19. The Produce Sections of America


A crudely drawn map of the western US with a trail of crossed-off cities, drawn inside the cover of a book by Faust, which sits on the seat of a car.

Photos credit Wikipedia:Foto H.-P.Haack and Unsplash.com

Every time the phone rings it’s time to pack up and go to a new city. Everything I own goes into a duffel bag; a couple of changes of clothes, a can opener, some matches, a flashlight and batteries, and the copy of Faust that I’m perpetually almost finished reading. Then it’s time to hit the road for anywhere that the phone isn’t ringing.

There is no noise as I wander the streets of downtown somewhere. When the gas tank is getting low I drive to a dealership and find a new set of keys to a Mazda or a minivan or something that gets good mileage before it’s time to move on to the next city.

For my twenty-sixth birthday I wished for more time to read and fourteen days later I awoke to find I was the only person left. It wasn’t that everyone was dead or at least the bodies weren’t lying around but rather everything was still and quiet and they were all gone.

Months later my greatest fear is the car breaking down between cities or possibly finding out where everyone went.

Although the produce sections of America are beginning to rot away there is still plenty to eat because I am the only one eating except for the animals who slowly are taking back their ancestral lands but they don’t care for the foodstuffs of grocers although once a large cat stalked me through a canned goods aisle In Des Moines two weeks before the power went out there for good and I drove a shiny Harley Davidson to wherever is east of there, where it will be quiet for a few days until once again my reading time is interrupted by the nearby ringing of a phone.