Goin’ Mobile


“Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive. Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive. In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own. I don’t know when that road turned on to the road I’m on.”  Running on Empty; Jackson Browne

The hardest thing a man can ever do is regain the heart of a woman he has betrayed. I knew it was a suicide ride but I took the mission anyway. What the hell else was I gonna do? 

Noon the first day; I locked up my bedroom and stepped into the cool air with nothing I needed left there behind me. I stowed the gear in the spaceship and opened the door for my co-pilot-nurse and pointed us south for the desert. She was taking me, once again, to a place I’d never been before; no more Oakland. She is the desert; calm and still and clean; even the clouds are her; they refuse to move. She is smart and classy and intense with a heart that reminds me of home; a place I can no longer find.  

The tires sing a tune on the highway while John Meyer and Bobby Dylan, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello serenade us with tales of love lost and found. On the road again where I first found freedom and longing and the wanderers joy of chaos; where every step is brand new and I am tumescent; in a state of grace. She looks at the scenery and reads her magazine as the sun bakes over the open fields. I look out ahead to find America and redemption.

Midnight the first day; I leave the hotel to catch the full moon in Aquarius rise over Bakersfield; the Sun in Leo, our hearts in limbo. We start out where we left off; clashing like knives. Our conversation both spoken and silent is an eclectic modern dance with Thelonious Monk style jazz in the background; a pure anarchic equilibrium searching for rhythm.

There are people who stay in one place and people who move and laws are made for the former. We travelers are all the same out here on the road; our mutual plights make for a perfect camaraderie; all of us Magellan; space age cowboys entombed in climate controlled dream machines; moving and stopping together-alone in pre-designated oasis to fuel our beasts and our bodies; we’re all from somewhere but all that matters now is where we’re going.

Towns are made for people who stay put. For those that move; the outlaws, outliers; pathfinders, open-roaders, roamers, sinner-saints and saddle tramps, we are beyond rules and cops and tax men. We herd our turbo powered stallions free; air-conditioned gypsies blasting out over the concrete pioneer trials of graveyard streets America; Zoomin’!  The sky belongs to the stars; I pull back on the joystick of our rocket ride and we blast into space; star voyagers.

Las Vegas means the fertile valleys but only god knows why. In this blast furnace heat and desolate terrain only snakes and scorpions live comfortably. People roast, boil and cook in a passion and melt into nothing in 113 degree heat in a matter of minutes and nothing else grows or lives here without water and shelter. How the pioneers survived these barren expanses in covered wagons is some kind of magic. I feel a bit of fright as I sense us untethered, surreally floating, lost in space. We are stars on the crust of a planet hanging in the sky.

My body begins to rebel; unaccustomed to all this light and motion and open space and this throws off my internal workings. She springs into action; my guardian angel, all confidence and competence and saves me from myself. I am at once vulnerable, tender and needy. Her dark hairs are in constant anarchy and her sublime smile lights the night; her eyes as black as Ravens eggs.

We pull into Nazareth. My son greets us where car and luggage are whisked away while natty dressed servant’s open doors with joyous smiles and welcoming gestures. My boy is back from the crusades a conquering hero. His sword glistens from fresh victories and his shield is stained with the blood of his vanquished foes. He was born a man with a past; a suspect with a five o’clock shadow when the other boys his age played with balls. He is both my revenge and my gift to a world fought head on; but he will win another way; he will outsmart them. 

The ATM’s dispense 100 dollar bills and everything here is VIP for us; even the elevators. My son is a member of the .0001 per centers; geniuses that can make a living beating the odds in a place built on making it nearly impossible. So my name is gold and I only need to sign it to pay for all the pleasures we desire. The air smells of money, so much money you could build a house out of Krugerands with only one nights take from one broken dream palace. My room sport a TV the size of a refrigerator and the bathtub is marble roman slendor with a phone and remote control at my fingertips while I soak away the road weary days. Room service is rocket fast 24 hours a day and we are ordering off-menu. We’re not in Oakland or Kansas or reality anymore. We are Alice; down the rabbit hole in OZ. 

We leave a fiver in the casino; a gift to the gods of chance. Edgy gamblers full of hope, while friendly, reveal pained faces; a palatable desperation hangs in the air above their heads. Bells, buzzers and chimes from slot machines sing manic, a wall of sound for atmosphere rings out shrill music like a Calliope gone mad. I am eyes closed in the desert at night; a modern-day Carlos Castaneda seeking the demon. 

We arrive on Monday when all the squares split. Come Friday the entire world beats a path to this psychedelic carnival midway. It’s a night town and when the sun goes down the pimps and hookers and bad boys sling packets of false dreams that overflow the sidewalks. They are like inmates locked down in an Alcatraz far from the beauty and decadence of San Francisco with all the glories that beckon just out of reach. The streets are full of midnight murders.

It wasn’t thus when the hard guys ran the city; when drunks could stagger down the devils’ Strip at four a.m.; cash overflowing their pockets in perfect safety. It’s a corporate town now; a DreamWorks gaudy fantasy, Hollywood-Disneyesque and Tijuana dangerous. The locals know better than the tourists and stay indoors far from the Strip after sundown. 

We luxuriate; spa-out in cabanas, swim in cool pools, soak in hot and cold tubs sweating out acquired aches, pains and troubles in saunas and steam baths while nimble, nubile girls in white clingy uniforms, medical maids with firm, loving hands, massage, knead and stroke us with oils, powders and potions and speak musically in soft endearing tones. We pour out like the bubbly Champagne that flows like Evian. The days pass packed with magic memories and as I speed up a little to meet her she slows down just a bit to meet me until finally in one perfect moment we meet in the middle.

The restaurants are French Riviera grand; the best foods available anywhere in the world are flown in fresh daily, even the breads, since there’s something about the water in the desert that frustrates even the best bakers. Our meals fit for gods are topped off with the best home-made grappa this side of Greece. We dine honored guests in one famous restaurant after another while attentive tuxedo clad waiters offer us orgasmic delicacies the moment our asses hit the plush chairs; seven courses for lunch and each one more wonderful and delicious than the last in taste, style, quality, temperature and presentation. 

Days slip by, nights pass quickly and after a week that seemed one run-on day we are pulling out of Xanadu. She pilots us back to Oakland and I tolerate the trip better with her in control. I could stay; I still have time left on my “get out of life free” card but her communal life filled with noble work, close friends, family and lovers; with a vocation that contributes to ending war, eliminating poverty and eradicating disease, calls. Her mission gives me a pride contact high. 

I was ice-cold when we parted, vampire dead, until she touched me and set my heart afire burning blue. The trip has achieved its purpose and on the drive back we are homogenized and no longer joust like siblings though we still love like family. We talk a lot about small things that are deep and complicated; things that stress contradictions; like the confusing dynamic between men and women. We both burrow deeper into mind and soul searching for truth and this calms and stimulates me; she manages to never bore me.

When she says I am inconsistent with small intimacies I have confessed to her, I want to tell her that its lies that make perfect sense; lies that are planned out, consistent and symmetrical; that it’s the truth that is messy; that you have to read the words behind the words behind the words to find the truth; that the truth may not sound right but it feels right; but she knows it.   

She’s mothering me now; telling me to plan ahead, to plan a future now before I’m forced to; one that is pragmatic and secure and safe; but I’ve never planned a thing in my life. I’m not moved by the dull tools that one uses to map out the how, what and where of things. I need the danger and the spontaneity and the “in the moment” reaction to what life brings when I dare it to “give me all you’ve got” or else I fear I’ll disappear from all the god damn tedium. I’m only interested and stimulated and intrigued by the Why of things. I figure once I know the why; all the rest will make itself known.

Our embrace; shared in that last moment; full and complete felt more like a beginning than an end. She is leaving on a walk away; leaving me in disarray; but that warm caress finally brought us back to where we started and though she hasn’t held me that way in a millennium it conjured up a sense memory that felt like it happened yesterday. I could have quit then while I was ahead; declared victory and departed the field; instead I leaned in, filled with desire, wanting more of what I brought her with me for, gave up the high ground and told her the truth. What the hell else was I gonna do?




About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and Culture.net and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

6 Responses to Goin’ Mobile

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Very nice, a 9.1 rating. I will submit an email to present my conclusion of this evaluation. Keep up the good work, my friend.

  2. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

  3. pinkbubblespinkbubbles says:

    This…I love.

  4. James Mcfarland says:

    Hop on your horse, 5th gear in your porsche, click hyperdive on a spaceship ride ( oh goodness, a rhymer ! ) … from Nazareth to Xanadu, hell to heaven, reality to fantasy island, near and far, a masterful ride to the stars ~

  5. Time stamp incorrect. Review shipped from Cali, 4:34 am. Fix it !

    • Wouldn’t know how.

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