Sketch Fragment 1

Step outside into the crisp bright morning with a case of Coors and a garden hose. 

"No thanks, I would not like to make a donation."  Kiddy crooks with their scam candy bars.

Squinting into the sand-laden gusts of a swirling Santa Ana, I consider that I won't technically be watering the abundant wildflowers in neon-bloom later today, but I might be soon urinating on them lots of clear beer piss.  Wonder if wildflowers, out in the jeep track Mojave middle of nowhere, can get drunk off a case of second-hand Coors?

Approach a woman pushing a double-wide baby stroller on the way to my car.  Fuck.  Her big eyes bloodshot, the whites popping out from the crusted filth of her face.  Another homeless head case.  How about trying Goodwill, Lady, it's called the Salvation Army, isn't it?  Her smile's forlorn; afro unkempt, even with a comb stuck in it (and who knows what else she's got stashed in that hedge).  She's got a khaki coat on, denim shorts and pink flip-flops like it's the seaside boardwalk of Laguna Beach in July, stead of the Hesperia boondocks of March.

"Got any spare change?"

"Your lucky day," I say, settin down my case of Coors and garden hose.  I pull out my wad from my pocket, and remove two twenties.  Hand em to her.  "Here."

She takes em without a word and looks me in the eyes, not surprised but now seeming sort of scared.  Like, am I for real?  What's the deal, Man?  This a con; some kind of pawn?  Do I have to unbutton your pants and blow you now?  Naw, Skank, none of the above.

"Have a nice day," I say, walking away.  She watches me go.  I feel like skipping -- at least the remaining short distance to my car -- for the first time in years.  Life's pretty good when you can give your money away on a whim.

Return to the Motel 6.  Motel Sucks, I smirk to myself.  I pack up my clothes.  Fill a Hefty Duty trash bag full.  Or is it a Jiffy trash bag?  I don't know.  Stupid to have brought so much stuff I won't be needing no more.  Open the backseat of my car, a Corolla missing two hubcaps, one missing on each side, and set the poofy trash bag next to the Coors.  Damn this car stinks!  Fuck.  Walk over to the office and check out of my room.  Same lady behind the counter from when I'd shown up two days before.

"Off to Vegas?"

"Yep.  Ready to make some big bucks."

"Your friend show up?"

"My friend?" Almost forgot.  "Oh yeah.  That guy.  No.  Fucker flaked on me.  Guess I'll be hitting the Strip alone.  Wanna come?"  I knew no chance in hell she'd say yes. 

She laughed and wished me luck.  "Drive careful now." Handed my receipt to me and smiled.

"You too!"  Felt lame saying so, since she wasn't headed to Vegas or any destination in sight requiring her to drive careful now, as far as I could tell, stuck as she was behind the cash register with her dinky black-and-white and her Siamese cat asleep on a stool. 

At the I-15 and the I-40 interchange, on the outskirts of bee-yute-iful Barstow, I got off the 15 and took the 40 east, having never intended to visit Vegas or make some big bucks, and certainly not with some flake for a friend.  Don't know why I told the Motel 6 lady what I told her, but I do know why I lied.