WordBowl Word of the Day LAWLESSNESS courtesy of Hogan Gorman
Actor. Activist. Author.
New Orleans, point of origin, cross-country road trip, three Southern chicks, U-Haul jammed: inherited furniture, dashed familial expectations, historical baggage. Westward Ho! Adventuring to, or escaping from. Early twenties, confident in the uniqueness of our private pains.
Night before, toasting, one of us toppled off a barstool, broken wrist. Lost a day: hospital, sympathy cocktails, final family fights, farewells.
First days, road-thrill, sloping scenery, states slipping past. Speeding ticket, hilarious, stopped by a cop, did not recognize us or our last names. Revel in anonymity, assume — still— our parents would fix it with the presiding judge, as was custom. Roadside motels, novelty, tacit understanding one of us lacked unlimited funds.
Vistas flattened, air staled, radio stations dissolved to static. Truck cab squeezed by thoughts not voiced and road trip accoutrements acquired. An ex-but-still-friends stop, local concert, return to a vehicle too tight to accommodate our accompanying hangovers and lingering resentment, petty grievances.
Hauled through Colorado, up to Aspen without benefit of snow gear, it was summer where we started. Missed connection, misplaced address. Costume change in the back of U-Haul, taking turns, naked among reminders of what we chose to leave. Drinks, to facilitate the Figuring Out of What to Do. New friends, the kind who Day Drink their way into the night. Our kind of folk. We stand on barstools, buy rounds of shots for the natives, to prove we come in peace.
Party swells, fast friends commandeering pool tables, cigarettes, recreational party favors on our behalf. The friends-of-friends, Southern trust fund ski bums who agreed to accommodate us for the night, finally found, join the fray.
Night speeds, accelerates, swerves. Flirtations ignited, flamed out. Cards and cash tossed like cocktail napkins. Cotton shoved up a nose, no more hospitals this trip, soldier on. Hunter S. Thompson jokes, comparisons, we wore our Fear and Loathing with pride. We did not know we had gone too far until we arrived, wild-eyed, to the point of no return.
Morning, murderous, miraculous. Rode road, veered towards Utah, roadside emergency pee, another car, soldier returning from a war we watched on television, sly smoke offer, turns taking puffs. Drove through Moab, gaped at red rocks, slack-jawed, cotton-mouthed, questing for beer in a dry county. Squeaked through Nevada City, hit hotel slots, won twenty bucks.
Conversation deserted. Desperate for fresh clothes, fresh audiences, we high-tailed, two of us taking turns at the wheel, the cramped middle, not glaring at the one relieved of responsibility, sleeping against window, blond hair fanning her cast.
Abandoned U-Haul illegal, clinging to a hill, tickets tossed, we did not yet possess California licenses. Furniture and luggage left to languish as we danced, dove, drank. Tow-threatened, truck emptied at last, possessions scrambled, never rectified.
Told tales of this trip to strangers, never with each other.
We scattered. One scrabbled the globe, self-discovery, marriage, children. Another catapulted to career heights. Only one of us hit jail, momentary, before settling. All returned to respectability.
But underneath, lurking, reckless possibility.
As you might surmise, the writing of “lawlessness” required a cocktail road trip of sorts:
BATHROOM LAUGHTER at Mother’s Ruin (nolita, nyc)
TERRIBLE LOVE at Death & Co. (east village, nyc)
THE COCKPIT OF PEACE at The Beagle (east village, nyc)
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