Here (2)

There was no cab in sight, no greyhound bus, no passing vehicles, hell, he wasn’t even sure there were railroad tracks this far out. For that matter he didn’t even remember how he got to this place, his car broke down on the side of the road, but he was in the middle of Nowhere.

Well, he was somewhere, but not where he was supposed to be. Instead of the sprawling city of his dreams he was instead surrounded by desert. Ugly fucking desert. He’d already determined that when he got to where he was going he was going to make the mapmakers change “Mojave” to UFD, and every other god damned desert for that matter. His feet kept walking as he was cursing his fate, one minute it was a scorching 104 degrees and the next the sky had turned royal purple and neon pink, and the temperature had dropped to the point that he was shivering.

He looked back over his shoulder and could still see his mustang in the distance, what the hell? He was sure it was only 2 or 3p when he started walking, it couldn’t be night this fast. Kicking more dust up into his face he sneezed and looked up, and saw some kind of old gas station alittle ahead, so he picked up his pace. When he got there he saw the weathered sign that said “HERE” and he entered what looked like a saloon from Western days gone by. The woman behind the counter was drying a beer mug, she stopped for a brief moment when he entered, she looked both frightened and sad.

“What’ll it be cowboy?” she asked as she put the glass down.

She looked familiar to him, but he couldn’t put his finger on it, so he just said “How about a beer?’

As he was drinking the frothy cool moisture that was like heaven in his parched throat he finally worked up the nerve to ask “Do I know you from somewhere?”

The barmaid leaned back and laughed with little humor. “Probably, I’ve been somewhere more times than I can count.”

“Okay then, where are we right now?” he asked.

“We’re Here. Didn’t you read the sign?”

“Yes I read the damn thing but where is HERE?!”

“Here is just here” she responded quietly as she lit a cigarette.

He followed her line of sight to just beyond the front window of the tavern, and he saw a bridge through the haze of the desert twilight.

“Hey lady, where does that bridge go?”

“That bridge? That goes Everywhere and Nowhere.”

The way she said “nowhere” scared him, it was barely a whisper.

“Have you ever crossed it? I mean what does Everywhere and Nowhere look like?” he tried to sound casual.

“Mmmm. once or twice.”

“Well how much worse can it be than this shithole in the middle of UFD?” he retorted with more hostility than he intended.

“Oh come on Cowboy” she breathed in between cigarette drags, “sometimes it’s just better the Devil you know, don’t you think?” She smiled like he had missed an inside joke.

“Now sit down and have another beer. You’re going to be Here for awhile.”


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