I sit in one of the greasy truck stops on Interstate 5, near Red Bluff, dizzy and scared.
Decades of hope seem suddenly to turn to bullshit.
Dread and rage swirl around the country, but the lunch counter is quiet with snoozing baseball caps tipping into coffee cups.
Fox is on the TV, yet no one needs to watch the news.
They already know the news.
Something bubbles in the kitchen, like death.
Soon we will have to eat those French fries.
On the frozen plains, in howling snow, Indians come to stop the Black Snake.
They stand to block the way, whether the Iron Horse or the Black Snake, waiting as the new president takes his seat.
We all wait.
Perhaps the ghosts will return and not the cavalry.
Tonight the deeper darkness comes, darker than before.
Spies denounce the spying of other spies.
The Kremlin carries the paralyzing kryptonite, as hulking cyber armies gather in the night.
Menacing men rip scarves from the heads of women.
Kids scrawl ugly slogans on school walls.
Burning crosses dance in the eyes of White Nationalists like the sugarplum fairies of the shopping season.
And we wait.
Cops who are honest worry what they may be called to do.
And those who are not touch their holsters, assured that they may impose order and nature’s law at will, and they wait to pursue someone’s happiness because they fear for their lives.
Farm workers, hunching over the entire Sacramento Valley, tear plants up by the roots, and fear for their lives.
Violence has found its season.
Tired truckers stretch out in the rear of their cabs, about a dozen rigs lined up in the dark along the shoulder of the freeway, and they get some shuteye.
I rearrange the eggs and bacon on my plate and wonder what those men think.
Perhaps they believe that everything will be great again when they open their eyes and find themselves back on the road.
They were given a promise.
Perhaps they will really pay off all their credit cards because they work hard and they’re white.
We wait for robot drivers to fly up and down the Central Valley, picking up apricots and dropping off tractor parts, with no need to shit at the truck stops, no need to sip the chicken noodle soup.
And the day the robots begin to drive, the dreaming truckers will sleep in the back seat of their old Chevrolets, their steering wheels taken from their hands, waiting for the promise.
We wait for everything and for nothing.
There is no singularity, no instant wide horizons, no ironic lights, but a grim stupor, as the tycoon casts a long shadow from his golden tower, lumbers to the White House to take possession of one more property, while delirious settlers really do slouch towards Bethlehem.
The Great Man holds court.
His loyal children seek his hand, the great and the rich, the powerful and the ridiculous float up the elevator shaft to meet the wizard king. Generals, CEOS, moral monsters, angry souls, fools of exceptional quality, celebrities, they all rise up to the tower, taken to the penthouse to bend before the greater fool.
There is a pervasive sense of dread before the beast takes the oath, before the Republic becomes a wholly owned subsidiary.
Ordinary life goes on, and we wonder.
We must love one another and die.
Our danger is great, and we must love one another or die.
Is it love and die?
Or is it love or die?
Do we have a choice?
What’s on TV?