It's OH, I think, when the Nokia starts buzzing and spitting and hopping around on the passenger seat of the BMW. Why I didn't leave the fucking thing in CT, I dunno. Habit, I guess. Or just the inability to let go of something that seems so valuable. Drowning man clutching a bar of gold. That kind of thing.

Yeah, and it's buzzing and jumping and sparks are flying out of it because it gave up anything so normal as ringing weeks ago. Ringing is what happens when your friend is calling you up. When your cell becomes a conduit for, whatever, ringing, apparently, is just too fucking mundane.

But there's no way I'm picking up the damned thing when it's spitting sparks and jumping up and down like a mouse with an electrode up its ass, so there's no real simple solution until the Voice comes burbling out of the earpiece, dozens of times louder than the good folks at Nokia ever planned on a voice being, and fills up the car with subsonics and phlegm.

Davey? Davey, c'mon, man. This is silly. You're not running away from me. You're never running away from me. You're always running towards me, no matter what.

A voice like the biggest, baddest DJ that ever hit the airwaves. As deep as a mine shaft, bass to rupture your eardrums, smooth as fresh snow. The windows rattle, even in their snug frames. The surface of the rearview mirror is rippling like oil. The phone is bounding around on the passenger seat, bumping against the door, spinning cartwheels around its own center.

Davey, please, please, man. Just talk to me, okay? Let's just have a chat. Let's get this stuff out in the open.

He'll go on all damned day if I let him. He's pausing for breath, inhaling like a GE turbine warming up on the wing of a 747. The phone's bouncing up and down and up and down and I reach out and snag it in the middle of what's looking like a midair figure-8 and punch the END button and the Voice's inhale cuts off in mid-whistle. The plastic case is warm and greasy in my fist, like it always is after I get a call from him. Or Him, I suppose I should say.

I drop it and wipe my hand on my thigh and try to focus on the road in front of me. It's an interstate, I can tell you that much, and I seem to be headed for Colombus, but beyond that I'm lost. South, though, heading south. You can't get to Colombus from CT without going south, unless I somehow managed a circuit through KY without any solid memory.

Why the hell would I be going south?

Hell, that's right. That's where I'm heading. TO GET TO HEAVEN, GET A RUNNING START IN HELL. And the only Hell, friends and neighbors, that I know of within driving distance, is a big ol' one star hotel just over the border from OK.

The stars at night,
are big and bright,
deep in the heart...

Fucking hell. And in a BMW no less. I'll probably be raped, gutted, castrated, lynched and raped again within a mile of the border.

I drop the hammer and watch the BMW's speedometer climb into the triple digits. What the hell. Might as well get it over with.

Had I met him yet, the Sheik would've just creamed himself over my bravado.


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