Sandwich fixings were greedily devoured back at Jeff’s truck. The ambient space jams on the truck’s stereo had given way to indigenous flute dirges. Ron was pushing for Jimi Hendrix. He was soundly voted down but a compromise was made in favor of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. The strains of Badalamente pouring out into this wild night time landscape fit perfectly.
On later trips to this same piece of magical Earth I would stare at individual stars so hard that I imagined myself trying to remember what it was like to be a part of a star once, as if there might be some wild memory of that time still carried inside the matter that made up my body. I felt like I got really, really close once. But I was nowhere near that sort of “enlightenment” or spontaneous combustion on this excursion. In fact I felt like maybe most of the “sid” had worn off and I was actually ready to crash after some more snacking.
An hour of or so of mindless banter and another wasted bowl of weed later, we decided to try sleeping, although Jeff was going to go recline back out on the red rocks that made up the Seven Sisters right next to us. The music stayed soft, and yet something bothered me.
“Ron,” I said, “you wanna go check out the memorial in the morning? In daylight? Just to see if…”
“Yeah, sure no problem man.”
Within an hour of that discussion we both slept fitfully.
At one point in the early morning I woke, and heard a wind howling outside the truck. It was like an enormous gust one could hear coming down the road, whipping around the rock formation, and then flying back out into the open desert, only to return five minutes later or so. Once I made myself get up and open the hatch, just to watch and see if I could see anything. As the gust approached, I found myself feeling nervous, and closed the hatch back shut. Looking out the window, I couldn’t see anything, and the strangest part of all was that not once did the wind ever blow directly into our little cove where the truck sat. I lay back down, feeling cold, and listening to the long, slow volley and return of what almost seemed like a miniature tornado, a dust-devil forever stuck in a long slow orbit around a state park. I remember thinking I couldn’t hear it anymore and fell back asleep until just before sunrise.
Under the Table:
by James Claffey