Penniless With A Gas Tank On E

There was nothing he could do. After driving for days, miles and miles through the West, he’d come to that conclusion.

Maybe it was better this way. Penniless, gas tank on E, no dog to take care of. All responsibility tossed aside; he figured she’d make it on her own.

At the rest area, he shook the snack box until a bag of chips and a Milky Way fell to the bottom. It would suffice.

October nights get cold in Idaho. He got out his Mexican blanket and tucked his arms underneath. Chewing on candy he could see his breath in the night air. Rolled up his windows, turned the radio on to some college station playing Chet Baker. It was Chet Baker singing, Autumn In New York. No one ever played that. It helped him dream.

As the moon ripened and night dragged on, a Plymouth pulled up next to him. He sat and watched her as she got out of the car and walked into the rest stop’s restroom. The outline of her body shined under the blue lights leading the way. John Coltrane played, Central Park West; he hummed along.

He saw her climb in the back seat. A petite woman with dark hair. Looked Indian or something. He didn’t think much of it, fell back asleep to Bill Evans playing, Gloria’s Step; what dreams. Dreamt of hanging out at City Lights Books, talking to old Beat ghosts, Kerouac, Ginsburg; born at the wrong time.

When he woke up her car was gone. She was gone. And he, was penniless with a gas tank on E.

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