James Moats - 03/02/2002

if there were more seconds in the day, how many more regrets could we pack in? if it weren?t for my curiosity, no one would be interesting at all.

yeah, sure, and don?t forget the girl this time, the voice on the cell phone said.

ah, the girl. funny. that would be luna. stupid name. luna was about five feet tall, swearing like a river boat captain (which to you and me is the same as any other sailor, only the river boat captains incorporate more regional slang. we'll cover that part later.) and has no thumbs. send her hitchhiking, i thought... boy.

we've got to go, i say.

where? it?s two in the afternoon. this is my favorite time of the day for looking at things.

you can watch them go by through the window of the car. get your hat. you don?t want to burn out there.

my chevy. it?s parked in the pea gravel lot outside this empty trailer. an eighties model, but everyone knows chevy hasn?t built a good car since the fifties. it seems like i am driving a different piece of shit every five days. it also seems like the time that is spent missing someone could be much better spent whittling. with a dull knife. you spend enough time alone you can convince yourself of anything. the time you spend trying to deny the obvious could, well?

i will have to do the whittling for both of us on this little adventure, luna being without thumbs and all.

there was a guy in my school. more like a kid. he had big, white X shaped scars on the outside of each thumb, on the other side from where they attach to the hand. he was born with two thumbs on each hand. when i met luna, i thought

what a waste. they probably threw his extras out.

the story is not about thumbs. it?s hard not to fixate. i shouldn?t stare. i shouldn?t ask. she wouldn?t tell me even if i did. i could make her talk.


you can?t make a woman do shit. try long and hard enough and you?ll be telling a head shrinker about it, starting at the end and working your way back.

she tells me that she?s hungry and i am being a bad host. man? some people have the strangest outlook on life. whew. i don?t know where i found this girl. i don?t know much of anything anymore. i have been so distracted lately. too many things that i have been forcing back, pushing with all my might?


fingers in my ear. how does a guy like me wind up with a girl like luna sitting next to me, coming on to me like she always does. i know guys that would kill (and others who actually have) for a girl like her. i can?t do it. it?s the thumbs, or lack of. or maybe the fact that i don?t want to die just yet and the money isn?t bad? this is the closest thing i have had to a job since i got out. more distraction. we have to keep focus and get this thing done.

tell me about yourself, she says.

nothing to tell, i think. i could start way back in time, when i was still a person.

what do you want to know?

you, paul.


oh, we just hit a rabbit. so sad. how about some food?

you?ll get nowhere with this one.

we?re almost there, i say. stop talking. she was always talking. it burns my brain. it hurts to be. wendy?s is the closest thing to real food out here.




welcome to?


would you?



only forty-nine?


will that be?



your total?

drive. wait. pay. wait. grab the change. don?t count it.

drive. wait. grab the drink. wait. grab the bag.

ask for a straw. wait. grab the straw. wait.

she checks every item as i drive up to a red light.

so much of life is wasted in this fashion. we are most definitely going to be late.


outside the car, the world treadmills under our wheels. the scenery is ever changing, but if you watch closely you can see the


in the canvas where it all starts to repeat and it rolls by and then just out of sight behind us, it spins around the rollers and travels on up the backside. give it another minute, i?ll point it out next time it comes by, maybe even slow down a little.

at the rest area, there are cars everywhere and in one of them, there is someone waiting to see us. who knows. maybe this time things will go more smoothly. i get the impression that luna?s crowd isn?t my kind of people. there is always the awkward moment where we wait before getting out of the car. there is always a moment of indecision.

will they be walking up to the car? how would they know which car to come to?

it has been a long week and i think i will miss this girl, but i can?t wait to get her out of my car.

do we get out and just stand there, looking lost?

here they come. i can find most anybody. it?s all i know how to do. i grab the satchel, hand over the girl and get back in my car. she?ll run again. she always does.

and my cell phone will ring.