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February 19, 2024

All the Way to Albuquerque

By Pete Armetta

He had no real plans from here. Yeh sure, get back to California, start over, etc. But it was all sketchy at best. For now he seemed content just hanging around, watching the parade of life go by -- well, the parade of life one sees when they're right off the freeway, where people from out of every corner of everywhere stop for a few minutes to unload, unwind, recharge, then be on their way.

That's where he was, the rest area off Interstate 40, above Albuquerque. It seems no matter what, when it came to Albuquerque you were always above it. Something about its personality made it seem pushed down toward the ground somehow. Anyway he'd been hanging around this rest area here a while now. He'd hung mainly in the picnic area up the trail on top of the big boulders. From up here he could survey everything.

A fine perch for the moment.

He looked down affectionately at his car parked in the lot, top down, sleek blue body shining in the sun. A good-looking car if I don't say so myself is what he thought, with a bunch of other loving things. He'd loved that car since he bought her, brand new off the lot. He called her his bat car, 'cause she drove like one. He got no greater pleasure than being on a road trip with her, and she'd served him well all these years.

So their reunion the last couple of days had been swell. He sat at the picnic table and lit a joint and played over the events of the last few days. The problem was, he wasn't sure if what he'd done was right or wrong. He'd pondered and pondered, and although everything seemed to be working out okay, so far, I mean gosh, he'd made a lot of headway, all the way to Albuquerque right?

That's impressive. But inside of him a small part was nervous. Nervous that the other shoe was gonna drop. Nervous his jig would soon be up. He'd kept the feeling at bay so far, and it was only on sheer adrenaline that he was forging ahead.

At his own pace anyway.

The rest area was bustling and he sat and observed. People were coming and going, mostly not noticing him. Most weren't there long enough to notice much of anything anyway. He didn't mind at all, the last thing he needed was attention. It certainly was the right thing for him to get away, get back to California. Things had gone quite awry overall. He'd lost everything again, every last possession and relationship too. There was no better decision than to leave and put it all behind him, that's right. That's how he saw it anyway. He relit his joint and took a long drag and decided that overall he couldn't nor shouldn't be doing anything different than he was right now. He was just gonna run with it.

Yeh, that'll work.

After a few more minutes of what was for him uncharacteristic contemplation and reflection, he took a deep breath and hopped down off the rocks toward the sidewalk. He'd get inside, use the facilities, then be out of there for the next part of his trip.

Hopefully he'd have time to swing by the Petroglyph National Monument. May as well see the country while I'm out here, right? The sunshine was starting to wane. Only one other car was parked here now -- some old minivan -- not a real car that had an itch to hug and feel the road. Not like his bat car. He went in and used the toilet and stood at the sink washing his hands and his face. When he looked into the mirror he looked back at himself with concern. Was the shit just gonna hit the fan again? He scratched his chin and stared long and stared hard.

I guess we shall see.

He walked out of the restroom. The minivan was now gone. As a matter of fact so was his bat car. The only thing in the parking lot was the flashing lights of the New Mexico state police.

They were waiting for him.

Article © Pete Armetta. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-12-08
Image(s) are public domain.
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