There was a large coffee and package of powdered donuts up on the dashboard underneath the cracked windshield. He had a map in his lap, looking over the eastern side of the United States. The radio was turned on to some jazz station out of Pittsburgh. Diesels and cars driving on 76 with the sun peeking through. The young man lit a cigarette and walked out into the cool morning air. First, he stretched up to the sky on his tippy toes and let out a roar. He hadn’t slept much in the Ford. Semis came and left the rest stop throughout the night. And those motors hummed. He figured he’d take a nap later on that day.
The morning was quiet. It was spring. There was no rain or snow, no ice on 76, just clear road ahead. The brown haired boy of twenty-seven thought about driving into Pittsburgh and spending a day or two. Really whoop it up with some college girls, he thought. He had enough cash to spend. That stimulus check had been deposited into his bank account. Now it was up to him to do his part and pass the $1200 around. Put cash into the pockets of those that needed it, like bartenders, waitresses, and dancers. It was a messianic mission. And, he was the right man for the job. Or, so he thought.
He’d quit his job at the gas station as soon as the check from the Treasury cleared. Just walked in one morning and said, I’m gonna go get some breakfast. I might be back, probably not. I hope that suits you.
And he drove cross Ohio and into PA. He stopped at diners and massage parlors dotted on the road. He spent $400 alone before getting to the rest area just outside of Pittsburgh. Now he was down to $800. His mind was racing with thoughts. Gotta get this money out to the people, he mumbled. Gotta do it. Folks are depending on me, he lit another cigarette as he looked at the green trees, the hit deer on the side of the road, the billboards advertising fast food chains and gas stations; hotels and motels with free HBO. What a great country, he thought. All these choices.
So, young Oedipus decided he’d stop in at a strip joint. The place had just opened up. Curtains were closed and green neon lit the place. Up on stage was an older woman with curves and wrinkles dancing to Bon Jovi’s, Bad Medicine. He took a seat down by the stage. Picked a few twenties from his wallet and ordered a beer. The dancer came over to him and got down to make eye contact with him. She shook everything she had for him. He gave her a $20 saying, Plenty more where that came from. And, she asked in a coy manner where the bills came from? The United States government ma’am. I’m doing my job to distribute em. She laughed. Opened her legs and got the other $20 as well.
Soon the word was around the strip club that he was going for broke. He had more drinks and several lap dances. The women folk just smiled at him as he handed out bill after bill until he was pleased to say he had no more. His stimulus journey was over. And, they waved goodbye to the young man. Knowing that one day he’d be back. Whenever another stimulus came, he’d be back around.