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  • Out there in that freeway of the mind’s eye, a man hits the accelerator straight into the face of the setting sun. The cigarette flies from his mouth as he laughs hysterically; wind in his hair, eyes on the road. He laughs knowing this thrill of escape is pointless; by the time the sun rises again he will be running back to his prison cave of Podunk Americana to flee from hangovers, bullet casings and social diseases. But for now, in this moment, he puts all of his chips on the table, his heart on his sleeve, and caution to the wind. The radio is drowned out by the roar of the engine, growing louder as his foot slams down on the pedal. The hot, summer winds lick his face with razor blade precision. Out here, he doesn’t give a shit about highway patrols or local wildlife dashing across the highways. All that matters is the view of his hometown, shrinking steadfast in the reflection of his rear view mirror.

    He yells obscenities with reckless abandon. His mind is filled with fantasies of exotic flesh and imported liquors. Cruise control is set a dozen miles over the speed limit as he leans back, and takes in the view of the encroaching cityscape rising from the horizons — like tiny specs of white that slowly transpose themselves as monolithic fingers reaching out to the stars. Behind the wall of skyline and neon waits his favorite sins and costly vices. Behind him is any sense of morals or obligation. All he has is an address he’s never been to, and a face without a name. He grips the wheel, presses harder on the pedal, and takes the ride.

    He’s made it a policy to always bug out by dawn. He refuses to ruin the splendor of his nights by letting the sunlight reveal the ugly face of the city to him. He wants to cherish the memories of the mask it wore under the cover of bar light and shadow. The lovers he finds are never the ones he wakes up to, so it’s just as well to slip out from under the sheets and escape to the car with his delusions intact. He tries not to think about the let down he’s going to have when he wakes up tomorrow, back in his reality of solitude and routine. He blocks out feelings of dread, loathing and loneliness by hanging on to the drunken, hazy reflection of the ecstatic moments he had this night.

    Hitting the road, he takes the long drive at a slower pace than he did coming into this oasis of decadence. The radio drowns out the motor but not his thoughts. The cigarette burns down to the filter between his fingers as he palms the steering wheel. He drifts over the yellow lines haphazardly; and if he had the room for it he would put his legs up on the dash and just recline the rest of the way. He turns up the radio, and foolishly sings along with the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor (in a way only John McCrea can croon it):

    “I Will Survive.”
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