With everyone piled inside of the primer grey solid iron battle ship of a late seventies Oldsmobile, we balled up and held on with all mighty as Jeff turned the key and the fire inside this vile beast breathed to life and all the air around us chugged into a frothy rapid swirl. When the “Falcon” was started your knuckles immediately turned white and your words turned to prayers of any kind and your eyes sparkled and shone and danced with absolute joy. It was that kind of event. Jeff barely touched the wheel when he steered. Turning it carelessly, if caution were an issue it had long ago been torn and ripped and wadded up and tossed away in a bunch along with handfuls of multi-colored pills and sugar packets and cigarette butts. The interior of the car smelled thick and sweet, like kicked up dust and spilled soda and clouds of marijuana and wisps tobacco smoke…the air barely breathable hit your nose with a force unknown to me before or since.
Jeff’s face looked in a perpetual stoic non-grin grin of perfect Zen like satisfaction…the sounds and sights and everything moving and turning…everything chugging and bumping…his very reason for existence. I sat in the front seat usually…staring blankly out the cracked windshield at the orange yellow glare and watching the sun revolve down the sky away from us. Between a Boba Fett statue with a bobbling head and a sun faded crack running down the dashboard…I focus my hand to steady myself…there is nothing safe about riding in this vehicle. The shaking causes the glove box to unexpectedly pop open and vomit all of its contents on my lap…lighters, little square tins filled with weed, old rags, wadded up plastic bags with traces of all sorts of powers and dusts…food wrappers.
Behind me in the fire damaged backseat (months ago the backseat was set ablaze by a wayward cigarette ember and oblivious young idiot…the idiot was me…burned down completely to the steel springs and covered it all up with a old thread bare American flag), but directly behind me sat Dan and to his side behind Jeff sat Doug…rattling off nonsense complaints and obscure directions. We made our forgetful way down back roads and side streets through the local college town looking for the friend of ours we had earlier in the day let out of the car and jokingly pulled away leaving him…but now…now he was actually lost. The shocks of the car were long gone and each and every bump was felt in each and every part of the human body…rattling bones together and creating some of the most uncomfortable sensations known to man.
“Goddammit dude, fuckin’ learn to drive! And why in the fuck are we goin’ around this way…fuck Doolin, we were just down this street.” Doug’s face bright red now, disgusted by our foolishness.
“I know. I said I thought I saw him go down this way.”
“Just now…doesn’t that girlfriend of his live down this way.”
“What? No, she lives on the other fuckin’ side of town. Damn, dude, fuck this…take me home.”
“No, I am not taking you home. We got to find Dover.”
“Yeah, man…seriously settle down.” Dan looking up from a dusty curled up magazine or comic he found in the floorboard.
“Dude! Are you even looking?”
“Dude, fuck this! Slow down…stop…I am getting out.”
We don’t slow down. In fact, judging by the passing asphalt and steel street signs, we have sped up. Doug can take no more and opens the door wide in a daring gesture…meant to drive home a point. Young men, bored to death and frustrated, are not the most logical beast walking the face of this planet and this is double true when intoxicates are involved and points are to be made. And as quick as a camera’s light flashes and burns away, Doug had gingerly removed himself with a start from the speeding barreling car. He hit the concrete embankment behind the Carbondale Subway with a thick soundless thunk. He didn’t roll. He didn’t move. He didn’t spin. He just lay there. The car made a loud squeak and we veered to the left and then to the right and final slowed enough and stopped about 20 feet up the road. We all got out and walked back. I looked at Doug.
“Someone is goin’ have to tell his Mom, dude.”
“Doug is dead.”
“No, he isn‘t.” Dan said as he slowly strolled up…he zipped his coat and looked down at Doug.
“Get up, Bitch!”
Doug opened one eyes and looked up.