Cross Country — Part 2

I remember parking the car in El Paso, Texas. I remember Handsome and I walking over the bridge that the protagonist in No Country for Old Men crossed to get into Mexico. I remember walking into Juarez when a little moustached Mexican who called himself Juan Loco offered to show us around. But after that I remember nothing.

All I know was hours had passed , our wallets were hundreds of dollars lighter, the stench of tequila was sweating out of our pores and Handsome was wearing a sombrero.

The next morning we drove through Texas. I’d heard complaints from other cross country trekkers about Texas. It was long and monotonous, but I found these critics to be liars. The state started with mountains and mesas. I kept thinking each mountain range would be the last, but there were always other peaks in the horizon. As we closed in on San Antonio there were forests with leaves in a multitude of autumn colors.

We stopped to get gas off the I-10. We threw a football around on an open field in a park with a playground that has become an endangered species, one with rides where a child could get hurt and leave the city accountable for a lawsuit. It had two story slides, one of those rusty merry go rounds that kids can spin until someone falls off, and a zipline six feet from the sandy ground. As I checked out the slide I noticed some graffiti that showed the Texan education system was doing a fine job. Someone scribbled, “Destiny is a slut becaus that is her eason and she is in the 5th grade and is suposed to be in the 7th.”

We drove into San Antonio which was a much larger and more sprawling city than I imagined. Tons of traffic and The Alamo is right in the middle of the downtown commercial area. We continued our drive into the night. We passed Houston and from the industrial and agricultural stench it seemed this might be the part of Texas people complained about. The night was growing close to the witching hour, so when we entered the city limits of Beaumont we searched for the cheapest motel we could find.

Either it’s a strange coincidence or the seeds of a vast conspiracy, but every front desk of every motel in Texas was manned by a person hailing from India. The winner of the cheapest room in Beaumont was the Red Carpet Motel. We were disappointed that the carpet in this flophouse was not indeed red, but there was some gunk on the toilet seat that was kind of pinkish. I laid my head down on the bed where undoubtedly a couple illegal abortions had been performed in years past and rested up for the remainder of the journey.


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