Blythe Phoenix


“There’s a safety pin in the visor, you know, if you need it.” The Curmudgeonly Lion pulled down the driver’s side sun visor to show me the safety pin stuck through the felt.

“If this were a movie, we would definitely need that in the third act.” I told him.

I couldn’t help but feel like we were launching into thestart of some Indy film: A married couple struggling to cope with the uncertainties of adulthood head out on a roadtrip to discover themselves. Now screening at Sundance.

We drove out of the city on the threshold of a storm: tall black clouds filled the sky behind us, and occasionally veils of rain would brush across our windshield. The route should have been straight: get on route 10 and head East- but somehow at every turn we seemed to get more and more off track.

Eventually, we got on the highway and headed across the desert, through wind farms and Palm Springs and past the Coachella Valley. We stopped at a farm stand for beef jerky and Good and Evil pickles (noir sure what these are yet- haven’t tried them). Signs pointed the way to “Blythe Phoenix”, which I’m pretty sure I’m going to use as a name for a character in my book, once I get back. The desert was blooming with purple and yellow flowers as far as the eye could see.

We crossed into Arizona as the sun dropped towards the horizon. Immediately the landscape filled with saguaro cacti as if they were forbidden in the state of California. In some places they marched up the sides of hills like evangelists leading followers to the promised land. The sun set casting everything into a lavender twilight.

We made it to Phoenix with maybe three miles to spare on our one tank of gas. We filled up the car at a Costco. We filled up ourselves at a Taco Bell. The car got the better meal. Then we drove to our motel where the room cost a hundred dollars but the toilet had no lid and the heater blew only cold air and the front office had no extra blankets or pillows, but offered us a set of pool towels and a pillowcase for us to improvise with. Top notch. I told myself to just pretend we were on the run from the mob and had to lie low on our way to our new lives in WitSec. Somehow that helped.

Today we went to a Cubs spring training game which was all the fun of a regular baseball game and all the casual comfort of a community game: we didn’t have to sit in the nosebleed section behind a pillar for a change and there wasn’t an ongoing commentary from an announcer narrating every play for the television audience. A good time was had by all.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 22, 2019.

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