yesterday we climbed into something that was not quite anything

The motel pool was rusted and smelled like vomit smell in the shallow end. It was six a.m. Leon and I walked back to our motel room. The fringes of our bathrobes tasted like a thought of yellowed oral plaque residue that left my teeth aching. Leon asked me if my legs felt young. I pinched my right thigh. It moaned a little and told me a story about a stale dog that once got too old to ever move again so it laid on the kitchen floor for ten years eating the leftover oven heat. I rubbed my left leg. It felt almost fresh. Leon and I put on our sneakers and went for a jog up to the McDonald’s. We were still wearing our bathrobes.

A pregnant woman was sitting on a swing set eating hash browns outside the McDonald’s. I could hear the throb of her depression. There was an echo of tears from earlier that morning. My bathrobe began to sweat. I watched the pregnant woman take out a cigarette. I looked at something foul grow on the toe of her cheap pair of red high heels. Dark parts of her face began to grow. The person on the swing set eating hash browns developed a full beard. The stomach attached to this beard was no longer as plump with human life. It seemed like it had made the chubby decision to give up on life and grow into a piece of American obesity. I felt relieved as I watched something not quite pregnant smoke a cigarette. The pregnant woman on the swing set was nothing more than an overweight, bearded Eskimo that had forgotten how to fish. His indigenous soils had been lost in the echoes of the dried tears his beard caught from the day when his father had fed his Nintendo to a whale.

Leon and I jogged to a small park near a public stream. Leon told me to peek my face into the stream. I did not want to put my body in the stream. We each did one hundred pushups and three hundred sit-ups before running back to the motel. It was almost seven. I watched the local morning news while Leon showered. A man in the television said, “Last night, one family in the lake region had quite a scare when a small black bear wandered into their kitchen and killed their elderly dog who had grown too old to move. It is unclear whether the family will seek retribution or forgiveness. One official, who spoke to a neighbor, initially said the family wanted to publically hang the small black bear, but some of the younger members of the family seem to be pushing towards trying to domesticate the bear and see if it can replace their old, tired, dead hound.” When it was my turn to use the bathroom all the soap was gone.

There were some free pop tarts and cornflakes in the motel lobby. Leon spread cream cheese on a pop tart and put it in the toaster. I ate five bowls of cornflakes. Leon read the “money” section of the newspaper. After a few minutes of browsing the financial recommendations of men who get paid to make people desire the idea of being wealthy, Leon asked if I was looking forward to becoming a cog in the idea of capitalism. I shrugged. Leon said that being a cog in the American economy was no longer a practical idea. I looked at a substance of capitalism standing behind the motel front desk. This mechanism of free enterprise was breathing slightly and had only smiled once in the past twelve days.

Leon pointed at a graph in the newspaper displaying the current unemployment rate. One of the lines on the graph was the shape of a decaying piece of ham that had qualified for unemployment. A middle class family of four who were refused any sort of governmental assistance watched the rotten piece of meat floating in a puddle of its own juice. The family’s dog sipped at the ham stew and immediately grew a wound in his tongue. The dog whimpered for the next dozen years it was alive.

Leon said, “I’ve decided that when this trip is over I am going to collect unemployment for two or three years and raise my financial status by selling cocaine to wealthy college fraternity boys.” For a brief second, I had a vision of Leon snorting white powder off an erect penis in the bathroom stall of an enlarged Walmart.

When we finished eating we went back to our motel room to wait for someone to tell us what to do next. An hour passed. No one told us what to do so we sat on our beds and watched television. At nine a.m. someone knocked on our door. The door noise sounded like it extended from an illegal male immigrant named Mickey.

Leon turned off the television. The man waiting outside our door would tell us to get in a dump truck and drive the dump truck to St. Louis. This man would get in a white van and also drive towards St. Louis. The hours of dump truck movement would pile on top of itself in a slow roll that wouldn’t feel like it made any forward progress. For many of these dump truck hours I would give up on the idea of ever rearing a child the shape of a massive form of prolonged inefficient motion. When I think of my future generations of American born children I get depressed and pray they are competent, brief, and resourceful.  

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