Another ratty motel room scented with weed and sex. Bugs in this one. I don’t mind the insects anymore as long as they stay out of my ears.

Breakfast is offered here. Today the cold scrapings of powdered eggs, scrambled, are floating in water like yellow chunks of vomit. In Texas, the same public spoon shares the salsa, unavoidably mixing the two into something oniony and unsanitary, whether you want it or not. A fly is buzzing over the sausage patties, which are either overcooked or almost raw, take your choice. A Mexican man refills the pan, mumbling something I don’t understand and rolling his eyes. The orange juice container is always empty. The apple juice is urine colored water. Plenty of pepper packets but the salt is almost extinct. A tepid inch of coffee from yesterday and the lever at the top of the thermos mimics the sound of diarrhea. A number of people who live here are on government assistance. I see them every day, moving so fucking slow through the line and sneezing on the feast. I say good morning to the black man in a bathrobe and he says nothing back. CNN is on the big screen and their talking points are similar to this free breakfast which isn’t really free. There’s a pretty Hispanic woman who always smiles at me, wanting to talk. She’s running from her abusive husband who is recently released from a four year stint in prison. He’s hungry as an animal and dangerously jealous. She’s constantly staring out the window and I am sad for her. She asked to speak with me the other day, sit, sit, she said, but, ssssshhh!, only secretly around the corner, out of public view. I know that she’s lonely and I’m a distraction for her.

Anyway, I avoid eye contact with Francesca this morning and scrape together something for my dog. I take the Styrofoam container back to the room. Sweet pup gobbles the food greedily as well the plate. I crack open a beer from the mini fridge. The lid falls and clinks pleasantly to the floor like a slug nickel and I don’t bother to pick it up. I drink two on an empty stomach, open a third, and I’m buzzing just fine. I know that my happiness is temporary but I like it.

The computer waits for me. It’s going to be a good writing day. I can tell. My task is comparable to mining. I will dig through a shit ton of rocks and dirt to find one nugget of gold. I’m tempted to check my email because a girl who is writing to me tells the most beautiful manipulative lies. I block her permanently, laughing at my own stupidity. Riding high on the white crests of incoming flattery and false promises, the final wave has crashed to the shore and I haven’t drowned or been dashed to pieces by the opiate thrill of her. We’re just using each other. That’s how it works. It’s merely a neural experience. She’s introduced me to her father, she says. He wants to take me fishing. I hate fishing. After a little research, I discovered that she’s a porn star posing as a lovely single maiden, pure as Snow White. She wants me to fly to her. She swears that she’s monogamous and wants only me and has left her naked stardom behind. She calls me her Keanu. I agree but only the Dollar Store version, the stunt double who is expendable, the one who gets smashed in the end. She wants to live in a cabin on a lake, eat barbecue, wear jeans like me, and fuck every day all day. Maybe I’ll surf the web again at another time but for now I’m cold and shivering in the scrotum-tightening sea of online dating and would much rather slip back into my clothes. I understand human nature more and more, with a sharpening vision, and my typing will tell the truth in the beautiful deception of fiction. It’s a lovely sound, the typing. The soft ticking of keys, letters into words, words into thoughts. The creative process my only savior at the edge of oblivion, pulling me back from a blackhole, from the dark matter of my own fuckup-ed-ness.

Last week, I smoked something bad and stared straight into the face of the devil.

This morning, I return to innocence and simplicity. I take the dog for a walk in a concrete jungle of gray warehouses and my heart feels barren and the dog seems bored, looking up at me with a questioning cock of his head. We aren’t in Colorado anymore, boy, and it occurs to me that this is a different kind of survival and that lonely men are the strongest men. Conquering a snowy fourteener is nothing compared to the challenge of the frightening and self-harming shadows of this seemingly inescapable valley, this smelly ass crack of a whore. Odd, there’s a deflated beach ball in an empty parking lot and the puppy attacks it, shaking it violently with playful joy. I stare down at him, loving him so strong, feeling sorry for him. I’ve always been a poor excuse of a parent but he’s making the most of it.

I find a gas station and purchase a chicken salad sandwich and chase it down with a can of beer. The dog gets a beef stick and a cup of water. I take him to a drainage ditch and he plays in the runoff. I’m worried about the effervescent oil slick floating thin and sickly on the surface and wonder if my furry best friend will survive. He seems okay. It’s a hot day. The pavement has burned his paws and this is all we have to cool him. And minnows are zipping in a straight frenzied line like sperm. A sort of blessing.

Afterward, I drive through miles of ugly urban sprawl on an almost empty tank of gas and with all the windows down to dry his fur. My own hair is long and stinging my cheeks. The exhaust of the city pisses me off. I can’t wait to leave. Life on the road isn’t always romantic but it’s times like these that put things back into perspective, restoring the proper balance of sweet and sour.

Back in the room, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and stare at my reflection. My eyes have become knowing eyes. Months ago they gazed upon the natural beauty of the Rockies every day. Recently, they’ve been forced to turn inward where there is no beauty. My soul needs a rescue. But I know myself. There aren’t any more questions. I know who I am and I’m resigned to the disturbing comfort of accepting unchangeable things.

Last week, she told me to get my shit together. Those were her most recent and last words. Someone has rescued her from me and now she’s a preacher.

A knock at the door. Housekeeping. Can’t speak a lick of English. We stare at each other. I need a fresh roll of toilet paper. Toilet paper, I say repeatedly. Girl shrugs her shoulders. I take my hand and mimic scrubbing the split between my cheeks after a shit. Frustrated and almost humiliated, I start to laugh because it’s so funny. Ass wipe, I tell her, I need some fresh ass wipes. OOooooh! she says and hands me a bottle of shampoo.

Before I resume my writing, I follow the example of Thomas Wolfe and masturbate. Supposedly, a good whack session will help with my writing. We shall see.
Andrew Dabar