From the top of the hill over the valley it was a real dream. I remembered being here even though I said I hadn’t. Was that true? What was it that reminded me of this? No need to even ask the question because it was the simplest of desires that connected me to that moment before. I wanted a cigarette. I had promised myself to not have any more on that journey. But it was beautiful and the feeling was mutual. I had to have one. I had had to have one. The decision was one to be made on the way down the hill towards the only gas station for miles. It had been at dusk. It was dusk now too. Was it even open? If it wasn’t I’d make do. I’d justify this experience either way. The gas station had been open. I’m not sure I’d have remembered otherwise. The drive then had no bearing because I succeeded. The lights were now on at the pumps, but off inside. So I had to think harder.

This time I made my way to the dying center of town. At least that’s the way that it appeared to a pair of eyes that frightenly couldn’t accept the dark. Is there a place for me here? The only thing to do is to convince myself, and whoever might still be alive in this town, that I’m OK. I saw a liquor store. Whoever is in there must still be alive. I only wished I had worn a pair of cowboy boots and that the door had been a swinging one. I would’ve moseyed on through and asked for a whiskey quite easily. Oh, and a pack of cigarettes. Wait, when did they start making packs of cigarettes?

Dave, the “barkeep” seemed to have an accent of some sort that was lost in time. He stood behind the counter simply helping, but I had to make him see me as a person at that moment. Otherwise I would drive off into the darkness with no one around other than someone maybe chasing me. He, possibly with perspicacity, asked me if I was from here. I answered excitedly, “Not yet. But I’ve been looking around today.” Dave then bagged my liquor store products and said, “Oh, great!” I was unsure if the exclamation point was actually there, so I asked, “are you really happy, or am I just another implant?” To which Dave assured me that it was great that I was coming to town. Good ol’ Dave. We proceeded to exchange greetings, somewhere in between those of strangers and that of locals. I moseyed on out of there.

Back up to the top of the hill, it’s where I’m to stay. The recreation, the children jumping off of platforms on to big cushy things, an older child swinging up and down on a bungee-like cord having fun, even older children taking the lift further up to roll down the hill. I overheard adults talking about the mistakes they made at the top, and I want to make them myself. Whatever the cost. It’s the wild new west. Not so new really, but it feels new to me right now.


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