try to run it off. Cosmo watches me running in circles around the parking lot. She is whining, I am limping. Shocking pain every two minutes. At a teepee across the street a group of men making arrow heads watches my strange dance. Rabid dog seizures, circle dance, cursing. Why did I let my health insurance lapse? What if this means... no, don't think it. The Achilles still tight and hurting. Only 300 miles and I'm already a cripple, and I claim to be so strong. I claim to travel whole universes and I cant even walk across the street.

The teepee people invite me over. They tell their stories around a fire, the way it should be. A real community, back to the open flame, back to chipping arrow heads and spear points. I think they might have something here, and they have chocolate cream pie. If i don’t move I cant feel the ice pick, but the chocolate cream pie can't last forever and I don't know how to chip arrow heads, so I will have to leave
eventually, this is not my tribe. Run more circles, stretch, pray in my own weird way. Mantras and leg kicks and shaking and frothing and pull out those magic stones. If there was ever a time to use them. I’d try anything to get rid of this pain. I have two different remedies for muscles. Mr. Woo's Chinese wood lock tonic, a potent green/brown liquid and Tiger balm. I sit by the market with my pants pulled down rubbing them both into my leg as hard as I can. Burning electric ice pick.

The pains become further apart, but I am paranoid about this becoming chronic. I decide to walk anyway. 26 miles on the interstate. No moon. Treadmill in the dark, mile markers 100 years apart. Semi’s screaming DIE! DIE! DIE! Blowing us off the road with the wind they create. Constant noise and stress, and they never stop, they never slow down, more and more and they come all night, even at 3 in the morning it is like rush hour. We stop every 4 miles to rest and every 4 miles I fall asleep with my head on Cosmo's belly. My Achilles tendons are pissed off. I am pissed off. There is no place to rest, no side roads, we just lay down in the weeds 10 feet off the road. Cosmo's tail is up tonight, we can see our breath, she is pulling harder than ever, but still I can see that look on her face, "Dad, why are we doing this?" I mumble something about heroes and other bullshit, she's not buying it.

Counting down every mile. I want to stop but there are no side roads, no place to put a tent. OK, if this is mile marker 35, I have gone ten miles and I have 16 to go and that means 6 hours with rests, 20 minutes to the next marker, 15 if I walk fast, but the Achilles, and now the back, and maybe we'll just rest a few seconds and then we fall asleep and then I wake up cold 10 feet away from Semi’s travelling 90 miles and hour and I still have 16 miles to go and 10 hours late in my mind I see the next marker and it tells me I have 15 miles to go and I’m not even half way and I want to stop and sleep again, but I have to go 3 more miles before I will let myself rest and then I still have 12 miles to go and at 3.5 miles and hour without rests that’s over 3 hours but I need rests so its 4 hours or more and by then the sun will be rising. Step, step, step, step, step, step, screaming semiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis, die, die, die, wind blows and we can see our breath. Mile marker 37.

At the junction a cafe is opening for breakfast. The ice pick pain is gone but I am like a ghost, windblown drifter, glassy eyes, biscuits and gravy, coffee, too tired to savor the meal. Limping to the back of the truck stop to sleep in the bushes. The pre-sunrise colors, the outline of the moon, all black with a sliver of light, like an eclipse, 15 minutes from moon rise to moon set to sunrise. I want to be in my sleeping bag before that sun is up, so I can pretend it is still night. A semi pulls up close to the bushes, a loud idling engine. I am already asleep. ....