Jesus fell over again. He didn't he seem to like the rhythm that the blistered highway asphalt was keeping on the tires of the Chevy. For all the space the dashboard offered (one of the pluses of a 1958 Chevy Bel Air) he had to pitch forward and roll right off the faded blue vinyl landscape with the slow, deliberate grace of a ballet dancer on Quaaludes.
Red let out a grunt that was reserved for those special moments when
one's deity (or son of a deity) disappears from sight, whether it's to
unlock the pearly gates or simply roll under a baby blue bucket seat. She leaned against the massive chrome steering wheel and jammed her hand into the depths below, spidery fingers carefully crawling amid years of crumpled cigarette butts, dented Evian bottles, and a few dog-eared Tarot cards (mysteriously stained in the morning orange of Hi-C soda, a favorite of Reds).
After finding the displaced deity far behind the heel of her sea foam
green Converse, Red began the contortionist moves needed to excavate her hand. With it free, she used the hand to brush back a few wisps of gold hair surrounding her face, errant rays of Sun. The motion revealed a freckled neck that would give a vampire wet dreams.
Red inspected the statue, noticing the hurried seam along each side, wondering just how much the Taiwanese sculptor was paid to make the three inch variant of Christ. She wondered if there was a chess set made up of religious figures. Red filed that one away, it could be useful later. She wondered who would sculpt her figure.
As a quick fix she pulled the spicy wad of Big Red gum from her mouth (like she'd chew anything else?) . She molded it firmly to Jesus' sole and with a wet slap affixed him right back onto the dash. His poorly painted robe glistened the color of a wet walnut, the Smurf-sized icon parked there under the rear view mirror. The gum wasn't the most sanctimonious solution, but it would do for now until she got some glue.
"Stay." Red spoke aloud, as if she could override the gentle pull of gravity with a single word. Well, maybe not yet.
She wondered what type of gum old J.C. would chew if he were around
nowadays. Juicy Fruit is out (no thanks to that ditz Eve), and he probably wouldn't be too keen on Spearmint either. Bazooka? Bubble Yum, perhaps?
Just the thought of that sweet Bubble Yum smell took Red back via
express train to her childhood. For some reason it reminded her of a
spin-the-bottle game she played once in grade school. It was a select group of participants, all tucked away in the dark confines of her basement.
The bottle was, in fact, a rusted iron arrow from an old weather vane. Red remembered how when it was her turn to spin, the arrow kept landing on Pete (who turned out was fixing the spin by shifting a large magnet around in his pocket). That sandy mop-headed boy grew up to become Dr. Peter Angstrom, whose office at Stanford was decorated with more certificates of merit than a Scout troop of meth addicts.
Dr. Angstrom was one of the world's foremost scientists working with
linear acceleration, which oddly enough still included him playing with
magnets. Big magnets. Peter's research involved trying to determine just what exactly happened at the moment of the Big Bang.
Red wasn't interested in how it all started, that white-hot salsa dance of electrons and neutrons ripping across the black velvet sheet of space. She only wants to know how the story ends.
Her fingers began to drum to the road's rhythm. The radio wasn't playing nice in this heat. The only station that it seemed to pluck from the dry, bright air was faint mariachi music drowned in a symphony of crackling Jiffy-Pop static.
Maybe she'd get another session with the Big Guy again tonight, listen to him piss and moan about the little details. She'd have to find a motel with a kidney-shaped pool and free HBO. (Somehow that combination improved reception. She wondered if it was because the ear and kidney are similar in shape. That, or God just preferred HBO.)
Red drove on, heading toward some spot on the horizon where the cracked
earth, deep sky, and hot Arizona asphalt met. She was aiming at that damn spot, and was going to drive her '58 Chevy right through the middle of it, come hell or Hi-C.
And if she was lucky, somewhere along the way, find some better glue.