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Tequila Sunset

by Takeo De Meter

Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five

They helped me set up „camp“ that is they helped me figure out the tent that Hideki and I had bought but that I had not tried yet and found out that it was a 2-man job to get it sorted out. Too large, too heavy, pure cotton / linen and must be a bitch to handle when wet. Also found out that I did not possess the most elementary camping gear like a chair or something or something to cook on like some form of a stove. They were so friendly as to share their evening meal with me and I contributed Coke®, rum and corned beef. The rum must have done it because an hour later or so we were the best of friends. They told me all about their trip and the back roads / tracks they had followed down to Belize and back to where they were now. Roads only got interesting in the very south they said. They also asked where I was going and I had to give them the honest answer that I really did not know, told them about Hideki and Rosita and added that I was just passing time and was just heading south. They suggested that I take a trip to Belize since I got the truck and the time for it.

The scorching noon sun woke me the next day by heating that damn tent up to sauna temperatures and I staggered out, to find that all the others had left already. Oh well. So I took my time to fold that tent up again and gather my stuff. Taped to my steering wheel I found a plastic envelope containing some maps and a friendly note that thanked me for the rum and wished me a good trip.

I briefly considered traveling down to Belize, but finally folded the maps back up and decided to go back where I came from. Damn shitty potholed gravel road whipped up as much dust as any sand track would do and it was gritting between my teeth by the time I got back on the highway. Land-Rover aerodynamics have the wonderful property of whirling dust even against the direction of movement: it all comes back to you, just like the blind man said, as he was spitting in the wind. I equally hate gravel and sand tracks. Never understood why anyone would travel them for „fun“ I traveled them for a living and that was enough. I was wondering if I was having fun now, since this was upposed to be a „vacation“ and all I had done was driving in the heat (some of it in the cold) and eating dust. Not really, so I produced a couple of choice swearwords to myself and sortof felt relieved when I turned right on the highway, back North.

I drove on all afternoon, stopped briefly for a drink underway and continued out of pure frustration and boredom. It was night when I reached the foothills of the Sierra Madre and got totally lost in the dark, climbing uphill on a steep track. Fuel was still plenty, temperature stayed normal and I sortof enjoyed listening to the low and steady growl of the engine, reflected by the rocks. As if the S II was talking to me, telling me its life in a lengthy monotone. It seemed as if I were listening to my own godforsaken soul as if the truck were my alter ego, droning on about the purposelessness of my mere existence. The rocks were dark and grey and cast black shadows alternating with bleak flares of silver moonshine splashed across the road. Reflections in a shiny windscreen, reflections of my soul, reflections of my mind. No door tops, Arm resting on a galvanized capping, feeling the coolness of the metal. Hand caressing door and feeling Birmabrite under the grey paint. Existential dilemmas. To drive or not to drive. The road is futile, it leads nowhere anyway. I am going nowhere, at a steady pace. I am moving, not traveling. Am I making way over the surface of the earth, or is this orb just moving under me, in opposite directions, so that I am standing still in reality ? Does this journey make sense ? Does life make sense ? Not really. Not to me, anyway. It never did and I doubt it will ever do. I work, I get paid, I travel, I work, I get paid, I get into the next truck, I travel again. I am not working now, I am merely moving. I have no companion. My truck, my tool is my companion. I have nothing to share but my loneliness or my emptyness. Try to share nothing. Try to share the true meaninglessness of life. The canyon walls are talking to me in the reflections of the exhaust of the 2 and a quarter litre. The gravel on the road lets the tires tell me that they are weary and its pebbles say that they will be lying there forever, under the tires and hooves and feet of meaningless and directionless travelers like me. The ancestors cut the roads through the mountains, knowing that it would help me getting lost in life. Madness.

That is when I saw her, the Lady Of The Mountain, in a hairpin bend, standing in the middle of the road. I hit the brakes and skidded sideways, grinding to a halt with one wheel over the edge, or almost. I stared at her, looking at her unearthly beauty, not hearing what she was saying. She was talking to me allright, but I could not hear her voice, all I heard was the wash of the water of the arroyo down the precipice nearby. But my soul listened better than my ears. I heard her say that my travel would not end here, that my travel was without end and that my way to go would be long until I would reach my destination in the Nowhere. Then she was gone. It all happened so fast that I only clearly remember hitting the yellow knob down so that my front axle pulled my out of the tight spot I had gotten myself in. A foot further would have meant a thousand feet deeper. I parked the truck along the next straight stretch of track and decided that I had either drunk or driven too much. The night was cold and I suddenly remembered that I had a warm sleeping bag in the back. Time to hit the aluminium. The future would tell.

THE END

Takeo