062. Hitching a Ride with Kerouac. Michael Slagle

Last night I dreamed I hitched a ride with Jack Kerouac, stuck my thumb skyward on old U.S. 6 heading west when the old beat angels themselves, Jack and Neal, show up Benzedrine dialoguing and pounding bop rhythms on the vinyl dashboard to a blaring radio and Neal slams on the brakes of the rust colored ’49 Hudson and whoops out Jack’s open window “yeah, yeah, yeah, hop in, man.” We race through the rural midnight fishing the static for the next in-range station and slugging down cheap red wine from a jug passed back and forth until the lights of Cleveland detonate the darkness then cast us again into the flat shadowed fast lane. I’m startled awake in a window booth of an all-night trucker’s diner which is – per the map on the placemat beneath my cold coffee and un-eaten fried eggs – just on the Indiana side of the Ohio border.  My head pounds to the atonal cacophony of clanging pots and utensils of the night cook’s breakfast prep.  He acknowledges my stirring with an unsympathetic nod. My 10-year-old Honda Civic glares at me from the empty parking lot. So much for the romance of all-night drives, old man.

2 thoughts on “062. Hitching a Ride with Kerouac. Michael Slagle

  1. Skilled compression is this piece.The abruptness of transition from “flat shadowed fast lane” to “I’m startled awake” captures the disorientation that comes with cross country road trips.


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