One hand gripped the wheel while the other one clutched an egg mcmuffin.
With my gaze fixed to the road, center lines flicking by, I raised the warm synthetic sandwich to my mouth and took a bite of heaven.
I was set back $3.33 for 2 McMuffins back in Swanton, VT, that little town just past the border. When the price rang up, I’d asked the cashier, “Is that all it is? For 2 of them?” and he’d replied, “Yes. It’s 2 for 1, sir”.
Question: If you can get 2 Egg McMuffins for $3, can you really be sure that you just bought food?
I pushed the thought away and swallowed. The center lines flicked by.
My thoughts turned to ‘her’ and the last time we talked. In fact, there hadn’t been much talk. Now less than 24 hours later, her and her septum ring were fading in the rearview mirror of my mind until she was just a speck and was gone.
I looked ahead at the changing landscape and my thoughts drifted back. Back to Vegas and that fucked up trip.
How much time did we actually spend there? It couldn’t have been more than 2 sleeps with the majority of the trip spent wearing out our tires on I-40.
When we first hit Vegas, the sun was coming up and we were starving. Dave parked and we all crawled out into the blazing morning sun and looked around. Across the street was a casino with a Holstein on the roof.
Holy Cow! Casino and Cafe
“How about that place?” Phil nodded towards the cow.
“Think they’re open?
“Probably. This is Vegas.”
We sat in a booth and had huge burgers for breakfast and discussed our plans. We’ll catch some sleep today, explore The Strip tonight and hit Death Valley tomorrow. We’ll rent a car to give Dave’s beat up Oldsmobile a break. We’ll spend another day in Vegas and then hit the road back east and take one day to visit the Grand Canyon. Then Memphis, Graceland and then home. Plenty of time.
“So who knows how to get to Death Valley?”
“It’s that way”, Alex pointed towards the desert.
“Well, duh. We’ll get a detailed map from the car rental place”, I said.
“How hard can it be?” Dave waved a hand dismissively. “There are only like 2 roads in the desert.”
We all laughed in our exhaustion. It was great to be here. Four friends on an adventure without a worry in the world, except maybe if Dave’s car would make the trip back to Montreal.
The first hotel was a motel on South Vegas Boulevard. Actually it was a “Motor Inn” which, even though is technically the same thing as a motel, is somehow worse and comes in dead last in the hierarchy of rooms for rent. It was the very definition of a fleabag.
The room was a complete disaster. The first hint was that the beds weren’t even made.
“Holy shit, look at this place!”
“This room is so bad, it’s great.”
“Shut up, Alex.”
We were too tired to complain, so we tried to sleep off the day and made a plan to move into a better hotel by nightfall. I managed an hour or two before giving up and going for a walk. The others didn’t do much better.
“Guys, we gotta find another place.”
“How about Circus Circus?”
“How much is it?”
“Who cares, as long as it’s not this place.”
Turned out Circus Circus was booked, but after a few hours we finally settled on some hotel with a bowling alley.
The next morning we rented a white Topaz. I took the first shift and headed north on 95 towards Death Valley. The center lines flicked by…
…the center lines flicked by as I wondered what happened to the rest of those guys. Only two of us had remained friends, while the others drifted away as the years passed.
I gripped the wheel with one hand and reached into the bag with the other. I retrieved the second McMuffin and took a bite.
* destroys computer *