We’re on a road. Smoke rises from the hood of the car; the fumes wafting in, choking me. He picked me up a few miles outside of Boroughs and offered me the red pills. A sack of cannabis sits on his lap, but he ain’t sharing. Men like him never share. They take and take from the earth, but never both to share with the lowlies like me.
“What’s that?” I say. The wind’s making it hard to hear anything. “I didn’t hear that last part?”
“Eh?” he mutters, turning his head to me. The fluff of his beard is angled as the wind blows through it. More smoke pores in from the engine and the car’s making a chuga-chuga-chuga rhythm now, a lullaby for the open road.
“The last part,” I repeat. “What did you say?”
“I ever tell you about my son? Nice kid. You remind me of him before he died,” his words aren’t even sad. He pops a pill – the red ones that taste like hard candy, the sort we used to buy at the corner store for only a quarter a piece – and shakes his head. “OD’d, can you believe that shit?”
I can and I will continue. I shook my head. “Not that, man. The one about the mistakes.”
“Never made t hem. Never had a choice in the matter.”
“We always have choices,” I said. “It’s a matter of looking.”
The car gives its last chuga-chuga-chuga before giving a death rattle and the man with the Karl Marx beard has to pull over to the shoulder of the road in the middle of nowhere, miles outside of Boroughs. I can see the damn buildings in the Gothic Quarters in the horizon. Looming in there like stoic mountains.
“She was a cute little number, the one you abandoned.” His words came out from beneath the hood as he messed around with it the engine. “She still around?”
“She might as well be dead,” I replied. “She and I weren’t good.”
“Yeah,” he mumbled. “Sometimes these things just need water. Something to cool it or make it grown, you know?” He snickered. “Sometimes, man, our greatest achievements are our best mistakes.”
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