The apartment keys clattered on the realtor’s fake mahogany desk, reflecting back to double the number.

I drove west from NYC, away from the rising sun but caught in its brilliant April rays. As the suburbs moved behind I turned off the interstate, determined to experience every moment.

There was a hitchhiker in the first nameless town. He was thin with streaked gray hair and three days growth. He told me, clambering into the front seat of my Chevy, that he had just been released from prison. He wanted to get to Abilene, Texas.

So I  turned south for Abilene. It took a week of changing scenes. We did not rush and did not consult a map, just our friend the sun for a guide.

His guitar had two strings missing, but it did not stop him playing the blues as the car slunk along the highway. I sang with him and we filled the car with our sounds.

At Abilene I traded my Chevy for an old MG in shiny green. The engine purred, then roared, then purred again. I fell in love for the first time.

The salesman had a smile as slick as his greasy hair. He had two missing front teeth. I think that is how the lies got through.

The salesman also had a cousin and she needed to get to Kansas. He suggested she ride with me “as I was probably heading that way”.

The cousin had a daughter called Freda, but everyone called her Freckles for she had far more than her share, blending and invading each other.

The MG broke down outside Wichita. I used my remaining money to buy a big truck with red flames down the side.

Freckles rode in the back seat with her feet out one window and her hands out the other.

We stayed in lonely motels and watched the sun play light and shade and other games near and far.

I fell in love for the second and third time.

We never left Kansas.

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