CH. 41 «The Road Trip – Day 2»

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06-06-2309

The sun was up, high over the ridges that surrounded the little town of Saline. The pale rock face and sparse peppering of green scrub seemed more vibrant now that they were illuminated in the day. I squinted as I glanced up at the pale blue sky over the lip of the crater wall that our motel was nestled into. I released a sigh of appreciation for the nice morning on the moon.

“Shall we?” Brick insisted, rolling up from behind me with all his luggage. I was standing by the entrance with my guitar and backpack, smoking my breakfast.

“Sure, I was just taking a moment…You know…we really shouldn’t be alive right now,” I reminded him, “We should have died on that forsaken mountain.”

“I do,” he stopped to contemplate it all again, joining in staring over the dirt wall at the rising star. “I can’t believe we survived that drive.”

“What were we thinking,” I asked rhetorically, turning to him.

“We weren’t,” he sighed to himself and picked up his bags again. “Let’s go, we have to get a move on. There’s a lot of Moon to cover today.”

We situated our gear back in the crawler, had ourselves a hearty breakfast at a little mom-n-pop diner, literally named Mom’s, and were back on the road in no time. The white-stoned terrain streaming past the windows was beautiful, I had no idea how breathtaking the scenery on Luna could be, but maybe I was just appreciating it more since Brick and I just received new leases on life.

Last evening had been just plain hax. In a small town called Hatch we pulled off to the side of the road. While the sun was still in the sky, before the limb of the Earth began to chase it, we ate the Flowers of Taurus. Only half a bag each, but apparently even that was too much.

The next half hour was a worrisome blur. The whole time, my mind cranked away at full speed, shutting me off from control so it could run operations more efficiently before it would take an extended break from functioning properly. I can just remember blasting the speed-limit and groping the lane lines, my autopilot more concerned with making it to the Ingenii Canyon National Park before the awful crunchy things kicked in.

The tollbooth warden warped to hand back my change with his blistered tentacle. With the other hand, covered in pale spots, he handed me a receipt and a clear plate with the map of canyon uploaded. I smiled and thanked him as best as I could, pulled away and straight into the closest parking spot. I resisted the instinct to scream.

“I can’t drive.”

“I figured,” said Brick, sounding ultimately more composed than I’d ever be able to again. “Is it really hitting you yet?”

I simply stared back at him. There was something in my look –whether it was my quivering limbs, twitching face or my planet-wide eyes– that seemed to convey my utter uselessness behind these controls.

“Yeah, I’ll drive from here,” he said, unfastening his seatbelt and opening his hatch simultaneously.

When we reached the top though–oh, what a magnificent view it was. Who cares if all the way up the setting sun, sifting sideways through the spine-like evergreens, didn’t flash in our faces like a strobe. What does it matter if half the rock features were supported by what seemed to be discolored patches of plaster, begging for collapse. Gork all if there weren’t elk to throw themselves in front of oncoming traffic. Everything we crossed along the climb just made the end so much better.

The view from the top Mare Ingenii was to die for. The Large plateau that we stood on the edge of seemed to dissolve away from below our feet. Millennia of slow erosion from the small trickle of water the moon’s thin atmosphere could supply had worked wondrously upon the rock face. It had sculpted thousands of tall pillars, segmented with years of alternating sediment, which seemed to reach up to the cliff edge with a forest of fingers.

From where we stood at the next view point, the hoodoos were fewer and seemed squat. Maybe there was heavier water flow here and only the strongest of rock could survive entropy. The audience of tall, rounded headed children was now seated before us in geometric rows that defied natural logic. Positioned at the head of the class, one enormous pupil that rose above the rest. It’s long flat skull extended from the wide base of its feet, an island that stood resilient against a crevasse that appeared to once direct a waterfall at him. The arm of the Earth began to reach for this hammerhead from a distance, covering beneath it the expanse of uneven Lunar terrain that seemed to stretch on to infinity.

“You realize we still have to drive more after this,” a sudden shot of terror crept my spine. That shrub just talked to me. No, it’s just Brick.

“I’m only starting to now, painfully,” I admitted, turning to the bush.

Brick became less floral and met me with a look that expressed to me his inability to process the world around him properly enough to do so. “What should we do?”

“Well… we can wait it out for about an hour, see how were feeling then. Or we could just try to get as much ground beneath us as possible before that sun comes crashing down,” I reasoned to the best of my ability in my augmented state. We both glanced west to note the position of the sun, well bitten by the teeth of jagged pines all around us. A shudder passed through us, whether from worry or another cool gust blowing up the aisles of stone. “Lets just go now.”

“Agreed.”

Brick seemed to be doing fine behind the helm. He has some more mass than I do, so the same amount of drugs as were in my system weren’t coursing through him so violently. Driving directly into the setting sun was a little bit of a hazard, given our hypersensitivity to light, but we turned north eventually, and were back onto the main road in what seemed like no time at all. The sun soon set behind the high ridge now on our left, bathing the valley before us in purple shadow, it was quite a site at twilight.

“How are you feelin?” the song playing on the stereo seemed to ask me. I shook my head in disbelief, but when it asked me again, I realized it was just Brick speaking without taking his eyes off the road.

“Pretty good until you asked that,” my excitement subsided quickly though. “Yeah, I’m not feeling it so much anymore.”

“Do you think we should spark the last joint of the day now that its getting dark out here?” Brick asked, turning at me now to make sure I knew it was him speaking.

“Well, as long as the road from here on out remains as easy as it’s going now, we should be perfectly fine,” I assumed, though I wasn’t even sure how difficult it was for him to navigate this straight-a-way.

“Besides, it’s just a little weed. What harm could it possibly do?

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CH. 40 «The Road Trip – Day 1»

CH. 40 «The Road Trip – Day 1»

NEXT: CH. 42 «The Road Trip – Day 4»

NEXT: CH. 42 «The Road Trip – Day 4»

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