free…

he had these thoughts ’bout movin’ out West…New Mexico or Arizona…maybe Nevada…not as far as California…too many people…,he said…,and they got all them crazy ideas…one extreme to the other…no middle ground…,he just wanted to be alone…wanted to be away from big cities…small towns…the desert would do him fine…just a place to park the truck and sleep under stars…that’s all he wanted…

took a look at a map…’cided to just throw it away…too many colors and lines…numbers…got confused…thought he’d just go by road signs…West….South…80 and 69 didn’t mean anything to him….neither did toll roads…he kept to the highways…

wound up drivin’ all day into night…stopped at a diner in Joplin, Missouri…had catfish and mashed potatoes…sweet tea…said a prayer ‘fore his meal…he was in the Bible belt…

talked to the locals ’bout the road…old men who’d hitchhiked ‘cross America…landed in Joplin years ago…talked to truck drivers who pulled rigs from Joplin to Kansas City…Dallas…Denver…all the way out to the coast…they gave him advice on speed traps and small town set-ups…told him to take it easy out there…bought him pie and coffee…

and he drove ‘cross Kansas into the dark with his high beams on…out into the pitch black…the smell of alfalfa fillin’ his cab…windows down…heat lightnin’ stretchin’ in the sky…radio couldn’t pick up anything…just hummed songs as he drove into Colorado…old Tom Waits tunes…Springsteen…songs ’bout runnin’ away…just runnin’…

freedom was all he wanted…alone with his thoughts…felt he owed himself that….guess we all do…we all want a chance to breathe…some get it while others don’t….

he laid there in the back of his truck at a rest stop outside of Reno…no idea of where to go next…didn’t care…he was free…

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