In the short allegory "Destination Unknown" settings (as well as other inanimate objects) are characters unto themselves, revealing the interior journey of the main character whose ride on the southbound Illusion Express leaves much to the imagination.
by Arabella Grayson
Life in Lie was too hard to maintain, so me and Gig chucked all our stuff, and hitched a ride at New Hope with a couple headed to Bitter Springs. The four of us fleein' in their blue Dodge, when I'd finally had it with the bickerin'. Theirs and ours. Told the driver to pull over and let me OUT. Slammed the brakes. Put both our butts out on Interstate One, within walkin' distance of No Place.
We parted at Omission. Left Gig at the off-ramp and walked the rest of the way to Some Place by my lone self.
Boarded the first southbound Illusion Express out of Pickaway. Destination unknown.
Chugged through mountainous terrain: Wilderness. Twin Falls. Cutter. Worthington. Slippery Rock. We made better time at Kidwell. Was feelin' better too.
Breezed right pass Glad Valley. Happy. Sugar Hill. Dozed and daydreamed until this odd figure got on at Half-Truth, and started summin' me up.
Hock and I became fast friends. It's like that sometimes, especially when you're takin' a ride. Talked through Secret. Dined in Denial. Drank ourselves numb passin' through Paranoia. And arrived on the outskirts of Deluded just before midnight, where we both passed out.
Woke up the next mornin', flyin' through Fib. That's when I was asked if I knew Money. That always happens to me; folks assumin' I'm cool with Money. Everybody who's anybody suppose to know Money, right? I didn't really know Money. Not like Hock meant. I knew of Money, which is much different than knowin' Money. We'd met briefly, once, a long time ago, in Sin City. Dinner and a show at the Casino with Black Jack. Me, in tow. But that don't hardly count, does it? I know Money won't recall ever meetin' me, since everybody who's tryin' to be somebody hangs out in Sin City, right? All of them there for the same thing – tryin' to get some of what Money got.
Hock told me all confidential like, that he's related to Money. I should of asked how then. Didn't want to pry; make him think I was bein' nosey or somethin'. I just stared, noddin' at all the right places to let Hock know I was listenin' hard. I wasn't even pretendin', like I used to with Gig. Not like I had reason to. That was my old life. I'd put Lie behind me, when I left Gig standin' on that off-ramp and boarded the southbound Illusion. In fact, I was absorbin' every word, just in case I bumped into Money again, like I was expectin' to.
I'd never known anybody who was real tight with Money. Not all intimate like Hock made out to be; tellin' me all kind of stuff about how Money flowed, movin' around the world, reekin' havoc by not showin' up when folks expect. I was impressed. You would have been too. I was keepin' company with a for real M-O-N-E-Y pro. Hock talkin' like he was in the mix; hangin' with Oprah and that 50 Cent fella, right there along side Money.
You know how it is when you grow up watchin' Money from the time you're a little kid? Emulatin' Money's moves, fakin' it with the Knock-Offs. Everybody's dreamin' and schemin' about ways to get next to Money. If they say they not, they LY-IN'. Like most of the folks I grew up with, we dreamed of bein' Money. And if we couldn't be Money, then we'd marry Money. Or snuggle up as close as we could with those closest to the Money Makers.
Hock's dividend rose after he dropped his Cash pedigree on me.
We were barrelin' toward Billings, by way of Story. The Express picked up speed. So did we.
Pineville. Kissimmee. Union. Rock Mountain. Polk. Bangs. Climax. Before I realized it, we were in Eden; stopped there for a layover.
The Illusion switched tracks at Junction City.
Hit Empire at noon. I was wantin' to get off in Prosper or New Castle, even Oil City sounded promisin'. Hock wanted to stay on; see where we'd wind up. We passed through Gold Bar. Treasure Island. Silver City. Bucks. Price. And, Winner.
Took the southbound Express all the way to its last stop – Lotto.
Set up house there.
Married Hock before I really knew him. That was 13 months ago. Hasn't introduced me to Money yet. Instead, we been hangin' out with another one of his relations – Debt. Supposed to be one of Money's first cousins. I wouldn’t bet on it. They don't look nothin' alike. But Hock and Debt real tight. They definitely kin.
Next year, Hock, Debt, Cash Advance and me all supposed to go on vacation together. They want to go to Bankruptcy. I'm not too keen. Haven't heard one thing good about that place. Me – I'm savin' up for a visit with Money. By my latest calculation, we'll surely meet in Time. Now, that's someplace I can't seem to get enough of.
* First appeared in the summer/spring 2011 issue of Konch.