"I'm not going to have this argument with a damn bird!" I shout at the beast. "And certainly not a crow for that matter…"
It caws at me again, spreading its wings like a demon making to crawl out of the sky and devour me.
I spin gracelessly around; Matt is standing about ten feet away with an armful of gas station food pulled tight to his chest. The sun is hitting him strangely and for a second he looks like a snake halfway between swallowing the moon.
"What?" I yell back, rubbing my eyes against the cruel desert sun.
"Car, let's fucking go." He even has the audacity to point to the dark green Toyota, as though I had forgotten where I had parked the damn thing.
I turn back around to give the crow one last dirty look before stumbling over my shadow to the car. The keys are still gripped tightly in my right hand. After losing them three rest stops ago I made a point of keeping them in there at all times. I always hold them too tightly though, and they leave tiny cuts on my palms.
Matt has curled himself as deeply as he can into the front seat, feet pulled up and knees under his chin. Cradled in his lap is our melon, the melon is our baby, and we love our precious baby for we are on one never-ending acid trip and this melon is our love-child. Matt found him rejected on the side of the road; we took him in, gave him shelter, and quickly came to love him as our own.
Matt lets out a few strangled coughs before digging his filthy fingers into the bag of gas station food. The only things we've eaten in the last seven hours are radio waves and each other, and neither gave us much sustenance.
I take one last whiff of the gas stations beautiful smell before taking off back down the empty road.
"Why were you shouting at that bird?" Matt asks around his cheese sandwich.
"No reason…" I whisper.
"It said someone was going to die." I confess. I shake the idea from my head; it was far too early for thoughts like that. "Not that it matters. I hate birds."
Matt scrunches his face up; licking the back of his hand he turns his attention back to his sandwich.
The road ahead of me looks to be plagued with deathly twists and sharp turns, but once I get close it straightens out as though being controlled by some omnipotent god. It would be maddening if it weren't so damn entrancing.
I bend my bare toes over the gas pedal just to make sure it's still there before comfortably hitting 100-mph.
I don't really know what drug (or drugs) I am currently on. I consider asking Matt but he seems busy throwing the crusts of his sandwich out the window. The only real handle I have about the drug is that a few hours ago I was convinced that I was about half a mile away from driving off the edge of the earth. In fact that, feeling is still lingering somewhere in the back of my throat, giving off the taste of copper.
Matt tosses the sandwich wrapper onto the floor in front of him. I'm almost sure that under all the trash and crap that has been accumulating in the car is my one pair of shoes; I haven't seen them in days. I have not missed them. I've always hated wearing shoes when I'm high; something about not feeling the ground unnerves me.
The back seat is mostly filled with clothes, both those that are originally ours and the ones we stole from laundry mats when we found that it was a hell of a lot easier to take other people's clean clothes then to clean our own. None of the clothes that Matt and I are wearing are ours, and they don't fit us, but they are clean.
We have the road map scotch-taped to the dashboard. After two weeks it hardly resembles a map anymore. What once used to be one highlighted road had turned into an illumined yellow tree cascading in and out of itself five times over. The crooked yellow branches have even started to nip at the Mexican boarder before coming to an abrupt curl and retracting. The edges and unmarked rivers are covered in drug-infested ramblings and notes.
"to the moon bitches, to the purple colored Athens where the Gods talk in tongues"
"in this mad dream of forever we came across Dante, and found him to be a very terrible man"
"don't let the fear get a hold of you. in a world full of mercury you can't be too sure who's on your side and who isn't."
I push the pedal down a little further; I'm at 110 and climbing. A familiar tingling runs along my spine forcing my lip between my teeth. Out of all the drugs we've ingested horizontal speed is my favorite, possibly my worst vice, considering.
As far as we know we have ten tickets, although between the two of us we can only remember getting seven of them. Most of them were for speeding, and one for driving too slowly. We stared curiously at that one for the better part of an hour. I'm winning, seven of the tickets are in my name and three are in his.
Matt found the other three of them buried in the back seat while looking for the water pipe. However, at this point we can't really be sure if that's all of them. Matt stopped looking for more before he hit the bottom of the pile. Something frightened him and he ran from the back into my arms shouting, "It's fucking alive Lil, alive!"
After three more hours of driving we pull over to the side of the road so we can take a few more hits. Matt worries about the water pipe the most. We bought a new one for the trip and it has a nasty habit of disappearing.
He reaches further down through the piles, submerging his body into the sea of clothes and chaos. I stand to the side, lest he should need rescuing from an avalanche. It's been fifteen minutes, but I don't mind; the sky is an absolutely beautiful color of blue and keeps me amused.
"Why is it always gone?" The Hawaiian shirt wrapped around his head muffles his voice; I felt he needed some color.
"Because we suck at owning things." I run my fingers along his pale naked back. My bare feet play with the hot pieces of upturned gravel. The road has tattooed them black.
I cradle the melon in my arms, careful not to drop him on the unforgiving ground that would surely shatter him.
Matt pulls his head out of the back seat too fast and it startles me.
He cackles almost madly against the heat, pale fingers wrapped around the tar stained glass pipe. We have not bathed in days and streaks of dirt and filth run up and down his body like flags; he wears them as though they were marks of some prideful act.
We lay our precious baby down in his bed made of socks.
The car fills with smoke, the last of a dying breed. On the side of the dessert road he takes me under his tongue. And we burrow into the back seat, into all the things we call our own backs bending and tongue's intertwining.
I scratch and lick at the delicious sticky substance that oozes from the cracks.
"I don't feel human next to you." I murmur around my cigarette to Matt's sleeping form. Leaning heavily against the car I watch the ripples of heat play off the dying land. "You take away whatever it is that makes me human."
Matt shifts, hiding his eyes from the sun, slipping slightly deeper into the pile. If I leave him there he will eventually disappear completely, just like everything else.
I toss my cigarette onto the road. I bit through the filter. What a waste.
The road bends strangely in front of me and I swerve to the right. Matt is knocked to the side and his head hits the window with a satisfying thud. Our baby rolls off his lap and onto the floor of the car, startled but unharmed.
"Sorry," I manage to get out around my clamoring thoughts.
Matt moans quietly, cradling the side of his head in his palms.
"Is there blood?" The guilt makes my eyes water. Or was that something else?
"No. Shut up." He reaches down for our baby, running his hands all over it, making sure nothing is broken.
I close my mouth and seal it off with my tongue and teeth.
I scratch my inner thigh with the back of my elbow. I'm too scared to take my hands off the wheel after what happened last time…
Matt lays his head down on the seat, holding our baby to his soft stomach, his other hand resting on my hip.
I watch his fingers twitch against my flesh.
Even with the sun falling the air does not get cooler. The heat from the window licks at my face like hellfire. I cough against the passing winds under my nose as dust is suddenly kicked into our car by some unknown foot.
There is a voice in the corner of my brain. Try as I might I cannot grasp it, and it slowly fades.
A white mist snakes into my vision, stealing my reality. Suddenly, I am blinded.
When the car is thrown to the side by no fault of mine I release the wheel and shout out.
"Something is in me!"
The sound I make is not a laugh; it's a horrible disease-ridden cackle that passes my lips. It's a terrible sound, one of the worst ones I have ever made. It will surely haunt me.
An unreality washes over; every part of my flesh can feel it. The cold wind past my ankles, the harsh sounds of bone hitting bone. A chain around my throat pulls me back, dragging me against my will into a dark nothingness of which there is no escape.
We throw out all the clothes that are not ours, but are covered in our once precious baby.
"Is it real?" Matt wants to touch it, but they told us not to touch it.
"Yes, yes it is." I want to touch it.
"Why can't we touch it again?" Matt has both his hands wrapped in mine. So as to not touch other things, we touch each other.
"Because it's behind the wall, we can't pass the wall."
The giant cookie tantalizes us.
"… Damn it."
By far the most brilliant roadside attraction we've come across.
Matt's nails dig into my hand, but I don't mind. The pain is a nice change of pace, something to remind me I'm still human.
"Baby would have loved this one." He gnaws down on my exposed neck, leaving tiny teeth marks. I detach my hands from his and lean forward.
My shadow and Matt watch curiously from around my shoulder as I pull a small handful of seeds out of my bra. I dig a shallow hole in the dirt with the heel of my foot and drop one of the tiny seeds in. I place the rest of the seeds back into my bra, letting them suckle from my warmth and life.
"…bird was right." Matt whispers as though telling me a secret.
I look angrily up at the sky as a flock of crows pass over the falling sun.
"I fucking hate birds."