It’s 6:30 in the morning, but the darkness is absolutely smothering.  Low clouds and mist seal off everything except some dampened neon just outside the parking lot.  The contrast between the bright light in the motel lobby and the gloom outside makes it difficult to see what’s outside let alone focus.  But the longer he stood there gradually his eyes fought through the reflection on the sliding glass doors, through the dark and damp outside and came to rest on battered, black minivan parked under the portico.  That must be me he thought.  He stepped forward, sliding glass doors parting ahead of him, as he silently slipped away from the comfortable and predictable, from everything he’d known.

With the van, now directly in front of him it was easy to make out the name on the door, Destiny Transportation.  Jesus, he thought, could that be any more cryptic?  Then out of the mist around the back of the van, stepped the driver,  shrouded in mist, dressed darkly, with cap pulled low.  The driver slid the door open, barely revealing the bench seat in the tomblike darkness inside.  Our fretful passenger struggled across the seat dragging his duffel behind as the door slammed so quickly the duffel smacked his right hip.

The almost overwhelming level of auto deodorizer thinly masked the pervasive underlayer of body odor, but the windows were non-functional.  All he could think was, I’m trapped in here.  That feeling and the dark, the damp, the hideous, suffocating, stinking air all combined to make him feel uncomfortably claustrophobic, near panic.  There came only brief relief as a pulse of outside air slipped in with the driver.  He was feeling small, almost invisible in the darkness, when the driver’s voice tore him from his thoughts.  “Where…hack, hack, hack, cough, cough… where…(then a long wheezy inhale, and finally) …you from?”  Smoke much, he thought?  Jesus, clear your throat, man and give ’em up.  “Where am I from… why aren’t you asking where am I going?”

Ok, multiple choice question.  Was the squeamish passenger in this little scene:
a.  A character in a Stephen King novel?
b.  President Obama, on the way to the debate Wednesday night?
c.  Your idiotic author heading to his ozone session in the meat locker?
d.  All of the above?

Certainly a case can be made for answering “All of the above,” but in fact the answer is “c.”  Yeah, you bet I was worried.  And give me a break, a cab with destiny on the door and a driver who doesn’t care where I’m going?  Sheesh! 

More in another installment, but if you’re not reading this on the website, but in an email, please go to to visit the site and check out the new GuineaPig-O-Meter.  Thanks for reading.


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