Courting Disaster

Vinita, Oklahoma—I’ve never actually found a new beginning on the road, but here I am, at it again. On the way here, or maybe it was while waiting for the tow outside of Vinita, Oklahoma, I tried to tally all of the new beginnings I’ve courted, but there were too many. None matter now, anyhow. Besides, it was hot. Really hot. 3 p.m. in sun-scorched Oklahoma. The girl downed her last Valium when the trooper pulled up behind us and had since slumped over like a corpse. The dog, panting like a maniac, was on the verge of overheating. And me, sitting there, sweating buckets, hurting, waiting for the goddamn tow so I could get on with the business of another new beginning. One more. That’s exactly my problem.

The abscess on my arm was throbbing. Could barely bend my arm. Miss one lousy vein and you suffer for weeks. Even now, in some Missouri motel—and I’m not quite sure where—it still hurts. I can’t find my Clyptomyacin, so I take a strip. It’s been long enough—I hope. I’ve already learned that lesson. The dog is still panting, but the girl is awake, just barely, smoking a cigarette, wondering, I imagine, how this new beginning will play out. Like me, she has a fondness for disaster. The dog could care less. I poke at the lump under my skin, still stewing over wasting that shot.

The tow finally came. At last. After we baked in the sun for two hours. He explained no one wanted to take the call because there wasn’t any money in it. We were too close to town. He only took it because he clocked 45 miles each way. After the tornado, I told him, I thought Oklahomians would be feeling a little more charitable. Not the self-righteous hater assholes they’ve always been. Matt Lauer should do a story on that. How disaster or no disaster, no one ever really changes. Not them, not me.

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  1. […] cops and courts reporter I replaced at the Rio Grande SUN, as our style has it, moved on to North Dakota. With seemingly all that free time, he’s started writing again. He’s […]

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