Four years earlier.
I drive around the country in search of nothing. The day takes me where the day takes me. Highways, interstate, toll roads, turnpike, back country roads; feeling myself loosing control with each mile until I’m finally lost in St. Louis, Iowa City, Dekalb County, Illinois, alleyways in Chicago, South Bend, on and on and on, never stopping for more than a day or two, just enough to rest, sleep in a Walmart parking lot or side street of a small town or major city.
Through out the night I go into Walmart to stretch my legs, use the bathroom, wash my face. The shoppers are insomniacs, night owls let loose from their cages, they come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. They walk down aisles in a trance like state. Zombies looking for the best deal on soda, cereal, shirts, a gun. They buy toys and video games, footballs and helmets with stars on them. They all walk slowly, hurded by music to self checkout stations. All of them, corralled into this space. Paying with cards and cash; bagging their goods.
I go back to my pickup truck in the parking lot and pull a blanket over my body. My feet push the floorboards, legs stretched out stiff. I close my eyes and try to sleep. Try to dream. The blue lights from high above shine down on me. These lights are everywhere. There is no escape. No darkness to be found. And the sound of shopping carts being pushed and pulled on concrete and broken blacktop keeps me awake.
My life has changed. I am a nomad in America. I am lost. I have no appointments, no medications, no prospects on the horizon; I am the luckiest man alive. Here’s to Henry Miller.