Thursday, September 25th, 2008
I left Los Angeles early Tuesday morning with my pal Earl Roesel. It was still dark and the city was only beginning to roll over as we drove off and out of it. Earl is a vampire from Kentucky. He's escaped "back there" to come "out here" to pursue his dream(s) which transcend(s) being kicked around by red-necked relatives and having a Kentucky address. He's a fascinating person not at all what he seems, whatever that is.
I drove out into the desert just as the sun overflowed canyons, spilling from between hills. The orange light crystallized the sand-painting then. Shadows stretched toward us from the bases of cacti, stone, tumbleweeds. I was uncharacteristically silent, letting Earl take it all in for the first time. I peeked over at him...
He was making the kind of face one does when a fellow passenger leaves a vapor trail in an elevator. I rolled down the window for added impact, letting crisp desert air fill the entire Toyota cabin. Earl burrowed deeper into his seat. "What?" I asked. Earl explained;
"Yuck! It's just dirty mounds of dirt, glass and trash. And it...God, it stinks! It smells like...like burnt chocolate but with every bit of moisture sucked out. Burnt chocolate powdered and spread all over the place. Barren, brown ugly hills with sprigs of parsley sprouting up everywhere. God! And just think of the scorpions and other poisonous bugs hiding under every rock. And look at all the rocks! Roll up the windows, please! There are probably hermit dwarves living between those smelly hills. Coming down occasionally to kidnap tourists from truck stops. Stealing their cell phones and sending out pornographic text messages. Jesus! Roll up the window. You're crazy!"